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Getting your money back if you paid by card or PayPal

This advice applies to Wales

You should try to get your money back from the seller first. If you don’t get your money back, you might be able to ask your card provider or PayPal to help. You can do this if you paid by debit or credit card or by PayPal and:

  • your order hasn’t arrived
  • your order is faulty or not as described
  • the seller has gone out of business

If you paid by debit card

Check your card provider’s website for how to get your money back - you might need to look for 'disputed transactions'. If you can't find it, tell them you want to use the 'chargeback scheme'.

Chargeback is when your card provider asks the seller's bank to refund the money to your account. If successful, you’ll get back the amount you paid by card.

Ask for chargeback within 120 days (about 4 months) of when you paid or noticed the problem. You won't be able to ask if you noticed the problem more than 540 days (about 18 months) after you paid.

If the seller disagrees with your claim, ask your card provider how to appeal under the chargeback scheme.

If you paid by credit card

There are different things you can do depending on how much the item cost.

If the item cost £100 or less

Check your card provider’s website for how to get your money back - you might need to look for 'disputed transactions'. If you can't find it, tell them you want to use the 'chargeback scheme'.

Chargeback is when your card provider asks the seller's bank to refund the money to your account. If successful, you’ll get back the amount you paid by card.

Ask for chargeback within 120 days (about 4 months) of when you paid or noticed the problem. You won't be able to ask if you noticed the problem more than 540 days (about 18 months) after you paid.

If the seller disagrees with your claim, ask your card provider how to appeal under the chargeback scheme.

If the item cost more than £100 but less than £30,000

Tell your credit card company that you want to make a claim under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This is called a ‘section 75 claim’. Make your claim to the company which sends your statements - for example, if you have an HSBC Mastercard, make your claim to HSBC not Mastercard.

You can use our template letter to make a section 75 claim.

If you’re not the main cardholder, you can’t make a section 75 claim but you could ask them to do it for you.

You don’t have to complain to the seller before making a section 75 claim. You should make a section 75 claim when you can’t complain to the seller, for example, if:

  • they’ve gone out of business
  • you’re having trouble getting in touch with them, for example, if they’re abroad or don’t reply

You can make a complaint and a section 75 claim at the same time but you can only get your money back from seller or the card company, not both.

Using section 75 could help you get back:

  • the full amount of the item
  • the cost of repairing it
  • an amount to reflect that the item or service wasn’t satisfactory - like money to make up for poor quality service or goods
  • compensation if the faulty item caused damage - like a faulty washing machine damaging a floor

If you didn’t buy directly from the seller

You can’t use section 75 if you paid through a third party - like PayPal, Amazon third-party sellers, a travel agent or a group buying company like Groupon or Living Social.

Check the third party’s complaints procedure or consider using alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

If you paid by PayPal

If the item you bought doesn’t match its description or you didn’t receive it, report your dispute on Paypal’s website. You must do this within 180 days (about 6 months) of paying.

If reporting your dispute doesn’t work, you might be able to use chargeback if there’s no money in your PayPal account and you used your debit or credit card to pay through PayPal.

Chargeback is when your card provider asks the seller's bank to refund the money to your account. If successful, you’ll get back the amount you paid by card.

Ask for chargeback within 120 days (about 4 months) of when you paid or noticed the problem. You won't be able to ask if you noticed the problem more than 540 days (about 18 months) after you paid.

If the seller disagrees with your claim, ask your card provider how to appeal under the chargeback scheme.

You won’t be able to use chargeback if you used your debit or credit card to put money into your PayPal account and then use that money to buy something.

If you still haven’t got your money back

You can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you:

  • have a letter from the seller saying that there’s nothing more they can do (a ‘letter of deadlock’) and you aren’t happy with the decision
  • didn’t get a decision letter or letter of deadlock within 8 weeks
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