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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?

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.

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)

  • Vit says:

    Thanks HFP team. Very useful post.

    I have a question as below please if anyone could help advise pros and cons.

    Based on this and yesterday BA (free) card amex post, I have recently done 4 x s75 chargeback claims against travel agents and received all the money back. As I plan to close my free BA amex card, I have request credit refund back to my bank account. That’s been sorted as well. Only thing left to do is close my free BA amex card to reset the clock. I am a concerned about the chargeback as the merchant may come back and dispute later and that may put me in a bad credit history, etc. I am just trying to proactively think here and not trying to be “too clever” or anything as it might come back and haunt me in the future.

    Cheers to all advices.

  • Boi says:

    How quick is Amex with payouts? Amex plat on the other hand has been slow. Submitted claim 4 weeks ago (non covid related) and we are still waiting. All we get is daily emails apologising for delay….

    • Vit says:

      Mine — BA AMEX — was within 48 to 72 hours.

    • Howard says:

      My Amex chargeback was with EJ and £380. Money back in 36 hours and case closed in one week.

      I am going through a S75 with Capital on Tap. That is slow and I have a 100% solid case as its for concert seats which the venue in Amsterdam cancelled but refuse to refund my money.

  • Mark says:

    By law you have to wait 28 days for the refund before processing any section 75 or chargeback as this is the time frame that companies have to process a refund.

    • A says:

      Where do you get the general 28 days to pay a refund from? Not something of which I’m aware but clearly doesn’t preclude it from being true!

    • J says:

      You do not even have to contact the merchant for a s75 claim, let alone wait 28 days, as the credit card company is jointly and severally liable.That said, your claim against the credit card issuer is likely to be resisted if you have not done so, but there is no requirement in law: the credit card issuer can indemnify itself against the merchant anyway.

    • Lady London says:

      It depends on what other legislation applies. EC261/2004, for instance, requires payment to you within 7 days. So the airline is in breach and you could theoretically claim on day 8 if not paid.

      However even in peacetime airlines practically are not making 7 days so most of us will cut them done slack. The reason for the problem now is airlines are not responding, refusing to refund, insisting on a voucher, stating 14 days that keeps rolling always another 14 days from when you call again, or saying the will repay money in 3 or even 6 months for something paid for that wasn’t received.

      • Doug M says:

        Just as a data point an AA flight cancelled by me once the route had changed so much it wasn’t recognisable was refunded in under a week, and by that I mean cash refunded to card, not just promised. Kudos to AA, or the US tax payer, whoever ends up funding it.

        • Harry T says:

          Thanks for the data point, Doug. I’m looking at booking £1090 returns with AA from Paris to NY for next year. Haven’t flown them before so good to know. Do you know what their product is like in J on transatlantic flights?

    • AJA says:

      Mark that is why Rhys writes in the article; “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.”

  • Grimz says:

    I have a deposit paid for a holiday cottage in early July and the full amount will be taken in the middle of May from my Curve card. Have I got any right to stop the full amount being taken? I was going to an event which has been cancelled so I have no reason to go to the cottage now. I have Nationwide travel insurance and this cottage was booked last August so we’ll before the pandemic. It’s over £500 to be paid and I have only paid £20 deposit.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Unfortunately no unless the property is actually closed then I can’t see how you can stop the payment or claim on your insurance.

      Inclination not to travel isn’t a reason for a valid chargeback, s75 or insurance claim.

      Would contact the property itself and see what they will do or have a nice staycation?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        *if it’s abroad and FCO advice to not travel is still in place around the time of your booking you could then claim on the insurance.

      • meta says:

        The only way I can think of is if you cancel Curve card, but if the property is in UK they might go after you in small claims. You’d lose £20 deposit, but it is likely that insurance would have excess so you’d lose it anyway.

    • Genghis says:

      What are the terms and conditions of the booking in respect of the deposit? Can you forgo the deposit and cancel?

      • Lady London says:

        Good point. Some contracts mean you just lose your deposit. Others could allow the merchant to claim against you for the rest of the money as well. A lot of the time they might not claim the rest of the money you promised to pay them but in these times they may really need the money so you could find they raise a moneyclaim court claim against you to get the rest of the money.

        It just depends on the terms when you bought.

    • AJA says:

      Contact the holiday cottage and ask them if they agree to you cancelling. Suggest you are happy to forfeit the deposit. They may simply agree and refund you the deposit.

    • AndyGWP says:

      Or negotiate changing to a new date (if known) the subsequent year, that’s what I’ve had to do with some bookings :/

      • Grimz says:

        Thanks for all the comments folks. It’s with a well known cottages website in the UK and I just checked the terms of cancellation and it would cost me around £200 to cancel. Looks like I need to wait till nearer my full payment time and see how things are with travel restrictions within the UK. If I could change the date to 2021 then that may be an option.

  • Martin C-C says:

    Just wondered if anyone else has been shut out of BA exec club on line account. I had it on saved password and entered as usual – got logged out for 24 hours for trying too many times. I tried once more still same, clicked forgotten password – no reset email. I telephoned and call was terminated automatically by BA. Anyone know what’s happening?

    • Anna says:

      I had a similar problem recently- it turned out that after re-setting my password I needed to log out of the phone app and log in again with the new password, this might be your issue?

  • Martin says:

    Currently trying to contact BA to get a full refund for an Amex 241 flight to Chicago in May which was cancelled yesterday. I do not want to rearrange or claim a voucher. I am due around £1300, 100k Avios and return of my 241. On calling BA CS I just get a message saying they are v busy and have reduced staff, therefore the wait may be longer than usual. The message then ends by saying they are unable to take my call just now and the call then cuts off!, Very helpful. If they cannot cope then the obvious Customer friendly solution is to enable an on-line refund option. Anybody know of any more effective phone numbers? And if I choose to go down the Amex dispute route, can anyone advise on what happens to my Avios snd 241?

    • Anna says:

      There are recent articles full of information on all these issues on HFP, just scroll through the last few days.

    • Alex Sm says:

      I had the same story, then tried their Dutch number but the office was closed. Will try again Monday

  • Martin C-C says:

    PS just checked via partner’s account – same story – has BA disabled all Exec Club log ins?

  • Andrew says:

    “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”

    I doubt there’s much work on Amex’s part. They probably just fire off an automated message to the airline saying “we’re refunding this transaction, if you object tell us within X days”. Virgin aren’t going to object at the moment because they know full well that they’re obliged to provide a refund.

    The suggestion that people should give Virgin an interest free loan for over three months, even if they can afford it, is pretty shocking. There’s absolutely no reason it should take Virgin 100 days to process a refund. Cancellations should automatically feed into their booking system. Wait a certain length of time to see if someone requests a voucher in lieu of cash, if you hear nothing then automatically refund to the original payment method. Any delay can only be a deliberate ploy by Virgin to hold on to your cash for as long as possible.

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