In the UK – their Consumer Credit Act specifies that a credit card provider is jointly liable with the retailer for goods bought with a credit card (Priced between £100 and £30,000.) So any problems with faulty purchases or goods not received must be refunded by the credit card company if the retailer can’t or won’t sort it out.
There is no such legislation here in Ireland – but many people still assume that they get more protection when using a credit card instead of a debit card. The level of consumer protection in Ireland is the same for both credit and debit cards.
Purchases (goods or services) made with credit cards and debit cards all have consumer protection in the form of Chargeback.
A chargeback, also known as a reversal, is the return of funds from an already cleared transaction processed on a credit / debit card to a cardholders account.
This means that refunds can be claimed from the card provider when goods don’t arrive or arrive damaged or not as described. The chargeback can still be applied where the retailer has ceased trading because the money comes from the retailers bank .There’s no upper limit to the refunds.
The chargeback process has no legal basis – but is built in to the procedures of debit and credit card suppliers all over the world. Having this chargeback option gives more confidence to consumers and encourages them to use cards instead of cash or cheques. Mastercard and Visa both have chargeback procedures in place for all their cards. The rules apply to prepaid cards too. (Laser Cards and Maestro don’t have as much protection – they don’t cover goods that don’t get delivered)
How to get a Chargeback
If you have paid by debit card or credit card for goods or services that were not delivered to you as promised – you should contact the supplier first, to try and seek a refund.
If the supplier will not refund your money or they have gone out of business , then you should contact the card issuer and request a Chargeback . Many banking staff are not fully aware of this chargeback process – especially where Debit Cards are concerned – so you may need to be persistent and ask to speak to someone in charge if you don’t get very far.
A chargeback request can be made up to 120 days after the card transaction. In the case of goods or services being delivered, a chargeback can be raised up to 120 days from the agreed date of delivery.
The retailer has to be given a chance to defend the chargeback – so the credit card provider will refer the query to the card processing company. (The “Acquirer”) .
The acquirer than contacts the retailer advising them of the queried transaction and requesting any required documents . At this point the retailer’s bank account is debited.
The retailer has 14 days to respond to the chargeback request , otherwise the debit stands , the customer is refunded and case is closed.
If the retailer supplies documentation (i.e proof of delivery etc) this is assessed for adequate defence in accordance with scheme rules and regulations. The case may need arbitration – but in the majority of cases where the consumer has a valid complaint the chargeback will go through without any complications.
Read about Prepaid Debit Cards in Ireland