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Credit card chargebacks

Can you reverse a credit or debit card transaction? The answer is yes. Not always – but probably more often than many people realise.

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You've bought something over the internet and paid by credit or debit card. Your account has been debited, but the website you ordered from has vanished and your emails are bouncing back. Of course, no goods have arrived.

Don't panic. You should be able to get your money back through a "chargeback". We answer common questions about how they work.

Credit card chargeback FAQs

A chargeback is where the money paid to the retailer is reversed out of their account and refunded to yours. You may also refunded any interest charged – bank policy varies on this so it pays to ask.

Some banks will allow 2 months from the date of the transaction to apply for a chargeback, others give you 30 days from the statement period closing date – check this with your bank.

Your bank should refund you if your account was fraudulently or mistakenly debited.

Beyond this, banks apply a set of rules laid down by credit card companies. It's up to the investigating bank officer to determine if your claim is covered by one of these rules.

You are not protected by chargeback policy if the purchase was made via a domestic eftpos transaction and you pushed the ‘cheque’ or ‘savings’ button. All other credit or debit card purchases including contactless transactions that are made through MasterCard or Visa processing systems should be protected by chargeback policy. If you are unsure, ask at your bank.

The first step in any dispute you have with a supplier is to give it the opportunity to put things right – a good retailer should do it straight away. If it doesn't, apply to your bank for a chargeback.

You will need to provide the bank with various details, including the date and amount of purchase, and a description of the goods or services ordered.

If you received an incorrect item and returned it you need to provide proof of return. Proof of shipping is not enough – you need evidence the retailer actually received the returned goods. In the case of a service, you will need to supply a copy of your letter to the retailer stating that the service was not received and requesting a refund.

Most banks will charge a fee between $5 and $10 – but only if your chargeback application is unsuccessful. Additional conditions may apply, so check with your bank.

Yes, there is a "not as described" rule. When goods are not as described, and the supplier refuses to cooperate, take the goods back. Then contact your bank and apply for a chargeback. The bank may require evidence of what was ordered and what was delivered, and proof it was returned or that the seller has refused to accept the return.

If the other conditions are met you should get your chargeback. The bank should refund you and pass the charge to the retailer's bank, which then has to try to retrieve it from the retailer.

Yes, there is a "non-receipt of credit" rule. Apply to your bank, which will give the supplier 30 days to refund you under the guarantee. If it doesn't, your bank should give you a chargeback. Unfortunately, you will have to cover the cost of return postage. When you return the goods, always obtain proof of receipt, as proof of shipping alone is not usually enough.

No. You can't get a chargeback simply because you have changed your mind or found a better offer elsewhere.

If your bank refuses to refund you and you are unhappy with the reasons given, complain to the bank. If you are unhappy with the outcome, take your complaint to the Banking Ombudsman. If your complaint is upheld, the Ombudsman can order your bank to give you a refund.