Protection when buying with Debit or Credit Cards

Many people in Ireland think that purchases made with a credit card are somehow better protected against faults or non delivery. But – the level of consumer protection in Ireland is the same for both credit and debit cards.

TIn the UK – their Consumer Credit Act  (Section 75) specifies that a credit card provider is jointly liable with the retailer for goods bought with a credit card. ( Sales between £100 and £30,000.).
So in the UK  , with purchases on credit cards – any problems with faulty goods 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 currently no such consumer legislation here in Ireland.  Many people in Ireland still seem to assume that they get more protection when using a credit card instead of a debit card … but they don’t.


Chargeback

Purchases, goods or services ,made with credit cards and debit cards by Irish residents all have some consumer protection in the form of “Chargeback”.

The chargeback process has no legal basis – but it is built in to the procedures of debit and credit card suppliers all over the world. Having this chargeback option gives consumers more confidence and encourages them to use cards instead of using cash or cheques. More people using the cards means more income for Visa and Mastercard.
Mastercard and Visa both have chargeback procedures in place for all their cards. These rules apply to prepaid cards too.

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.

Refunds can be claimed from the card provider when goods don’t arrive or if they 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.

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 or as described  – you should contact the shop/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.

It seems that some banking staff in Ireland 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.


Chargeback Timescale

A chargeback request can be made up to 120 days after the card transaction. In the case of goods or services not 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  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 here about Debit and Credit Card charges abroad

Some interesting information about Current Bank Account Charges in Ireland.