Small Claims Advice – Credit Cards and Purchases

If you paid for a product or service with credit card (including as a part payment) then you may be covered by the extra protection that comes as part of your credit card agreement.

Credit Cards

The law: under section 75 Consumer Credit Act 1974 the credit card company shares full responsibility for any right of compensation or refund or repairs or expenses that can also be claimed from the person or business who was paid by credit card.

Extra protection – did you pay by credit card?

You may be able to get your credit card company to pay your claim for a faulty product or a poor service (including refunds or the cost of repairs) together with any extra losses and expenses you have suffered.

This extra protection covers items or services paid for in the UK or abroad. It also covers items bought from a shop or online, or phone or mail order.

If you paid at least PART of the cost by credit card, (such as deposit) by credit card, you get extra protection for the full amount.

It’s important to note that the extra protection doesn’t always cover additional cardholders so it’s important to check your credit licence agreement.

This extra protection does not cover transaction on Amazon Marketplace (where the payment is to Amazon and not direct to the business). This extra protection does not always apply if you used PayPal (but then they have their own protection scheme).

Letter of complaint

Send your letter of complaint about the product or service to the credit card company, explaining the cost of the repairs, replacement, or cost of putting right the damage – and ask them to pay this to you.

The law: under section 75 Consumer Credit Act 1974 the credit card company shares full responsibility for any right of compensation or refund or repairs or expenses that can also be claimed from the person or business who was paid by credit card.

This is especially useful if the shop or trader ignores your letter of complaint or if they have gone bust (and could not pay what you are entitled to).

Simply send start your letter of complaint to the card company adding this extra line at the beginning:

This letter of complaint relates to a purchase I made using my credit card with you. Under my rights under the Consumer Credit Act, I ask that you pay me the sum claimed below with 14 days. My card number is [long card number].


Online and telephone purchases

The Consumer Contracts Regulations June 2014 states that consumers should have a right to a refund when items fail to match the information given prior to purchase and often, more helpfully, for any reason within a minimum 14 day cooling off period. The regulations also cover contract services ordered online or over the telephone.

14 day right to a refund

If you bought an item or a service online, you have the right to cancel your order and get your money back for 14 days. This also applies to buying from a catalogue. With both you are not in a shop and able to see what you’re buying. Instead, you may be relying on a photo or short description.

Therefore, the law gives you a 14-day cooling-off period. You can use this because:

  • What you received wasn't quite what you expected.
  • You have just changed your mind.

This cancellation period starts the day after the consumer enters a contract for a service or receives the goods. The retailer has a responsibility to clearly tell buyers in writing how to return the goods, in what time frame and whether they must pay for any returns.

Setting out their returns policy is crucial for retailers, because if they don’t then the consumer’s right to return goods for a refund is extended for a full year.

It also means that buyers have the right to a refund if items aren’t delivered by an agreed date. If no date was agreed, they should get a refund if the items haven’t arrived more than 30 days after placing the order.

Other rights – if unhappy after the 14 days

After the 14 days, then your rights are the same as when buying from a traditional shop. You cannot get your money back just because you have changed your mind – instead something will need to be wrong with the product or service:

Guarantee: If the company that made the item provided you with guarantee (sometimes called a warranty), you can use this if something goes wrong. Each one is different. It gives you the right to claim from the manufacturer whatever is permitted by the terms of that guarantee or warranty. This often lasts 6 months but can be longer.

If you bought from an online shop or business - not a private seller: You also have the same rights as if you’d bought in a shop.

Exclusions apply to customised and perishable goods, newspapers, periodicals, and magazines (not books) as well as sealed audio, video or computer software that have been opened. Immediately accessible purchases of digital downloads are also exempt, and the refund period does not apply to auction websites.

You may be able to claim a refund, replacement, or a repair (as well as payment of your extra losses and expenses) if the item you bought:

  • Does not match the online description given by the seller on the website.
  • Does not work properly and is faulty or is not made of a satisfactory quality.
  • Is not fit for its intended purpose.

Here you can claim against the online seller. Your rights last as long as is reasonable for the product (sometimes up to 6 years). 

If you bought by credit card paying the seller direct (not via Amazon Marketplace) then you also have the option of claiming from the credit card company.

Shop purchases

Where you have a dispute over something you bought in a shop and the value of your dispute is less than £10,000, then you may not need legal support.

If you bought it in a shop or using an internet shop (not a private trader) the following rights apply if the item is faulty.

Don’t let the shop fob you off by saying you should take it up with the company that made the item. Your main rights are against the shop or supplier you bought from. These are known as your ‘statutory rights’.

Products you buy should:

  • match the description you were given,
  • be of satisfactory quality,
  • be ‘fit for their purpose’.

If they are not, then your rights depend on the product and the fault. It could be reasonable for you to get:

  • your money back, or
  • a free repair, or
  • a replacement by the retailer, or even
  • compensation for extra losses or injury you suffered as a result. This is harder to place a value on and you may need to speak to a personal injury lawyer. Contact us and we can direct you to your nearest firm.

Evidence of complaint

Whether your complaint is within an online or physical purchase, it’s important that you keep all receipts, document any phone calls, and take photos showing the fault/reason for complaint.

What you can claim depends on what is reasonable in the circumstances for the type of product at fault.  So, if a product you’ve bought develops a fault you may be entitled to the following from the shop or supplier:

  • Get your money back. You are usually entitled to this where the fault occurs in the first 4 weeks. You should let the shop know as soon as possible.
  • Have it replaced. Where the fault occurs in the first 6 months after you bought it, you should be entitled to a replacement.
  • Have it repaired (at no cost to you). If you have had the use of the item for some time, then repairs are the most likely reasonable outcome. Depending on the item and the circumstances, it may be reasonable for the shop to cover the cost of repairs beyond any period of warranty or guarantee.
  • Repaired by someone else. If the shop refuses to repair the faulty item, you may have the right to arrange for someone else to repair it and claim compensation from the retailer for the cost of doing this.
  • You can also claim your additional losses and expenses. These are to put you in the position you would be in if you had not bought the faulty product.

Please note, the general information provided is a simplification of a complex area of law and should not be relied on as a true resource. It’s important to do your research, collate evidence, and then weigh up as to whether the resources of submitting a claim outweigh the claim itself.

As part of our commitment to serving you better, we highly recommend utilising the resources available at the Money Advice Service website. Their comprehensive guides and information cover various aspects of financial and legal matters, including advice on credit card complaints and may be able to give you the support you need.


Example Complaints Letter - Purchases

Posted in: Small Claims

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