How to get cash back from chargeback

justin schamotta
By Justin Schamotta


Chargeback schemes can help customers get what they paid for - or get their money back.

In this guide we look at when debit and credit cards are covered and how cardholders can make a claim.

What chargeback can do

Chargeback is a process that allows debit and credit card holders to reverse transactions when there is a problem with the goods or services they've purchased using their cards.

Card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express run the process so that it applies to any card with their logo: credit, debit and even prepaid.

Although it's organised and run by the card companies, customers wishing to use chargeback must go through their card issuer - usually a bank or building society.

It's up to the card issuer to try to recover all or part of the money, provided that there is evidence of a breach of contract.

Breaches covered under chargeback include situations like the following:

It gets our money back

Simply put, chargeback can get us our money back when other attempts have failed or are unsuitable.

As should be clear from the examples above and below, it's most likely to be applicable in situations where a retailer refuses to admit fault.

Case study (from the FOS)
Mr A hired a van in order to move house. He agreed a fee of £179.99 and paid over the phone with a debit card.

When his statement came Mr A discovered that the van hire company had taken £628.81 from his account.

Unable to resolve the issue with the company, he initiated a chargeback through his bank. Following an investigation, got back the money he was overcharged.

What it can't do

However, chargeback isn't a silver bullet for disputes with retailers.

As we'll see in the next section, cardholders can't enter into the process until they've already exhausted other options.

Even then, Visa, Mastercard or Amex must be satisfied that the claim meets the specific conditions of their chargeback scheme.

It's also worth noting that unlike Section 75, chargeback isn't enshrined in law - there's no legal obligation to offer or honour this kind of protection.

In that sense, chargeback is closer to the purchase or delivery protection policies offered by credit card providers than it is to consumer protection under law.

Making a claim

With that caveat, let's look at how to make a claim under a chargeback scheme.

1. Exhaust other options

In some cases - for example, when a clerical or technical error has caused an account to be debited twice for one purchase - chargeback is the next logical step.

When it comes to disputes with retailers, however, it's better viewed as a last resort.

Only where the cardholder can demonstrate that the dispute is in deadlock, and that they are entitled to be refunded under existing consumer law, will their claim be approved.

Banks judge each request for chargeback based on the reason it's being made, using what is known as "reason codes" to decide whether each claim is legitimate. If the criteria for the best fitting reason code for that transaction aren't met, the chargeback will not be processed.

For example, reason code 53 relates to goods that are "not as described or defective".

In this case, a cardholder must "attempt to return the merchandise or resolve the dispute before contacting his bank" before they can make a chargeback claim.

Only if this fails - because, for example, the retailer is no longer in business - will the bank consider allowing chargeback.

2. Check the time limit

It's important not to push informal resolution too far, though, because the chargeback process can only be initiated within a fairly short time period.

Different situations - covered by different reason codes - have different time limits, ranging from as little as 45 days up to 120.

Visa Mastercard American Express
Time limit From 75 days to 120 days of becoming aware of a problem 120 days of becoming aware of a problem 120 days of becoming aware of a problem

With some kinds of transaction, however, customers may have longer than these time limits to start their chargeback request.

If a longer limit is in place, it's likely to cover cases where we're paying for an "open ended contract", as Mastercard put it, where there's no specific delivery or service date.

The following time limits then apply:

3. Make a clear claim

As already mentioned above, to start the chargeback process cardholders must contact the bank that issued the card they paid with.

Some banks require chargeback applicants to fill out a specific form in order to make their claim, which they'll send out in the post.

Whether they need to fill in a special form or not, cardholders should expect to have to provide the date of the transaction, the amount it was for, the name of the merchant, and a brief description of the dispute.

Depending on the nature of the claim, applicants may be asked to provide further information.

Applicants are advised to keep copies of any correspondence.

The bank will then contact the merchant's payment processing bank and attempt to recover the money, which may take some time. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that a chargeback request will be successful.

Problems making a chargeback claim

Chargeback? What?

It's fairly common for card issuing companies to be unhelpful or obstructive when a consumer puts in a chargeback claim since, just as with section 75, many call centre staff members aren't well trained in this area.

In 2008, a Visa spokesperson admitted to The Guardian that, "The word 'chargeback' is sometimes not recognised because the process has only recently begun to be used widely by consumers."

Even now, eight years on, many staff seem just as clueless.

Visa went on to say that cardholders should be polite but firm and ask to speak to a supervisor.

Some claimants find it easier to set out the problem clearly in a letter.

Dealing with rejection

As we've noted, chargeback is purely voluntary, and banks - and the credit card companies themselves - are perfectly entitled to reject a claim for chargeback.

However, that doesn't mean they can do so on a whim.

Where a chargeback applicant believes that their card issuer hasn't followed the rules on chargeback, or they're dissatisfied with how their claim has been dealt with, they may take their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for a second opinion.

The good news is that while the initial period for making a claim may be time limited, cardholders have six months from the date of their final correspondence with the card issuer to make a further complaint.

Interim refunds

Finally, it's not unknown for banks engaged in a chargeback dispute to refund money to the claimants account before the matter is fully resolved.

If, however, the investigation into the chargeback claim finds in the merchant's favour, the claimant could well have the payment taken from their account again.

In some cases, the card issuer may decide to absorb the loss, but it's more likely that they'll re-debit our account. If they do, they should give us warning first - but they don't always do so.

In other words, don't go spending refunds before the jury's in on a claim.


6 May 2017

I have the opposite problem. I own a property and had a renter stay and do significant damage, so after carefully figuring out the costs, I itemized the total damage done and emailed her. The renter continued asking me for a refund of her deposit (she did admit to some of the damage), but at the same time she went to her credit card company and requested a chargeback stating that she had cancelled her reservation and that I had failed to issue her a refund of her deposit. Since this was untrue, I countered with a copy of her email stating what a nice time she had had. In my case, the credit card called her and she lied again, so they have found that she did not benefit. I am shocked by the fraud this woman has been allowed to commit. Anyone have any ideas how I fight this? I haven't benefited - she basically got a free stay at my property and I am left cleaning up her mess at my expense. I am also worried she will do this again to another home owner.

2 May 2017
Kerry ###

I've been with HSBC for years and they are great, always happy to help, and they're so caring when it comes to my special needs. Thanks HSBC, you're the best ??

21 April 2017
Mike Lamb

I purchased a microwave oven from a company called Wellindal using my Tesco credit card. It arrived in bad condition and now I just cannot contact the company through any of their advertised means. Website cases raised and not responded to and the phone just rings! I don't even know where to return the item to in case they ask, which I doubt. Anything I can do via section 75 or chargeback?

4 March 2017

Can you do a chargeback for a Technical fault, i.e. My partner wanted to pay an amount she entered into an app, and then at the end it was for a different total amount?

7 March 2017
Choose team

Hi Mike, this is likely to be covered under chargeback, see the situation list above and point: "The cardholder was overcharged for an item as the result of a technical fault." - Hope this helps!

19 January 2017
lisa moore

My 15 year old son has paid for a item online from a fake website in china, I've researched the site and believe it to be fake - it's only been running for 28 days and they don't respond to emails on the site. I have now got a phone number but no answer, does anyone know refund rights if he paid on his debit card! (Yes I've had harsh words with him about buying online in future without speaking to me first!) Can anyone help?

27 December 2016

I bought a tablet in Tenerife and paid cash to get a Guarantee and insurance the shop said they needed my debit card, no amount was on the screen when I entered my pin number. When I got home £1274.14 was taken from my Nationwide account they have said this does not meet any criteria for them to try to recover the money, and will have to contract the merchant myself. The money went to a pet parlor in Gran canaria. What should I do next.

13 August 2016

I had fraud on my account and my bank disputed the money but now the company who fraud me refunded me the money what do I do now? Will the bank take it back off me?

10 August 2016

I hired a car for £100 a week, at the end of the first week, I called them and asked to extend it for a second week, I was meant to return the car on a Friday and could not.

I called the customer service line and was on hold for 30 minutes, before giving up (I was catching from an airport and had to turn off the phone).
On Monday I called to say that I wanted to keep the car for another week. They said I should bring the car in for an inspection. I told them I was out of town (the car was parked in front of my house and I had been unable to get back to the car) and would bring it in on Wed.

On Wed I brought it in and they charged me £420 and said they wanted to 'close the contract'. The reason they gave was that they had written me two letters (on Saturday and Monday?).

I felt the charge was excessive and that they were only entitled to £300 rental.

Would I be able to get a charge back?

26 May 2016
Karen Rusby

I have just been billed £918.90 for a mobile dongle from Virgin. We got the dongle from them as advised by their team for interim measures during a delay in our installation. Paid £25 for the dongle and £21 rolling contract used if from 11 April until 3 May and they hit me with this massive amount. Could I contact my bank and use chargeback process for this it was set up on my debit card (visa) ?? any suggestions?

20 May 2016

I have been informed by my bank (Lloyds) that Visa's rules say that a dispute cannot be raised unless the company is not willing to help - even if they're breaking the law, e.g., offering yet another replacement when they have already provided you with one and you are legally now entitled to a refund.

29 February 2016
Ken Geary

I purchased a car from a garage. Faults appeared within the first week and kept happening. I requested a refund under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 but the garage will not refund. Done a charge back but what do I do with the car until everything is decided?

21 April 2016

I'm having the same dispute with a car I purchased. Chargeback claim is ongoing. My car is sat on the drive until I'm instructed to return it! That's if I get a refund!

25 March 2016
jaci davies

Can I ask you how your claim is going as I have a similar problem and on phoning I was told we aren't covered for used cars.

19 January 2016

I paid for solid wood flooring after asking the salesman if it was the same simple process as laminate to lay, to which he replied yes, got home and looked into laying floor & it is a much more complicated process that needed a tradesman, the flooring was still in shop & I tried to cancel the order less than 48hrs after making the order, they say they have a no returns policy & refuse to refund me, my point being I wouldn't have bought it if the salesman hadn't told me it was the same laying process as laminate, do I have a case as a mis-sold item?

16 January 2016

Recently purchased 2 handbags from a website claiming to be Michael Kors. Paid by mastercard. Bags arrived and obviously fake. Seller is refusing full refund claiming that he spent £30 on postage!

How can I get my money back IN FULL?

29 December 2015
Lorraine English

Hi, I'm looking to send a chargeback letter to the Bank of Scotland for a non delivery of a phone that was never sent... fraud basically but who do I send the letter to? What department of the Bank of Scotland?


5 December 2015

I ordered a pair of trainers from a website that I thought was based in the UK. Turns out they are based in China, and the trainers that I received are definitely fakes. I phoned Santander to ask about chargeback and they said that it is not a chargeback but a dispute. They told me to take the trainers to somewhere like JD Sports and get them to verify by letter that the trainers are fake... not sure why that is essential as Adidas trainers have individual serial numbers on the tongue of each trainer and left and right should have different numbers. If the numbers are the same, then that is just one way to tell that they are fake. I can verify that all by myself! They told me that I have to return the goods back, even though they are counterfeit, and at my expense, to China. Surely if I return them and I am then refunded by the company that I bought them from, it means that the company get away with selling counterfeit goods without any recourse at all for their actions. I don't understand why I should return fake goods, bearing in mind that they will have to pass through customs as fake goods, and have to pay for the privilege! Does this seem right to anyone else, or is this just the way it has to be?

25 December 2015
Bish Chan

Have you tried to resolve this with the vendor? I had that problem with some DVDs I ordered from Asia. I used the the trading standards website for info and I think you do not need to return fake items if you can get some proof of it. So I'd check their policy and process and maybe speak to a supervisor.

12 November 2015
Maruthi Panyam

I made a transaction to purchase travel tickets from an agent and now the agent is in liquidation. My tickets were cancelled by the agent without my notice. I paid the amount using a credit MasterCard. Can I raise a dispute on this? Will a dispute work on a company that is in liquidation? I made the transaction 6 months ago, but noticed the fraud a couple of days ago. Any valuable suggestion appreciated.

9 November 2015
Thomas Webb

Can the successful chargeback be reversed?

22 June 2015

Can I claim for an investment done using a credit card and the binary company does not deliver?

24 June 2017

Did you make your claim? How did it go?

12 April 2017

Hi, I also did a transaction to binary company 'CTOPTION'. Is there any chance to do chargeback?

1 October 2016


How did the claim go?

15 October 2015
Bob Mita F.I L.S.A.

Hi Rusch,
I will let you know how I get on with that, wish me luck,

1 October 2016

Hi Bob,

Did you get your money back? I'm interested to know.

25 January 2016

Were you successful?

20 June 2015
D&G Travel

Hi -

Just an advice request after reading the comments below, I rented a car via a company called Economy Car Hire, I paid them for the rental, when I arrived in Porto, no car; called the local rental company and they informed me they didn't have any cars to rent and to speak to Economy Car Hire, which I did, they managed to get another company to rent me a car, however I had to pay again for the second rental on the day in question, I was advised to keep all paperwork and send / email it to them on my return, which I did, we are now 6 weeks after I returned back home, and still no refund from them, after several emails, telephone calls etc etc, do you consider I have a point to ask Barclay Card Visa to recharge
the fees for the first failed rental against Economy Car Hire, I am not sure what else to do really. Many thanks Darren

25 May 2015
Minnie moo

I'm trying to get £750 for a wreck of a car back from North riding car sales ltd hopefully get it.

10 February 2015
Michael Renn

Consumers scam small businesses with chargebacks.

21 September 2016

This is very true. I sold products worth £146 to a customer who claimed a charge back through her bank after 2 months. The customer would not pick my call or reply my messages to inform me of what the problem was with the product. I was sure there was no problem with it as I have sold similar products to other customers and have had no complaints. if there was any problem I would have been more than happy to resolve it. This is another way of scamming small businesses who are struggling to reach their profit margin. Some people wants everything for nothing and are quite happy to abuse the system.

6 October 2017

Some people do abuse the scheme and that is wrong! However some people do genuinely use the scheme because it's a good option to gain your money back from businesses who like to scam people and sell unsatisfactory goods.

12 January 2015

I bought goods online (car lights) using my visa debit card. When the goods arrived they were different to what I had ordered. I phoned the company and they told me my original lights were out of stock and I could either keep the lights received or return them. I told them I would return them and they said I would get a refund once they were returned. The lights were returned (with proof of return from hermes website) and they told me they had been received, and they would send my refund. I keep checking my account everyday and still no refund. Every time I phone them it's a different person, and they tell me the refund has been sent to my account and to give it a couple of days, but still no refund arrives in account. So can I just claim through BOS chargeback?

29 December 2014

I have recently purchased an new wifi router from Best Buy (Canada), I opened the box at home and it was a totally different product inside. Went back and spoke to the manager at Best Buy but was told they cannot do anything to return/exchange since it was not the product they sold to me. In this case should I request a charge back from Visa?

12 December 2014

I had an issue with buying goods online and got my money back, hope this helps...

I bought running shoes from website *, safe I thought. Next day my HSBC Mastercard had charges from China. Now realise that the website had no address or phone just email. After 4 days no shipping tracking number received as per their terms, so I sent an email. No response. After 8 days no goods, so sent another email stating Breach of Terms, if no response in 3 days order cancelled. No answer so after 3 days sent third email cancelling order. Called HSBC.

HSBC told me Mastercard and Visa have a dispute process but must wait 30 days from date of placing order for goods. After 30 days HSBC sent me a dispute form. The above emails are important proof to show that 30 days have elapsed and goods have not been received, you have tried to resolve the dispute, that you have cancelled the order.

A refund was put onto my card the next day by HSBC who raised the dispute with Mastercard for me. They sent a letter confirming the refund and stating that it would be removed if it was shown that I refused delivery of the ordered goods.

Two weeks later an express DHL package arrived from China with the running shoes that I had now bought elsewhere! I refused delivery. I then called HSBC, remembering their letter and the terms of the refund.

HSBC said that they would not reverse the refund. The supplier cannot send goods later than one month after my order and after the dispute had been raised. It is against consumer laws. Great sigh of Joy!! Thanks HSBC.

17 January 2016

They told me that but I just demanded chargeback and told them how it works. I waited a few days to check if it had been delivered but still received nothing. Delivery drivers are crooks a lot of them especially my hermes etc and they deny the claims which ends up with you footing the bill, chargeback is great for this. I had an argument once with a company claiming it had been delivered to someone , called john claiming to be my flatmate well I don't have a flatmate or know any johns. I live in a private residence it's not as if it's flats where getting confused is understandable. So I ended up claiming chargeback if I hadn't I would have been £800 down. Just call the bank and demand chargeback in the future as it's your right . Don't take no for an answer.

29 July 2014

I bought a bag with my MasterCard from a private seller (via Paypal). The bag is fake and I want to do a payment reversal/charge back? So that I can return the bag and get my money back. Any advice or help please?

4 December 2014

This is pretty late, but Paypal has an option to cancel the payment, they take up to 30 days but they get your money back too.

4 August 2014
Person who works chargebacks

Your card issuer would be able to process a chargeback under 4853. Under this chargeback reason you are only required to provide your issuing bank: A letter or email "detailing the nature
of the dispute, including a description of why the cardholder believes that the goods are counterfeit and an explanation of the cardholder's disposition of the goods."

22 January 2014
Mastercard Holder

Globe Telecom, a telecommunications company, accepts payments over the internet. They upgraded their website and I believe it was defective. The first attempt of a payment using the new website, there was no confirmation message of a successful payment. I immediately contacted their support group, but the representative requested to re-do the payment again and still no confirmation message. She then told me to go to the nearest center/outlet to pay over the counter. A day later, boom! There were 3 transactions of the same amount charged to my Mastercard. I tried calling both the bank and the telecom people but they are refusing the chargeback/reversal. Is this legal?

14 January 2014

I recently bought some trainers off <a href=";cuid=2412393" rel="nofollow noopener" title=""></a> and soon realised I had been scammed. I have no way of contacting the seller. Is there anyway I can claim this money back?

24 June 2014

Hi, I have just been through the same problem with a different seller, did you manage to claim your money back?

4 October 2013

I ordered an item on online, I then found out that the item was not in stock, and the company didn't know how long it would take to get them in. I asked for the order to be cancelled, which it was. I then emailed the company to refund the money. I was told that the accounts dept would contact me via an email when the money was refunded. That was over 32 days ago now. I have emailed them again asking for an update, but no reply as yet. I have read some terrible feedback about this company. In many cases, no refund being returned. Am I entitled to get my money back via Chargeback? The purchase was made with a Mastercard.

27 November 2013

You fail to mention which company.

20 January 2014

Why does that matter?

29 May 2013
Rule maker

Yes IG from Essex, you have a chargeback 4853 not as described. All you do is contact the merchant to tender return. You may have to get an expert letter depending on the issue.

15 April 2013

I bought a Canada goose coat online, which turned out to be counterfeit. I logged it with Canadian fraud police who advised me to cancel my debit card, not to send the coat back, but to destroy it, which then would leave me unable to receive a refund which probably wouldn't come anyway. I had no reply from the online company which turned out to be in China and not Canada!

However I did cancel my visa debit card with Natwest Bank and they gave me an address for the chargeback process.

I have sent two letters to this company over 3 months and still have had no reply. There is no telephone number available only fax?

What are my rights on fraud online company to regain my money back? Which is the best way to take this forward.

4 December 2014

If you filed a police report, include a copy with the bank dispute form, your bank will review the police report and probably refund the money asap, they will also follow up for you.

27 October 2013

I bought a barbour jacket from a website that now looks like it's fake. The item hasn't arrived yet but if it does then I imagine it will be fake. I will be doing a charge back with HSBC. I will be doing it as the item is not received or if it comes then the item is not as described.

21 March 2013
IG from Essex

I have seen D Houghton's issue, dated 20 February 2013. I am currently in a dispute regarding an incorrect item sent and my understanding is that, under The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, Section 17, Sub-Section 4 (<a href=";cuid=2412393" rel="nofollow noopener" title=""></a>, it states:

"... The consumer shall not be under any duty to deliver the goods except at his own premises and in pursuance of a request in writing, or in another durable medium available and accessible to the consumer, from the supplier and given to the consumer either before, or at the time when, the goods are collected from those premises. ..."

This means that the consumer is under no duty to do anything more than ensure that the item is available to the internet retailer from the consumers address, following a written request from the retailer of an agreed date and time for collection. Following the collection of the item the consumers obligation to take reasonable care of the goods would cease.

The consumer does not have to pay for the return of the item - simple as that.

14 March 2013
Elizabeth T

I purchased an item with my CIBC Mastercard and the item received was not as described, after trying to resolve the issue with the retailer, I decided to file a dispute with the credit card.

After numerous conversations with different agents they finally asked me to ship the item back to the retailer (I paid for the shipping). I shipped the item and the credit card charged-back the amount. After awhile I got charged again for the same amount and received a letter from the credit card provider saying that they have 'received documentation in support of this transaction from the retailer and find that the transaction is valid'.

So basically, now I am left with no item since I shipped it back, I paid an extra 50$ to ship it back to the company and I still have the charge on my credit card! I need to know what to do and what are my rights! Thank you!

20 February 2013
J Parris

I tried to process a debit card Visa chargeback with HSBC and they denied there was such a process and were extremely unhelpful. This related to a deposit on a vehicle purchase with a vehicle supplier, where the vehicle was being mis-sold. Basically HSBC were no help whatsoever.

25 September 2016
Shooby Doo

Hsbc are literally careless. It sucks.

20 February 2013
D Houghton

Do I waive my rights under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 As amended) when I use the credit card chargeback process? The reason I ask is simple: I am being instructed to do certain things as part of the chargeback process that impinge upon my rights under DSRs; namely to bear the cost of returning substitute goods I did not agree to receive back to the merchant. Also the chargeback process does not take any account whatsoever of my rights under DSRs to cancel my telephone order within the statutory "cooling off" period. Again, this is evinced in the chargeback process, where (presumably) the merchant/seller is given an opportunity to defend the chargeback where I change my mind within the statutory "cooling off" period, when under the DSRs there is no right to dispute cancellation of the contract. Accordingly, in such circumstances, chargeback should be immediate without any referral back to the merchant/seller. However, this is clearly not the case.

Surely, it is immoral (if not illegal) for a voluntary chargeback process to take precedence over my statutory rights in matters of consumer protection.

I have asked my bank MBNA these questions which they refuse to answer other than by saying "VISA makes the chargeback rules... not MBNA!"

I then phoned VISA who would not confirm they do indeed make the rules and the helpful VISA operative based in the Philippines wanted to set up a conference call to my bank presumably to establish who makes the chargeback rules but the MBNA staff had by that time all gone home.

I would appreciate any follow up comments to this post. Yes, I am retired and yes, I do have the time to pursue such matters and yes, I do have an active life when not ordering goods by telephone.

5 January 2013

I made a section 75 claim to HSBC (Mastercard) for a refund of my &pound;112.75 deposit paid to a coach tour company because the coach company had gone into liquidation.

HSBC has not acknowledged my section 75 claim and have instead insisted on using their Transaction Dispute Procedure (Chargeback) instead, can they do this?

I am also finding that no one that I speak to at HSBC even knows what a section 75 claim is.

Their card disputes team are based in India and even speaking to them direct they will not even discuss my section 75 claim, they just stick to their Transaction Dispute procedure and insist on me signing their Tranaction Dispute Declaration Form even stating that unless I do and return it within 14 days they will close the case.

Unbelievably bad service. Looks like my only option is to complain to the Financial Ombudsman.

11 November 2012

I have an issue with a purchased item paid for by Visa debit. I am hoping that the retailer will give a full refund but my correspondence/contact so far does not look promising! If the retailer refuses to give a refund (goods not fit for purpose and not satisfactory quality) and I request a chargeback from my bank - at what stage do the goods get returned. I am reluctant to return them before the outcome of the chargeback is known... thanks.

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