Financial issues

A guide to credit and debit cards and the Consumer Credit Act 1974

How to complain when a credit card has been used to purchase an item

Section 75A Consumer Credit Act 1974

If you have a problem with an item you have bought or service you have received you can contact your credit card company. You may want to do this for example when the company has gone bust, is refusing to give you a refund or does not respond to communications from you. You have a right to be refunded if you make a claim within 6 years (5 in Scotland) using Section 75A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Purchases over £100 and less than £30,000 are covered. You are covered if you pay as little as 1p but the item costs more than £100.

In 2007, a ruling by the House of Lords defined that Section 75 has no territorial limitations, therefore, cardholders who use their credit cards to make purchases abroad are protected in the same way as in the UK. So, purchases made on a credit card may also be covered under Section 75 when; goods or services are purchased from a foreign supplier whilst the cardholder is abroad, purchased from a foreign supplier for delivery to the UK, or purchased from a foreign supplier or agent who is temporarily in the UK.

credit cards in a black wallet

Using your credit card through third party services

Completing a credit card transaction through a third party payment service means that the credit card provider and the seller are no longer in a direct relationship so are not equally liable. This applies therefore to services such as PayPal, Amazon Marketplace, Worldpay and Google Checkout.

In the UK, where you are entitled to specific statutory protections the credit card company is a second party to the purchase and is therefore equally liable in law if the other party defaults or goes into liquidation. However under Section 75 Consumer Credit Act 1979, the purchaser loses this legal protection if the card payment is processed via PayPal.

For an example of using the Consumer Credit Act 1979 see this post.

Chargeback can be used for banks

Purchases bought on debit cards and below £100 are not covered by the Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Chargeback, although not part of any act of law, is a voluntary scheme based on scheme rules set by card issuers such as Mastercard and Visa. Because it isn’t set in law you should use the Consumer Credit Act 1974 where possible, otherwise Chargeback can be applied for similar situations.

You will need to make the request within 120 days of the transaction date. Bear in mind that this scheme is much less well known than the Section 75 rule and so many staff might not know of it if you ring the bank. My advice therefore would always be to write.

If the bank/credit card company rejects your claim and/or you are unhappy with the process you can take the matter to the Financial Ombudsman but not to court.

For help in complaining when you can’t use this cover see Top 20 Tips for  effective complaining.

Further help when complaining about goods and services

Top 20 Tips for complaining effectively

Complaining about goods and services – all you need to know

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


For information, consumer laws, advice, stories and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!




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By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

5 replies on “A guide to credit and debit cards and the Consumer Credit Act 1974”

.We were in on holiday till 18 October with no flight home i am chrome disabled with mobilaty scooter we couldn’t get flight when we finally found one
due to family had to cut holiday short buy 5 days and cost £1000, 34 0ounds we had to get transport from London to Shireoaks Notts as most ar lines had bump the fait’s up every one sould have been got home not good enough we both 70 people stuck with no money ore no wear to stay in a foreign country it stinks the government should have got every one home we paid our taxes etc for years

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