Sometimes good things come in dull packages. It may sound boring but there’s a really useful bit of legislation called section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act that gives you statutory protection if you buy something on your credit card and something goes wrong.
This law covers a huge range of problems: for example, if your online shopping doesn’t turn up, or the business that’s building your extension goes bust or you’ve been tricked into taking out a dodgy timeshare.
If you pay for goods or services on a credit card that cost between £100 and £30,000, the credit card provider is jointly responsible, along with the supplier of the goods or services, for any breach of contract or misrepresentation. You don’t need to complain directly to the supplier either – but we strongly recommend you do.
What this means is it’s a good idea to pay on a credit card for many purchases – as long as you pay the card off straight away. But what are your rights when things go wrong with different ways of paying? Here’s a quick guide.
Paying by cash is still one of the most popular ways to pay for goods but if something goes wrong, there’s no audit trail to investigate. So you’ll need to keep your receipts. If you make a significant purchase, photograph your receipt and email it to yourself so you can save it – just in case. This also helps if you need to make an insurance claim for items damaged or stolen.
Cheque fraud is common so you should never release goods after accepting a cheque for them as they can still bounce up to and including the sixth day of clearing. There are also stolen banker’s drafts that do the rounds too, so be cautious.
Store cards are good for getting 10 per cent off goods when you first take out the card, but pay them off straight away and cut them up. The interest rates are often extortionate and they’re an added complication when it comes to managing finances.
Section 75 doesn’t apply to debit cards, but card providers offer a similar scheme called “chargeback”. Chargeback means you can ask your bank to get you back your money if you dispute a transaction (if you didn’t make it or authorise it). Chargeback isn’t a legal right and the timescales vary when it comes to how long you have to make a request – so don’t delay. While not set up to deal with disputes between you and a retailer, it’s worth asking your bank to help you out.
Never transfer money unless it’s to someone you know or trust. As soon as you click send, the money is gone. So if you’ve put in the wrong number – or been conned by a fraudster – you could lose everything. Be wary.
Websites such as PayPal allow you to transfer money electronically. They have their own buyer/seller schemes to help mediate in disputes over a sale and you can complain to Resolver and, failing that, to the financial ombudsman too.
If you’ve got a problem involving something you’ve bought, get help at www.resolver.co.uk and get in touch through Twitter @WalkerResolver or go to facebook.com/resolvercouk