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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)

  • Jody says:

    Not Amex, but does anyone have any experience with Barclaycard and S75? I raised a query over 2 weeks ago regarding my cruise package holiday ( we had already flown to our starting point and been there one night when our 15 night cruise was then cancelled) and Barclaycard had a form I needed to print out and sign and send to them along with any paperwork, which I did. This was posted to them on 2nd April. I sent a secure message on their system on 12th April asking if they’d received the paperwork, but have had no reply and heard nothing.

    Wait times on the phone are over an hour, so I guess I’ll need to bite the bullet, but just wondered if anyone had any experience if this is usual for Barclaycard?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      As the cruise was cancelled did the operator refuse to refund you?

      • Jody says:

        Yes, because it was booked through a travel agent they will only deal with them, so we can’t apply for the refund ourselves. The TA is refusing to respond to all forms of communication, which is why I’ve put in a Section75 claim. There was also 6 nights accommodation in Orlando at the end of the cruise, along with the flights home. There is no breakdown of what each part of the holiday cost on the booking confirmation, and I have no idea what they are intending on refunding us as there has been no contact. It was supposed to be a three and a half week holiday in total, we had the first night on a plane (overnight flight) then one night at our starting point before the cruise was cancelled, it then took the travel agents 3 days and a heck of a lot of (avoidable) issues before they eventually got us flights home.

        • John says:

          If you are unhappy with how Barclays dealt with the issue make a complaint later and they will probably give you £25. But I would be patient for now

          • Will says:

            I gave up on Barclaycard after an hour of being told we will answer your call soon. Surely a firm as big as Barclays can use a system that gives you some sort of clue as to how long the wait time is

  • Jonny says:

    Question for forum users who know much more about this than me:

    I had to travel back earlier from Paris to London, curtailing my trip there, when I got wind of how quickly everything was getting locked down.
    I bought two (rather expensive) Eurostar tickets with my BA Amex.
    Do you think it’d be possible to claim the cost of these tickets back? (I’m in the process of being refunded by Eurostar for my original, much cheaper, Paris-London tickets).

    • NFH says:

      I don’t know what breach of contract you are alleging by Eurostar in order to claim the cost back from Amex. Unless of course the return train that you had originally booked was later cancelled. This sounds like a matter for your travel insurance, but I doubt that the expense you incurred is covered.

      • Jonny says:

        Thanks, NFH.

        Yeah, sorry, I wasn’t suggesting there was any breach of contract. It was more a general question (should have written ‘off topic’) about whether anyone thought that might be covered by the Amex travel insurance (that I have with my Platinum card – again, I should I have specified that…).

      • jc says:

        Only yes to Amex plat insurance if there was government advice/ban on being there, or you had to return for a certified medical reason, etc…otherwise it was a voluntary decision and I wouldn’t expect any insurance payout.

    • Mark says:

      Was your original service back to London cancelled? If so and you weren’t offered alternative arrangements by Eurostar, you may be able to claim against the Platinum travel inconvenience benefit. We successfully claimed for alternative flights and accommodation following a flight cancellation.

    • AJA says:

      Did you buy the more expensive tickets off your own bat or did you do it because you were advised to do so by either the government or Eurostar?

      It sounds to me like you chose to do this to get home even though your original return train was still operating. If that is the case then you have no case. Just be grateful that Eurostar is refunding the original return tickets.

      In future I suggest that you contact Eurostar to ask if they will reroute you before just buying new tickets. They may have allowed you to change your tickets or may have charged an admin fee which might have cost you less.

    • Genghis says:

      For next time, even for non-refundable tickets it’s possible to amend the ticket on Eurostar. I had a SP ticket from BXL and had to rush back to the UK for family reasons. I amended the ticket for not that much money and was on the train within the hour.

  • Shane says:

    Looks like Amex may be shutting down this option, or it’s just overloaded!

    I’ve just tried several times to start this process for some flights booked with Malaysian, who refuse to refund for cancelled flights and are only offering voucher redeemable through call centre, which only sells full-fare tickets!

    However when I click on the ‘I have question about this charge’ link I get a message saying “loading, please wait” but then nothing happens.

    I tried the online chat, and was told by the operator, that going down this online route would dispute the charge, rather than raise a Section 75 chargeback. When I asked why I couldn’t access the ‘I have a question …’ link he suggested, I should clear my cache and try again. So I thought I’d do this first and then report back …

    • Vit says:

      what is the difference between “dispute a charge” vs. “claim s75 chargeback” though. As I thought dispute a charge is always based on the s75 chargeback… no?

      • jc says:

        No, it’s a different department within Amex, and the policies and procedures are totally different (s75 is better). For example, a dispute is capped at the amount you spent.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          But if all you need is the money back from your cancelled flight from a company that’s still solvent there is no real difference.

          • Alex Sm says:

            Looks like S75 allows you _in theory_ got some sort of compensation for inconvenience (like, difference in fares, additional transport costs). But Chatgeback is a pure refund. But even EU has temporarily halted all extra compensations under EC261 – for covid-related cancellations you can only claim the cost of tickets, not a penny/cent more

          • jc says:

            Compensation and consequential loss are not the same

            Compensation is a payout for the inconvenience. Can’t have this for covid-19

            Consequential loss is money you’ve actually lost, e.g. things you end up needing to buy to put you back to the position you should’ve been in if original contract was honoured. s75 still pays this

        • Vit says:

          Oops! I just went with the customer service via chat while telling them I would like to claim my money back via s75 — so still not sure what the differences are. Like TGL mentioned, money back after all and hopefully no issues in the future. 🙂

          • TGLoyalty says:

            If the flights cancelled and there’s no other cost to you that you’d like to claim back I’d just go with a simple chargeback as the company is solvent.

            s75 should only really need to be used if be used if the company has gone into administration or if there are consequential costs you want to recover. I don’t believe a failed chargeback would mean you can’t then raise s75 claim if there’s a valid reason for why the contract wouldn’t adhered to.

          • jc says:

            I believe Amex chargeback still works if the company goes under.

            Where s75 becomes beneficial is for consequential losses beyond the original amount spent. Example: airline goes under, rebuying a similar holiday from a different airline costs 5x the amount. s75 refunds the difference.

          • Alex Sm says:

            @jc a short answer is yes, they used it with FlyBe

    • Nick Burch says:

      I tried to raise a claim online with Amex last week, after Qatar kept ignoring me and refusing to answer the phone. I got a similar error part way through, so rang up Amex, explaining I’d tried online. I was told that the system is struggling with the number of claims right now!

      Having logged the case on the phone, I was emailed a link to upload the documents around the booking and cancellation and lack of refund, then a few days later was emailed to say the money had been credited back, but was pending a final OK from Qatar and could be recalled if it turned out things weren’t as I’d claimed. So, pretty good result, though it would’ve been better if Qatar had done the right thing to start with…

  • Barry says:

    When I previously tried a section 75 hotel booking claim with PO Bank credit card, which is Bank of Ireland, I got nowhere as the hotel was booked through an intermediary like, so didn’t count apparently.

    • Mark says:

      Did the hotel cancel the booking and, if so, did you try speaking to (or whoever you booked it through)?

      If the booking wasn’t honoured you should still be able to dispute the charge even if it doesn’t count as a valid S75 claim. However, if you were unable to get there or didn’t want to go and it was a non-refundable booking then it’s either an insurance claim (if you’re covered for the former) or you just have to accept the loss.

  • Ian says:

    Had to do this recently with AMEX after Z Hotels decided that they wouldn’t refund me for a reservation, despite the fact that the hotel was closed to new arrivals on the date I was due to check-in! Followed the instructions for raising a dispute online with AMEX and was credited the full amount (despite it being under £100) in a couple of hours. The usual excellent service from AMEX to counter the appalling service from Z Hotels (who I won’t be using again!).

  • Shane says:

    Does anyone have chapter and verse on the differences between raising a ‘dispute’ and a Section 75 chargeback? And also, is the procedure Rob described in his artcle actually the dispute procedure rather than the Section 75 chargeback procedure, as suggested by the chat operator to whom I talked earlier?

    I still can’t get anywhere after clicking on the ‘I have a question …’ link, despite having cleared browser cache and tried another browser etc. so am unable to discover whence that click should lead.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Money Saving Expert has a decent article about s75 and some of the ways it’s different to chargeback. Best to search as the link will probably stop this reply.

      But in essence if all you want is your money back for a service or good that can’t be delivered by a company that’s still solvent a chargeback is the route. There is no minimum or maximum value for this.

      s75 provides an extra layer for items between £100.01 and 30k which aren’t delivered, defective or as described, but the seller is saying they have delivered/are fine, and/or there are consequential losses that resulted from the breaking of that sales contract and you want to claim them. It’s also really useful when a company has gone bankrupt without delivering.

  • Gus says:

    Hello, my friend went to Brazil last month with Norwegian, and they cancelled his flight back to London, and they were not able to provide him another way of coming back to the UK. He then bought a one-way ticket for him and his wife from Brazil back to London. I have never used the compensation claims but I believe he should be able to claim compensation for the flight he had to book so that he could get home. Since then, he hasn’t received any refund from Norwegian, though he sent an email to them to claim compensation. Do you guys have any suggestions for this?

    • Lady London says:


      • Gus says:

        The problem with S75 is that he will just get the refund from Norwegian but not the money back of what he paid to BA, which was more expensive than his Norwegian trip (because he had to buy a one-way ticket for a flight within just a few days from departure). I read in a few places that if you get a refund from the airline you are not eligible for costs when you arrange to return home. Is that correct? Wouldn’t S75 be his last option?

        • Dawn says:

          We had to get one way flights back from Australia costing just over £5k per person with Qatar but it was our only option after 3 other flights were cancelled (end of March). We’re insured with Nationwide and they told us they would pay up to £5k per person as we came under the ’emergency return home’. We contacted them again on our return and we have to provide our refund amount from the Qantas ticket (3 legs we weren’t able to use). This we are told by Flight Centre will take 90 days. But Nationwide said we have as long as we like to submit the claim. We should get back the amount we paid for the Qatar ticket less the Qantas refund.

        • Lady London says:

          Incorrect. s.75 includes consequential losses such as the replacement cost to get what you bought – regardless if higher.

          • Lady London says:

            Chargeback, not s.75, is what only gets you the original amount paid back. You are basically reversing the charge.

        • Lady London says:

          Regarding refund @Gus, if you accept that then the airline has no further duty to you. So if your booking was covered under EC261 then by taking a refund the airline is not liable to pay you duty of care under EC261. Duty of care gets you hotel and meal costs while you wait for your rerouted flight.

          So don’t take a refund from the airline even if they are refusing to provide you the replacement ticket they are supposed that. Sort it out via s.75, chargeback or insurance instead. As in @Dawn asked her card to provide air tickets home when the responsible airline didnt and if her booking was covered under EC261 she could claim duty of care costs as well

  • JA says:

    Used this recently to raise a claim as Melia wouldn’t refund a hotel stay despite the hotel being shut, only offering to reschedule…

    On live chat, Amex initially said their role was only to “mediate” and that the decision would be the merchant’s. Once I pointed out they were liable under s75, the tone suddenly changed and my statement was adjusted a few days after… So when dealing with them, may be worth explicitly mentioning s75.

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