Shopping with credit cards affords you certain legal rights. But the power to use them is only available to credit card users who know what credit card protection is out there.
Read on to find out exactly what consumer rights you have as a cardholder – and how to make sure you get them.
Section 75 Consumer Credit Act
Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, card companies are jointly and severally liable for credit card purchases of between £100 and £30,000 (whether or not you paid just the deposit or the whole amount of up to £30,000 on your card).
Anyone spending between these amounts on their credit card is therefore protected if the retailer or service provider goes bust, their online shopping fails to arrive or the items in question are faulty or not as described.
This credit card protection kicks in if there is either a breach of contract or a misrepresentation by the supplier.
So, if you have lost out due to a retailer or service provider failing to deliver the goods or services you paid for with your credit card, it may well be that you have a claim under Section 75 – as long as you have tried and failed to get a refund from the company involved.
Even if Section 75 doesn’t apply, for example because the goods bought are worth less than £100, you may also be able to put in a claim for non-receipt of goods or faulty items bought on a credit card under the industry-agreed chargeback system.
To benefit, you will need to prove that there has been a breach of contract and make a claim to your card company within a certain time limit.
Visa, for example, limits claims of this kind to within 120 days of you noticing the problem.
If you lose a wallet or purse full of cash, it’s likely that you can wave goodbye to that money for good.
However, as long as the loss or theft was not caused by negligence on your part, your plastic provider should cover any credit card fraud losses of more than £50 – another useful form of credit card protection worth knowing about.
Again, the sooner you report the theft of your card the better, and failure to do so could also damage your chances of success.
How to make a claim
Whether you need to make a claim because you have noticed fraudulent transactions on your statement or because you have lost out in dealings with a retailer or service provider, your first step should be to contact your credit card provider.
If the card company rejects your claim, you can then make a formal complaint, to which it has eight weeks to respond.
And even if the response is still negative, or the company fails to respond at all within that time, you can then escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
It could force the card provider to offer you compensation as well as the original payout should it see fit.
Find out more about how to claim compensation on mis-sold or damaged goods or services.