Credit card chargeback FAQs

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

15jul credit card chargebacks hero

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.

What is a "chargeback"?

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.

When would my bank grant me a chargeback?

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.

How do I get one?

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.

Will a chargeback cost me anything?

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.

I ordered one brand of TV but was delivered another. The company won't refund my money. Would I qualify for a chargeback?

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.

I paid a deposit for a lounge suite, but the business went bankrupt before it was delivered. Can I get a chargeback?

Yes, under the "non-receipt of merchandise" rule.

What if the shop's account doesn't contain enough money to cover the chargeback?

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.

I bought a study course with an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee. I sent the goods back within 30 days but never received the refund. Is a chargeback available?

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.

I bought a computer from a store the other day, but have now found a better deal elsewhere. Can I reverse the purchase?

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

What if the bank refuses to give me a chargeback?

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.

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03 Nov 2020
Airbnb resisit refunding

I paid for an Airbnb week in Brisbane, but had to cancel because of unforeseen circumstances. I got a reply from the accommodation provider saying he had a very liberal refund policy and he was happy to give me a full refund (less Airbnb's commission - fair enough!). But Airbnb didn't provide any way of claiming the refund on their website and no contact number or anything.
I lodged a charge-back claim with my bank with all the documentation including details of the promised refund and Airbnb sent them a whole heap of gobbledygook about their refund policy -- completely ignoring that the supplier had already promised me a refund. The bank granted me the charge-back, then 2 days before their "close the case" deadline, Airbnb disputed the charge-back and supplied all the same gobbledygook again. After I again send all my submissions, I finally got to keep my charge-back.
So full marks to the bank, but it was an awful lot of hard work and worry fighting against an outfit that obviously hoped to wear me down and keep the refund already promised to me.

Beverley C.
29 Jul 2020
Expedia verus Singapore Airlines

I have been trying to get a refund for refundable flights since the airline cancelled our flights AK/AMS return due to Covid-19for travel in June 2020. Getting the runaround by Expedia who I booked the flights through back in August 2019. They said I was getting a full refund but had to wait up to 12 weeks. Then I got an email to say I had flight credits from Singapore Airlines. When I contested the credits They said to ignore that as it was a mistake! The latest email tells me Its Singapore Airlines who have to refund me and after asking Singapore Airlines if this is so, they said no Expedia must do the refund! Please can someone help!

Peter O.
04 Apr 2020
elvoline accommodation booking

I booked a hotel accommodation in Auckland through Elvoline accommodation on the internet with a cancellation option, I was not able to travel and stay, this was before the Covid 19 lock down, so I cancelled my booking within the prescribed time but I have not had a refund, I have tried to contact Elvoline and no reply, the hotel gave me their NZ booking agent who I contacted as well but they directed me to Elvoline with their contact and still no reply, has anyone else had problems with this booking company, I believe they are based overseas.