21may credit card chargebacks hero
Research report

Credit card chargebacks: what you need to know

The secret to getting your cash back when purchases go wrong.

Bought something online that never turned up? Or the item delivered is nothing like what was advertised? If the trader won’t refund you, a chargeback could the easiest way to get your money back.

If you haven’t heard about chargebacks, you’re not alone. Many consumers aren’t aware they’re an option and, as a result, could be missing out on refunds.

You can apply for a chargeback if you paid for a good or service by credit or debit card.

Our survey found nearly half (47 percent) of Kiwis didn’t know about chargebacks. One in four of those with a credit or debit card said they’d been in situations where they would have applied for a chargeback if they’d known it was an option.

Chargebacks can come in handy when you’ve bought goods from an overseas retailer and can’t rely on the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). The act only applies to traders operating in our market.

Here’s what you need to know about chargebacks and how they work.

What’s a chargeback?

In simple terms, a chargeback is where money paid to a retailer for an item is reversed out of its account and refunded to yours.

Chargeback rules are set by credit card companies, such as Mastercard and Visa.

All credit or debit card purchases, including contactless transactions, should be protected by the companies’ chargeback policies. Chargeback rights don’t apply if you paid by eftpos.

When can I apply for a chargeback?

Common situations where you can apply for a chargeback include:

  • You paid for goods or services that weren’t provided
  • The product turned up but wasn’t as described or was faulty
  • Your account was fraudulently or mistakenly debited
  • A promised refund wasn’t credited to your account
  • You cancelled a direct debit but the retailer kept taking money from your account.

How do I apply for a chargeback?

Your first step in any dispute with a trader is giving it the opportunity to put things right – a good retailer should do this straight away. If that doesn’t happen, then contact your bank or the card issuer (if it’s not your bank) and apply for a chargeback.

You generally have 120 days from the date of the transaction to apply for a chargeback, though time frames vary depending on the nature of the dispute. We recommend taking action as soon as you’re aware of the problem.

You’ll need to provide your bank with details of the dispute, such as the date and amount of purchase, a description of the goods or services ordered, and evidence of your efforts to resolve the matter with the retailer.

Keep a record of emails and any other correspondence with the retailer, setting out what the problem is and making your request for a refund clear. Having a paper trail will make it easier to argue your case.

If you received an incorrect item and returned it, but have yet to get your money back, provide proof of return. Track the returned item so you can see it’s been delivered to the retailer.

When you apply for a chargeback, the bank will investigate. The retailer will be asked for its side of the story. It may try to dispute your application but will need to provide evidence to support its case. If it doesn’t respond within the required time frame or doesn’t raise valid grounds for dispute, you’ll be refunded.

Will a chargeback cost me anything?

You may be charged if your chargeback application is unsuccessful. Check with your bank about its policy.

What if the bank says “no”?

If your bank declines your application and you think it’s acted unfairly, take your case to the Banking Ombudsman.

The ombudsman will look at whether:

  • you were given good information about how to dispute a transaction
  • your bank processed the chargeback request appropriately
  • your bank correctly assessed the retailer’s response to the chargeback
  • the credit card company’s time frames for chargebacks were followed.

Most complaints to the Banking Ombudsman are from consumers disputing payments when they think they’ve been misled by the retailer or discovered the service was a scam.

If your complaint is upheld, the ombudsman may award compensation. Your bank may also be told to process your chargeback application if it hasn’t done so.

Chargeback questions

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

Yes. When goods aren’t as described, and the supplier refuses to put things right, that’s grounds for a chargeback. The bank is likely to 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. If a trader goes bust before you get your goods, you can apply for your bank for a chargeback.

The same applies if you’ve paid for a service, such as a plane ticket or holiday package, and the company goes under.

When STA Travel went into liquidation, customers who paid for tickets with a credit or debit card were able to apply to their bank for a chargeback.

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

The bank should still refund you and pass the charge on 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. If the retailer has failed to provide the refund promised, you can apply for a chargeback.

When you return goods, keep evidence you’ve sent them back and that the retailer has received them.

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 found a better offer elsewhere or just changed your mind. The only exception would be if the store promised to refund the difference if you found a better price at another store. If it failed to provide the promised refund, you can apply for a chargeback.

Member comments

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JOHN D.
23 May 2021
Disputing transactions on your ANZ Visa card ( CHARGE BACKS ON CONSUMER NZ)

Just to inform you/ update, that ANZ BANK has send me an email, which seems to be very much related to this topic:

Disputing transactions on your ANZ Visa card
ANZ

18/5/2021 11:37
To John D'lima

Quick replyReply allForwardSpamBlacklistDelete

We’re making some changes to the Conditions of Use for Visa Debit cards on 1 June 2021.

Disputing transactions on your ANZ Visa card

Dear John

We’re writing to let you know about some changes to the Conditions of Use for ANZ Visa Debit cards from 1 June 2021, which relate to disputing transactions.

In some cases, we can dispute transactions on your behalf – for example, if you use your card to buy goods online but you don’t receive them. However, we can only dispute certain types of transactions, so we’re updating the Conditions of Use to clarify which ones.

What types of transactions can be disputed?

We can dispute transactions on your card made through the Visa network. This means transactions made online, over the phone, or when you tap your card on a contactless terminal (i.e. Paywave).

However, we can’t dispute transactions made through the New Zealand EFTPOS network, unless they are fraudulent. EFTPOS network transactions are when an ANZ Visa Debit card is inserted or swiped at an EFTPOS terminal and ‘Cheque’ or ‘Savings’ is selected.

If you’re not sure what network a transaction was made through, this appears on your bank statement in the ‘Transaction type’ column as - VT for Visa network and EP for EFTPOS Network.

It’s important to note that while we can dispute transactions made through the Visa network on your behalf, your dispute may not be successful because there are certain eligibility criteria that must be met. Each dispute is assessed on a case by case basis.

We’re here to help

If you have any questions or would like more information about disputing transactions, please call us on 0800 269 296 (+64 4 470 3142 if calling from overseas) 6am-12 midnight, 7 days a week or come into any ANZ branch.

Kind regards
The Team at ANZ

Contact us

0800 269 296

+64 4 470 3142 (from overseas)

Contact Centre hours General enquiries 6am to 12 midnight, 7 days a week (NZT).

Connect with us
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call 0800 269 296 email us at enquiry@anz.com visit anz.co.nz

KINDLY KEEP ME INFORMED OF YOUR REACTION TO THE ABOVE EMAIL.

THANKS AND REGARDS,

JOHN D'LIMA

David C.
22 May 2021
Excellent service with ANZ Visa

I paid for items on line and then heard nothing further from the company and emails were ignored although I was still receiving their junk mail. I cancelled the transaction with the company through email (no response!) and notified Visa.
After I had explained the situation and, so I surmise, Visa also received no response to their queries, I received a full refund of my purchase price.
The whole process was quick and painless with very helpful ANZ Visa people.

Wayne P.
22 May 2021
Covid Travel

Just prior to the Covid virus being declared a Worldwide Pandemic we booked and paid NZ$21,000 for an overseas trip with our Visa card. It soon became clear this was not going to eventuate and started the refund process with the travel agent. After nearly 12 months of stalling emails 'we're working on a solution' 'our best offer coming soon' etc it was clear we were wasting our time. Similar result with our Travel Insurance too, once a Pandemic is declared, no cover, even though the contract was paid for prior to the Pandemic announcement. Although only having a Visa card with this particular bank, we approached them with an enquiry about a charge back, not really expecting a positive result. We could not have been so wrong, after a couple of weeks investigation they confirmed they would be actioning a charge back and a couple of weeks later we received the full amount credited to our Visa card with no deductions or fees. Incidentally, it is worth noting, we have no other business with this bank and use a direct debit payment each month to avoid any interest charges. In other words we are a nil profit customer to the bank. We would recommend to anyone failing to receive the goods or services paid for via their credit card to look into this option. Like us, you might be surprised. Wayne and Bettina.

John H.
22 May 2021
Thanks to Paying by PayPal

I paid for an item from a well known international firm but it did not turn up as promised so I cancelled the order. The firm told me that the refund was processed weeks before and that I should talk to my bank. Luckily, I paid through PayPal and they refunded the money after investigating my complaint as they have a Customer Protection policy. The key point was that I sent them all the email exchanges but I don't know if they recovered the refund from the firm.

Peter H.
22 May 2021
Stonewalled by ASB

When I asked ASB about a chargeback I was told that they "don't provide this kind of service".

Julie O.
29 May 2021
asb chargeback success

I purchased exercise equipment from what I thought was a nz store, they billed me twice and didn’t respond to emails, when i tried to contact their ‘auckland’ office ph it was disconnected. Turns out it was a dodgy australian store, ASB refunded (chargeback) my visa with the money no issues promptly after supplying them evidence of my attempts to contact and the store details.

Gerard D.
22 May 2021
Expedia & Qantas

Similar to Beverley's comments below, I also got the run around from Expedia re a Qantas booking, cancelled by the airline due to Covid. In the end, after about five months, I requested a chargeback, supplied the details, and got it 45 days later (the time the operator has to respond). I also had a direct booking with Singapore airlines that was refunded in a couple of days.

As I had got a refund reasonably quickly via Expedia for an accommodation booking (same Qantas trip), the issue may have been with Qantas not refunding Expedia, and Expedia being unwilling to refund without Qantas paying first.

Lesson learnt (I had a few other problems with online agents re Covid refunds), I now book directly with operators, which is often better value (eg more options, cheaper etc) and the operator doesn't have to pay commission. Recommended!

Rod
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.