County Court Ruling means millions could be owed by credit card companies
Credit card users could be sitting on unclaimed millions of pounds following a County Court decision today that means consumers have more time to make a claim against their credit card company when a purchase has gone wrong.
QualitySolicitors Howlett Clarke based in Brighton, has won a case for their client which means that consumers who used their credit card to pay for an item or service that later turned out to be misrepresented, for example, fraudulent, may have up to six years from when they notice the error to inform their credit card company. Until today’s decision, consumers only had six years from the purchase of the item or product to claim their money back from the credit card company. QualitySolicitors Howlett Clarke also secured interest for their client over the time lapsed.
Paul Tilley the QualitySolicitors Howlett Clarke lawyer involved in the case, said: “What this decision means is that there could be thousands of people out there who have purchased something on their credit card that was a misrepresented purchase – in our client’s case it was an investment that was fraudulent – but they are unaware that they can bring a claim against their credit card provider to recoup the money. The decision means that the six year clock to make their claim starts ticking from the point they notice the misrepresentation, not from the date they made the purchase.
“So someone who made a purchase more than 6 years ago, but today notices it was a misrepresented purchase may be able to make a claim against their credit card company as long as they inform the company of it. This applies equally where consumers have, for example paid a deposit for an item using a credit card and paid the balance in cash or by cheque, such as transactions where a vehicle was purchased. While only the deposit is funded by the credit card, the full transaction price could potentially be recovered from the creditor.
“Few people realised before this case that credit card companies are liable for such purchases. It is a protection that debit cards do not offer. Credit cards just became even better with this case. People may have more time to check their credit card statements to see if there are any purchases that turned out badly. They could be able to get that money back with interest. With the spectre of Christmas debt preying on people’s minds there might be some respite from a purchase gone wrong hidden in a credit card statement somewhere.
QualitySolicitors Howlett Clarke’s client had part paid off her investments on her credit card, but by the time she realised she had been fraudulently sold the investments the company that had sold them to her had gone bust. She sought to recoup the money from her credit card provider MBNA.
Craig Holt, who heads up the QualitySolicitors network group, which has over 100 locations throughout the country, said: “QualitySolicitors network has always seen itself as a consumer champion and the work of QualitySolicitors Howlett Clarke’s is certainly reflective of that ethos. More importantly, this case opens up the way for consumers to exert their rights that they thought they had lost due to the passage of time, or because they weren’t aware of their rights under credit law.
“It’s not just families and other consumers who could be affected by the decision. Many small businesses who are struggling to access finance or credit from their banks have turned to credit cards in recent years. They too may have a claim.”
- Launched in 2010, QualitySolicitors is a group of law firms across the country working as part of the QualitySolicitors brand. Only one firm per local area is selected to become a QualitySolicitors partner. Customer feedback forms an integral part of the selection process.
- QualitySolicitors’ national network of lawyers consists of over 100 branches across England and Wales.
- QualitySolicitors lawyers are experts in their fields dealing with both consumer and SME legal matters. QualitySolicitors offers a personal, local service but with the assurance of a recognised national brand.
- QualitySolicitors’ website address is www.qualitysolicitors.com
- In 2011 QualitySolicitors secured equity investment from Palamon Capital Partners, a private equity house with a £700m fund.