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Getting your money back if you paid by card or PayPal

This advice applies to Wales

There are steps you can take if you bought something by credit card, debit card, charge card or through PayPal. You can ask for a refund if you:

  • didn't get what you paid for

  • got something faulty or broken

  • got something that's different to how it was described

It's usually best to try to contact the trader. If you can't contact them or they won't help, ask your card provider or PayPal to help.

Try to contact the trader

If the trader has a complaints procedure, you should follow it when you contact them. You can check if the trader has a complaints procedure on their website

It’s best to email or write to the trader - you can use a template letter. Keep a copy of anything you send, in case you need to check it later.

If you can't contact the trader or they won't help, you can then ask your card provider or PayPal.

Check the best way to get your money back

If you paid using money from your PayPal account, you should [open a dispute] on the PayPal website. You have 180 days from when you paid to open a dispute – this is about 6 months.

If you paid with a credit card, you should ask for your money back using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act – as long as you paid more than £100 and no more than £30,000. The limits are for a single item you want to get a refund for, not the whole order. You can't usually use Section 75 if you didn't buy directly from the trader - for example if you bought from eBay.

You should ask for your money back using 'chargeback' if you:

  • paid with a debit card or charge card

  • paid with a credit card and you can't use Section 75

Example

Olga bought a mobile phone and some headphones using her credit card.

The phone cost £80, the headphones cost £20 and the delivery charge was £5 – so the total cost was £105. None of the items arrived.

She can't use Section 75. Although she paid £105, no single item cost more than £100. Olga should ask to use chargeback.

If you paid by more than 1 method

If you paid any part of the cost by credit card, you can use Section 75 - as long as the total cost of the item is more than £100 and no more than £30,000.

You can only get a Section 75 refund from one card provider. 

If you used a credit card and debit or charge card to split the cost, ask your credit card provider to use Section 75. If you used more than one credit card, choose one credit card provider to ask. It doesn't matter which one.

Example

Peter bought a faulty oven for £250. He paid £50 deposit by credit card and £200 by cash.

He can use Section 75. He can claim the full £250 cost, not just the £50 he paid by credit card.

If you didn't buy directly from the trader

You can still ask to use chargeback. 

You can't usually use Section 75 if you bought something through a third party rather than directly from the trader. For example, you might have bought it through:

  • a marketplace like Amazon or eBay, where you use one company's website to buy from other companies
  • a website like GroupOn, where you buy a voucher to use with other companies
  • wallets like PayPal, where you put money in an account then use that account to buy things
  • a travel agent

You can ask your card provider to use Section 75, but they might say no.

If your card provider won't let you use Section 75, ask for chargeback instead.

Making a Section 75 claim

Tell your card provider you want to make a Section 75 claim. Your card provider is the company that sends you your statements. You can find their contact details on their website. It's best to ask in writing.

If you have a joint credit card, the main card holder should contact the card provider.

When you write to them, you should ask for:

  • the full amount you paid, or the cost of repairing the item if it's faulty

  • money to make up for poor quality, or for the trader misleading you

  • the cost of repairing any damage caused by a faulty item or a service

Example

D'Angelo bought a faulty washing machine and it damaged his floor.

He can get money to repair his floor as well as money to repair or replace the washing machine.

You can use our template letter.

If you're successful, your card provider will refund the money to your credit card.

Making a chargeback claim

Tell your card provider you want to make a chargeback claim. Your card provider is the company that sends you your statements. You can find their contact details on their website. It's best to ask in writing.

Your credit provider might call chargeback something else, for example 'disputed transactions'. If you ask for chargeback they will know what you mean.

When you contact them, you should ask for either:

  • the amount you paid on this card - you won't get anything you paid by any other card or payment method

  • money to make up for the problem – less than the full amount you paid

Example 1

Cassandra bought a dress and a t-shirt using her debit card.

The dress cost £90, the t-shirt cost £30 and the delivery charge was £5 - so the total cost was £125. Cassandra received the dress but didn't get the t-shirt, and the trader won't reply to her email.

She can ask to use chargeback to get back the £30 she paid for the t-shirt.

Example 2

Hercules bought a faulty washing machine for £250.

He paid £50 deposit by card and £200 by cash.

He can ask to use chargeback to get back the £50 he paid by card.

If he bought the washing machine with a credit card, he could instead try using Section 75 - he would probably get back more money.

If you’re successful, your card provider will refund the money to either your card or bank account. 

The trader can challenge your refund, even if you've already had the money back. Your card provider will contact you if there's a challenge. If you can, it's a good idea to keep the money for a few weeks just in case their challenge is successful.

If your claim isn’t successful, you can ask your card provider if they used the ‘appeals process’.

If your claim isn’t successful

If you try to use Section 75 and you don't get your money back, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to look at your case. You still might not get your money back.

If you try to use chargeback and you don't get your money back, you can ask your card provider why. If they say they've appealed to the trader’s bank and the appeal failed, there's nothing else you can do. If they say they won't appeal to the trader’s bank, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The Financial Ombudsman Service is independent. They’ll examine your case from both sides to reach a decision they think is fair. You still might not get your money back.

You can find out how to use the Financial Ombudsman Service.

If you don’t agree with the Financial Ombudsman’s decision

You might be able to ask an 'alternative dispute resolution' (ADR) scheme to help. 

You can check if the trader is a member of an ADR scheme - or you can ask them. If they're not a member of an ADR scheme, ask if they're willing to use one.

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