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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.

Section 75 claim American Express

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.

Does Section 75 only apply to credit cards?


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.

visa mastercard

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 (171)

  • Relaxo says:

    “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”

    So in other words S75 only applies if each individual item costs over £100 ???

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Depends how you define each ‘item’

      easyJet or Ryanair might breakdown the fare into outbound and inbound flight plus baggage fees etc but if all bought at the same time under the same booking reference that should be considered a single ticket and the total value of the whole lot should be over £100.

      But if it’s for more than 1 person then the cost per person for their individual return flight must also be over £100.

      Don’t forget even if s75 isn’t applicable you can chargeback any amount and as the businesses are still going concerns I can’t see any issues in getting it back.

  • Scottydogg says:

    Ive got 2 Section 75 claims ongoing at the moment , 1 with Amex and 1 with Creation .
    Amex one is to a travel firm that i booked a group ski trip with that then got cancelled, the company ‘Secret Escapes’ are so far refusing to make a refund and just offering Credit that we dont want as feel we can not use it . Amex emailed me last night to say that they have creditted my account for the full amount whilst it is investigated but could take it back at a later date if the claim if refused . Its difficult for me as i owe 3 other people money from the trip being cancelled , i dont want to refund them now in cash for Secret escapes some how worm their way out of it later down the line and Amex hit me with the bill out of the blue . Will have to wait for the letter that says its closed i suppose .

    Creation on the other hand are being pretty slow about it all , they dont seem to credit the amount back to you whilst they investigate ? Ive phoned a few times to try and get an update from them but just get a ‘its being dealt with’ etc etc reply , ‘bear with us in these different times’ etc etc

    • TGLoyalty says:

      While Amex have ‘credited’ it back to you the dispute isn’t closed so the credit isn’t really worth anything. I would tell your friends it’s under review and you will refund them if it’s actually settled in your favour.

      Creation will be waiting for the dispute to be closed before crediting you, which I feel is fine because it doesn’t give you the false sense of security that Amex seem to be.

      • Lady London says:

        Also there’s always a deadline typically 45 days,within which if the company you paid doesn’t come up with a convincing or at least debatable reason that justifies their not refunding you, the dispute is closed by the credit card company and then the money back is yours to keep.

        • Graeme says:

          I raised a dispute yesterday via the web chat function for package holiday that has not been refunded, very helpful and accomodating agent, the outcome being:

          “We have issued a credit for the disputed amount. This will appear in your online account within 72 business hrs and in the upcoming statement.
          We will contact the merchant and if they accept this credit or do not respond, you may consider this credit as final.”

          I have checked the status of the dispute this morning and it is marked as ‘closed’ in my activity. Whilst I would be delighted to think that the matter is now done and dusted, I suspect that would be wishful thinking and a tad optimistic considering the current circumstances.

          • Lady London says:

            ATOL would have covered the holiday meaning if by the time you contacted your card, if it was over 14 days, yes it could have been so quick to decide in your favour and close it.

  • Remainder2 says:

    Perhaps worth flagging up the ability to claim for consequential loss as part of a s75 claim. I’ve never needed to do this previously but need to now and the claim is pending so we shall see what happens.

    Flights booked with airline (AirEuropa) directly. Cancelled but only being offered rebooking or time limited voucher. So s75 should work here. Added in the cost of my internal flights at my destination which were purchased in cash locally. s75 should mean Amex pick up that consequential loss as it directly flows from the breach. Less certain whether that will work in practice so watch this space.

    Fall back is travel insurance but the internal flights cost only a smidge more than my excess so for the sake of £10 I’ll not bother.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      You also have FOS as a fallback (and indeed small claims) if Amex don’t play ball

  • Mikel says:

    A word of caution. Yes, you’ll receive the money but if the retailer disputes your claim, they will reverse the decision without contacting you for further comment or evidence. I submitted irrefutable evidence against Avis when they charged me for a second driver in Atlanta (free when booked via BA) Avis later produced a signed agreement form and that was it. I had to sign the agreement form or I would have been stuck in Atlanta with no car. This was all explained with documents from BA executive club to support my position. Amex can be excellent but on occasions, they simply ignore the evidence if the retailer challenges the decision. I eventually received a refund via BA after 5 months through sheer persistence.

    • Alex Sm says:

      But what evidence would an airline or travel agency produce to dispute your claim? That the flight was going and not cancelled? With flights it’s more binary I think – either you are going or you aren’t

  • @mkcol says:

    A very similar process for Curve which I had to do last night when I spotted 8 identical transactions for BHD43 each being processed from the merchant Zain Bahrain (a mobile network).

    You go into each transaction, at the bottom of the screen in red is “Questions about this transaction” – you fill in that you are disputing the charge and send it.

    This morning I’ve had a response from Curve via email just to ask a few more details & confirm that they have blocked both the card (which I had frozen in the app) and Curve Send.

  • SG says:

    Hi! Would you be anle to shed some more light on “matching” S75 protection for the Platinum card? Did you mean that there is chargeback available or is there a full protection, including a consequential loss available. Would you be able to link to the source of the information?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Amex voluntarily give you an equivalent s75 protection on purchases with charge cards but they don’t match the consequential loss part of it.

      • SG says:

        Thanks for the info! Do you have any link to the documentation that confirms this fact? I have tried to look up on their website and don’t seem to be able to find it. Or is it just simply an unwritten rule?

  • Liz says:

    I finally received my refund from BA today after 35 days thanks to BA Refund Helper on Flyer Talk. I had previously raised 4 claims with Amex last week and they very quickly paid out the cheaper return flights part of the total cost. I just called them to cancel the claim. Just waiting on my car parking refund now.

    • Anna says:

      Good result Liz. One thing I’ve never worked out is does the credit card company then pursue the retailer or supplier for the money they’ve had to refund to the card holder?

      • Liz says:

        Yes I assume so. The process should not have been this painful – so many attempts over 5 weeks . I get they are all under pressure with volumes but their processes are all over the place.

  • Terry S says:

    Useful post thanks. Just raised a claim via Amex website

    • Rob says:

      I can imagine there are another 1,000 on top. I’m probably off the Amex Christmas card list now *

      (* I didn’t get a card last year either though)

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