Having trouble with a refund? Here’s how to dispute a charge with Amex under Section 75.

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If you’ve been reading the Head for Points comments section, you will know that many readers have been discussing how ‘Section 75’ can help get them refunds from airlines or hotel groups which are not rushing to return their money.

What is Section 75?

‘Section 75’ is industry shorthand for part of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 that makes your credit card provider jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by a retailer.

It allows you to make a claim against your credit card company to get your money back if a retailer does not honour their side of the purchase, whatever that may entail.  This includes failure to perfom due to bankruptcy.

Under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the credit card company is jointly liable with the retailer for anything you buy as long as you spend over £100 and under £30,000.  You can charge as little as £1 to a credit card to get the coverage, but the total purchase must be over £100.  You can claim up to six years after the original purchase.

(There is a quirk to the rules which will apply to flight transactions.  If your total spend for your family was over £100 but each individual airline ticket cost under £100, Section 75 will not apply.  The same applies if you bought four shirts for £30 each from a clothes shop.)

This is one of the most consumer friendly pieces of legislation around.  I’m never sure if the credit card companies are pleased it exists, but it is a great advertisement for using a credit card instead of cash or a debit card for major purchases.

Section 75 claim American Express

Does Section 75 only apply to credit cards?

Yes.

Section 75 only applies to credit cards. This includes the British Airways American Express cards, the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Card, the American Express Rewards Credit Card (ARCC) and the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card.

American Express charge cards are not covered – including the The Platinum Card.  However, Amex chooses to voluntarily match Section 75 protection although it is not legally obliged to.

Section 75 only applies if you paid directly.  If you used an intermediary such as PayPal or Curve then you cannot claim under Section 75 although both companies have similar, but not as legally strong, remediation schemes.

What happens if I paid with a debit card?

There is a separate mechanism called ‘chargeback’ which can be used if you made a payment with a debit card or if your credit card payment was for less than £100 per ticket.

A chargeback allows your card issuer to reverse your payment.  You receive a refund and the money is taken back from the airline, hotel etc involved.

Visa, Mastercard and American Express have signed up the chargeback process.  However, you need to understand that this is a voluntary scheme and you have no legal right to receive a refund.

Section 75 claim American Express

How do you make a Section 75 claim against American Express?

Given current events we thought it would be helpful to have an article about the process of initiating a claim on an American Express card, as many people are unfamiliar with the process.

Unfortunately nobody on the HFP team has ever needed to process a chargeback on Amex, so we asked regular commenter Dean to help us out.  Over to Dean:

“Firstly, decide whether you have a valid basis for the refund, i.e. did British Airways cancel your flight and so under EC 261/2004 make you legally entitled to a cash refund?  Has the retailer promised a refund but they’re saying you’ll have to wait six months?  If so, it might be time to raise a dispute.

Note that with American Express, the dispute raising process is the same for both credit cards and charge cards.  However, credit cards have legal force under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (1974), whilst charge cards only have Amex’s own voluntary process.

To raise a dispute you need to login to the Amex website on a desktop computer and not the app.  Navigate across the top menu to ‘Statement’ and then to ‘Your Card Activity’ (click to enlarge):

How do you make a Section 75 claim against American Express?
Next, navigate to the transaction that you would like to dispute, using the ‘Date Range’ to go back to the month in which the transaction was made if needed.

Click into the transaction and then click on the text at the bottom, ‘Have a question about this charge?’.

How do you make a Section 75 claim against American Express?
You’ll then need to answer a number of questions related to the dispute.

If Amex asks for it, you will need to upload any evidence you have, e.g. any correspondence with the retailer, notes from any calls, any refund promised etc.
How do you make a Section 75 claim against American Express?
The dispute you’ve raised appears on the ‘Your Card Activity’ page. Clicking on ‘Dispute Activity’, on ‘Open’ and then the dispute itself displays details related to the dispute along with an expected resolution date.

How do you make a Section 75 claim against American Express?
I created a dispute for a Qatar Airways flight on 6 April and a ‘Credit for Disputed Charge’ amount hit my Amex statement three days later. I still have to wait potentially until 29 May for Amex to investigate with the retailer and to receive a final decision on the dispute.  American Express will reclaim the money from my account if they refuse my claim.

Amex appear to have a risk based approach to such disputes.  For smaller disputed amounts I have found that the case was closed straight away with no investigation. You will receive a letter in the post once the dispute is closed.

You could of course call American Express or use the chat function to open a case, but the self-service option I outline above is likely to be much quicker these days.”

Thanks Dean.

Please remember, before initiating a Section 75 claim, that it creates a lot of work for both American Express and the airline or hotel company involved.  Virgin Atlantic, for example, is quoting 100 days at present to refund money from cancelled tickets.  If you are in immediate need of the money then you can raise a Section 75 case and you will receive it more quickly, but if you can sit it out then you are doing everyone a favour.  Your money is not risk at the end of the day – if a company which owes you a refund does fail, you are still entitled to your money under Section 75.

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Comments

  1. If you open a case via “dispute activity” on Amex, is this a chargeback or S75? Seems to be used interchangeably in this thread, I presumed this was only a chargeback and you had to ring / speak on chat to raise a S75.

    • This is precisely my understanding too.

    • Presumably you just want a refund so it doesn’t matter? Unless you want amex to be responsible for the contract by chartering a private plane for you

  2. James M says:

    I had to make a S75 claim through HSBC when a company went bust a while back. It started out simple, I needed to complete and return some forms; but transformed into a long winded and tedious process..

    Periodically, I’d call to check in progress the staff were friendly and polite. Each time I’d have to explain everything from the beginning again (which grew tiring after the first 5/6 times); eventually they’d inform me that they needed to speak to “legal” – but they wouldn’t put me through directly.
    After what felt like a week or two on hold they would come back to me, always with a notable change in tone and demeanour and stating that “legal” would contact me.

    Their staff would not (or could not?) disclose any information about the status of the enquiry beyond generic “it’s in progress”.

    “Legal” never did contact me, but after ~12
    weeks I did finally see a statement credit and sent a letter almost suggesting they were doing me a favour.

    You don’t get the instant refund as you do with Amex, presumably to avoid false hope should there be a genuine case where it would be re-debited. Or incompetence.. who knows?

    MBNA on the other hand – 15 minute call, a quick email which included evidence a provided form and all was done – immediate refund.

    • Make a complaint to HSBC

    • Similar experience with HSBC last year, all in all took about six months to come to a conclusion after countless calls, letters, forms, evidence etc. Even though I had asked for S75 at the start, because I made part payment on Debit card they chose to opt for the Chargeback method first (without telling me). Sneaky HBSC. I understand the Amex process is much more efficient and smooth.

  3. Ianmac says:

    I’ve noticed a query regarding Barclaycard above so I will share my experience.
    Ski holiday hotel cancelled and committed to refund booking deposit (paid on Barclaycard Visa).
    Hotel confirmed refund processed on 27 March. Nothing back in account so double checked with hotel – reconfirmed.
    I called Barclaycard almost daily – ~ 2 hrs wait each time and they asked me to double check hotel had refunded and then asked hotel to send me photo of refund transaction slip.
    I called again on Tuesday 14 – 1hr 45 mins to get through to agent, he transferred me to Disputes team. (TOTAL CALL TIME 4HRS 58MINS !!)
    The Disputes guy was superb (a real expert) – as more than 15 days had elapsed since hotel had committed to refund then my dispute was valid and he immediately credited my card account with the amount. He asked me me to email all the correspondence to him and they would take it up with the hotel / bank (??)
    Bravo to Bob Williams in Barclaycard Disputes CentreOfExcellence
    (Not sure if it was a pure coincidence but checking my cc account yesterday there was a refund transaction from the hotel – I lost £2.90 on exchange rate but hey-ho; and the hotel has treated us wonderfully when we’ve stayed there in previous years’ ski trips !)

    I also tried to use the online method for a Barclaycard claim against KLM (who have 3 or 4 times offered me vouchers when I’ve called asking for cash refund – I’ve refused each time – “you wouldn’t give deBijenkorf, HEMA or Albert Heijn an interest free 12 month loan so why should I give one to KLM !!”)
    Using the Transaction history and date range / keyword brings up the 3 KLM transactions (one per traveller / ticket).
    Expand one of the lines and there is an option ‘View Transaction Query’
    When I click that box i get an error message
    JBWEB000065: HTTP Status 405 –

    Anybody else experiencing the same problem ??
    Barclaycard Disputes expert is sending me claim forms as he said that the claim against KLM is a different process compared to the issue with the hotel deposit refund.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. Guess I’m going to have to ring, as nothing has been updated to say they’ve received the paperwork I sent over 2 weeks ago, or suggests it’s even being looked at.

      In the meantime my travel agent finally replied to me yesterday after 5 weeks to tell me that they are only refunding the cruise (well, NCL will be), it’s tough luck on everything else. They told me I had to go through travel insurance. That doesn’t seem right to me from what I’ve read on Which, ABTA etc, as they supplied the holiday as a package. However, I admit I have struggled to find information about what is supposed to happen when you’ve already travelled (we were 2 nights into a 25 night holiday when our cruise, the main part of the package, got cancelled). My argument is they were supposed to provide a package holiday, which they didn’t, so therefore they should refund the lot. There argument appears to be it’s not their problem, we had already used our flight there (true enough, but the purpose of the flight was to get to the destination to start the cruise, and then spend a week in Orlando at the end, neither of which we got to do). I really hope Barclaycard will help, I anticipate insurance being a nightmare, particularly given we have read you are supposed to start a claim within 31 days, but the TA has taken 5 weeks to get back to us!

      • Lady London says:

        MSE is a good source on things like ATOL. Info on ATOL coverage might even be included in the documentation you received when you purchased.

        I would go for s.75 with credit card, then insurance if you have text that looks like it covers it. If those fail I’d do moneyclaimonline. FWIW I agree with you that the outward flight was in vain as you only took it as part of something that was sold to you as s package to reach the cruise that was packaged together with the flight.

        Check your documentation – it may be that they weaselled it verbally selling it to you as a package but in writing adding text to try to separate the elements contractually. That wouldn’t stop me claiming as I would say it was misrepresented to me.

        I think you would win a claim but so far it’s looking as though you might have to go all the way. If it goes to moneyclaim (not sure if you can do this with insurance too) then add a claim for interest at 8% statutory rate as under ATOL they should have refunded you within, I believe, 14 days.

        • Thank you. It is atol covered, I’ve got the certificate, and it lists all the different parts of the holiday on it as a package.

          I’ve searched as hard as I can trying to find out the specifics of what happens if you’ve already set off on your package, but I just can’t find anything. All I keep seeing is if your package wasn’t received as sold, then you’re entitled to a refund, so that’s all I can go on.

          I can kind of understand them trying to weasel out of the flight there and the 2 nights spent in Santiago because technically yes, they were used (but only as I said before to get us to the main part of the holiday, which was the 14 night cruise followed by 6 nights in Orlando and then the flight home). But all they’ve supposedly done is fill a form in for NCL, and not told us anything at all until 5 weeks after the event! Crap service, and I’m determined to fight for a full refund, whoever it ends up coming from!

  4. Has anyone had any recent experiences with obtaining a refund from Lufthansa?

    Flight was cancelled on 19/3/20 and automated e-mail sent to their ‘refund department’ for processing the same day.

    To date, no refund initiated. They are refusing to advise how long their refund process is currently taking and when complaint made via their customer relations, automated e-mail received stating they won’t be dealing with flight refund related issues. There is suggestion online, that they are delaying processing refunds, in an attempt to wait it out, for a change in EU law, regarding offering flight vouchers instead of cash refunds due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19.

    Section 75 dispute now raised with Amex.

    • Great experience with Amex.

      Credit applied to my account 2 days later after sending them documentation to support my claim. Advised Lufthansa are able to dispute this if they wish.

  5. Drolma-la says:

    What if the charge one wants to have refunded was incurred in Oct/Nov 2019 for taxes and fuel surcharges on a reward ticket, the credit card in question was cancelled in April 2020 and the airline in question goes broke or can’t deliver the flights sometime later. Is it still possible to make an S75 claim if you no longer have the credit card?

    • Yes you can – there’s a good section on S75 on MSE where it clearly states you can claim even if the card is cancelled/closed.

  6. Peter Woodall says:

    Can you get a cash value refund for Air Miles as well?

    • You would need to discuss that with your card company. Miles have no cash value – read the scheme rules. However it depends if you can persuade your card company to buy you a replacement flight as compensation.

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