In general, using a credit card offers most protection because under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the credit card company is “jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer or trader” (in other words if you can’t recover your loss from the seller of faulty goods and/or services you have bought, then you may be able to get it from your credit card company).
Section 75 also applies to store cards, store instalment credit and some car finance agreements (though not hire purchase). Debit card purchases or purchases of less than £100 and more than £30,000 are not covered by Section 75.
So for example, suppose you:
Other issues not covered by Section 75 include:
If a seller disputes or ignores your valid claim or is no longer trading you can make a Section 75 claim by writing to your credit card company saying clearly that the letter is a claim under “Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act”. If the credit card company dispute your claim, you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman.
The Chargeback System
As well as covering purchases bought with a debit card the Chargeback system (which is not legally binding) can also be applied where goods and or services cost less than £100.
There are six main reasons for invoking Chargeback:
i) the company you bought from goes bust;
ii) items you have bought are not as described or defective;
iii) items are not delivered;
iv) technical issues;
v) clerical errors (incorrect billing);
If you want to make a chargeback claim you must act in accordance with the strict deadlines set by the card companies. A claim must be made within 120 days of the time a problem was discovered.
Worried about something?
Don’t put it off – Citizens Advice Waverley can almost certainly help. For general information about consumer issues see: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or call our consumer helpline on 03454 04 05. For more general free, independent, confidential advice on a range of topics, from debt to immigration or housing and benefits to worries about how you are treated at work call:0344 848 7969 or visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk
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