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Extra protection when you buy with a debit card

When you pay for something with your debit card, the money comes straight out of your bank account. You need to have enough money in your account to cover the cost of what you've bought, or to have agreed an overdraft limit that will cover the amount.

Using your debit card to buy goods and services can be more convenient than using cash or writing a cheque.

What consumer rights do you have if you paid for something with a debit card?

Under consumer law you may have the right to take action against a trader if there's a problem with something you've bought. For example, if it's faulty, damaged or it doesn't turn up.

You should always try to sort out the problem with your trader first, but if there's a problem doing this and you can't get a refund from the trader you may also have the right to get a refund from your debit card provider if they take part in a Chargeback scheme.

Chargeback if you paid for something with a credit card

Chargeback schemes may also cover things you've bought on your credit card which cost less than or up to £100 and which aren't covered by equal liability.

What is a Chargeback scheme?

Under the Chargeback scheme, if you dispute a transaction that's been made on your card, you can ask your bank to ask the trader’s bank to reverse the transaction and refund the money back into your account. This gives you extra protection if your card is used fraudulently.

Chargeback may also cover you if you have a consumer problem and can't get a refund from the trader, but you may have to prove there’s been a breach of contract first. For example, you may be able to get a refund if:

  • goods you've ordered aren't delivered
  • goods you've ordered arrive damaged
  • goods aren't the ones you ordered or are not as described
  • goods are faulty or are not of satisfactory quality
  • you don't receive a service you've paid for.

It's usually quicker and more straightforward to try to sort your problem out with the trader first. But getting a refund through Chargeback might be useful if:

  • you're unable to contact the trader
  • the trader has gone out of business
  • the trader has not responded to you.

You can only claim refunds through Chargeback. You won't be able to get a repair or a replacement for items that are damaged or faulty. Also, there are no guarantees your card provider will be able to get the money back for you, particularly if the trader has gone out of business.

How much can you claim on Chargeback?

There is usually no minimum or maximum limit to the amount you can claim.

Can I make a claim at any time?

You must make a Chargeback claim within a certain time limit, usually within 120 days of when you bought the goods or service. You should check the terms of your chargeback agreement to find out the time limit for your card provider.

Next steps

It's usually quicker and more straightforward to sort out your problem directly with the trader before you think about using Chargeback.

Contact your card provider for details of how to make a Chargeback claim. You may need to speak to a supervisor.

If you're not happy with how your card provider handles the Chargeback claim and you want to make a complaint, ask them for details of their complaints process.

Your debit card provider should agree to look into your complaint within eight weeks. If they do this and you don't agree with their decision, you can ask for a letter of deadlock and take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). A letter of deadlock confirms that you have been unable to reach an agreement.

If your debit card provider doesn't respond to your complaint within eight weeks, you can take your complaint to the FOS without a letter of deadlock.

Citizens Advice

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