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WARNING – Amex dodging Section 75 refund

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  • peterw

    I bought a package cruise holiday from Jetline Cruises and paid both payments (total £4180) with my AMEX credit card.
    The package holiday was cancelled by Jetline (the cruise line decided to relocate the ship to another part of the world) who then would not give me a refund as they admitted they had no money to do so. Furthermore, Jetline confirmed that as I had started a claim with AMEX Jetline would not take any further action in giving me my refund.
    I then referred the matter to AMEX under section 75 of the Consumer Credit act to ask for a refund as they are jointly liable. AMEX, instead of refunding me, have set up a loan arrangement (without my consent) between Jetline and myself to repay me over four months which is totally unacceptable to me. I have complained to AMEX who continue to think their solution is acceptable (but not to me!!).
    I believe that AMEX have attempted to dodge their responsibilities under section 75 by fobbing me off with a loan that I have not agreed to.
    Needless to say I am referring this matter to the financial ombudsman and I am now awaiting a deadlock letter from AMEX.

    JDB

    If you are asking for any advice, there are a lot of missing elements in the story, including the timelines. Presumably you did pay with an Amex credit card rather than charge card such that s75 applies. Also it seems (from what you say) that you made the claim to Amex before concluding matters with Jetline which isn’t usually a good idea. What are you going to ask the Ombudsman to do? It will take at least four months for the FOS to start considering your case by which time you will have been paid back in full. None of it seems ideal, but it seems quite a pragmatic solution that Amex has provided.

    Lady London

    @peterw I hope you did pay with Amex *credit* and not charge card. As I’m sure you know s75 joint liability only applies to purchases made by UK-issued credit cards.

    If it was a credit card Amex’s proposition is totally unreasonable. They’ve plucked something out of thin air to suit themselves.

    I don’t see they have the right to do that. Otherwise where would it all end? Cards would just invent their own terms to pay you what they are jointly liable for.

    A short sharp jerk on the choker chain of Amex – just as you must do with a dog as soon as it tries to misbehave as otherwise it just stores up trouble for further bad behaviour of the dog in the future – is the way to go. Especially as Amex will be charged £750 by the Ombudsman for your complaint.

    If you did not follow Amex’s complaint process before complaining to the Ombudsman the Ombudsman will refuse to deal with your complaint. So if you haven’t, do so, wait for the refusal result of their official process and raise a completely fresh complaint after that. PS think about how you will quantify your loss under a few headings for the Ombudsman although this feels more a performance claim than a money claim. Even a token £1 under a heading could be helpful.

    Aa pointed out by other posters in various cases on here, technically you are not obliged to exhaust complaint process with the merchant before raising a s75 claim with your credit card as card is jointly liable. But it would have been better optically.

    What Amex is proposing to do – spread your repayments over a period they defined to suit them – is totally unacceptable. Having been denied what you purchased you need your money back now to pursue other options. Otherwise, if you’re sure it would cost a lot more and you could duplicate an identical cruise on a very close date, remind Amex that under s75 they are not just liable to refund what you paid they are in fact liable for the consequential cost of replacing what you purchased under s75 even if it would now cost considerably more to replace now so you insist they refund you now and in full.

    How much would Amex charge you in interest and charges (plus interst compounding including on monthly interest) according to your credit card agreement if you insisted on paying this size of amount in 4 instalments over 4 months? An arbitrator would quite possibly award you that (though not, I suspect, a court). Ask them which arbitration acheme they-re signed up to and tell them what amount you calculate for that now if you’re willing to give that a run – it has an innate fairness, to me, which is what arbitration is for. You could open by asking them what is the basis on which they’ve chosen to propose 4 months.

    The only way I can see Amex possibly getting away with this is if 4 months time was the date of your cruise.
    But to me you already know you’ve lost that money and should receive the money back to try to find an alternate holiday.

    Please let us know what happens as Amex is getting to be more and more of a dog these days.

    Froggee

    Whilst it sounds awful, if Jetline were acting as agent rather than operator, it is arguable that s75 applies. The view of this appears to vary from credit card company to credit card company. The below from Which is quite helpful:

    https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/my-travel-company-has-gone-bust-what-can-i-do-aXoIh4n6NWZx

    peterw

    Yes it was paid with thheir credit card. The holiday was die to commence early April 2022 and was cancelled late February.
    I had asked Jetline for a refund as it fell under the package tour regualtions but they did reply saying they couldnt pay me blaming covid and that they had to wait for monies to come back to them from their suppliers. No timescale was given.

    It was at that point that I contacted AMEX. The Jetline agent then advised me “As you have now sourced your refund through your credit card, your booking is now locked and I cannot go any further with sorting your refund.”

    George K

    I’m more surprised with Amex’s response than Jetline’s. Back in the opening stages of the pandemic, Air Canada cancelled a £2k flight booking that I had and flat out refused any refunds. I took the matter to Amex, who… refunded me immediately. When I say ‘immediately’ I mean that as soon as I put the phone down, I saw the £2k back into my account.

    About…. 9 months later, I received an email from Air Canada saying that they are aware that I took the matter to my credit card provider and they consider the whole case closed.

    I don’t understand this loan agreement. £4k should be pittance for Amex. What are they gaining from not giving you the full whack right away?

    Freddy

    It took amex 6 months for my refund of Thomas Cook monies along with a complaint to the financial ombudsman.

    However I was refunded instantly by amex for a Ryanair flight when they were refusing to refund. Similar with a centre Parcs claim when they failed to process a refund.

    No idea why they faffing around with this loan agreement. Surely refund you in full and they can do what they want with jetline

    Benilyn

    4 months not a bad outcome tbf is my read, assuming jetline doesn’t fold. Tell Amex you are on the hook if jetline folds? Have jetline been refunded?

    Lady London

    4 months is not acceptable particularly for a travel product. For travel products, the date booked is of the essence and that’s also what the provider will hold us to.

    As soon as it’s known the travel purchased won’t be provided on the date booked the contract is broken and he can claim. It’s also not fair to keep the passenger hanging around for any reason. Holiday timings people can take are often restricted and he needs his money back to book sonething else.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    Rui N.

    Being a holiday or not is irrelevant. This is not Amex’s money, it’s the OP’s. If Amex wanted to something like this they would need to propose something to the OP, not unilaterally deciding that they would do.

    peterw

    Just to put the cherry on the cake we booked this holiday with some friends who bought the identical package from Jetline at the same time, paid with their AMEX credit card, complained to AMEX when the holiday was cancelled and had a refund in their account within 48 hours!!!

    George K

    Have you opened an actual formal complaint? I can’t see how Amex can not accept they handled your case wrongly.

    andrew

    If it’s customer service is anything to go by, American Express seems to be turning into Blockbuster Video over the last few years.

    I’m struggling to see any area which has genuinely and meaningfully improved against a backdrop of deteriorating customer service, product features, reliability and quality.

    Not good..

    peterw

    Just waiting for AMEX to give me a deadlock letter so I can start with the Ombudsman!

    JDB

    Just waiting for AMEX to give me a deadlock letter so I can start with the Ombudsman!

    What will you be asking the FOS to do if, by the time your case is opened which is a minimum four months from now you have been paid in full by Amex?

    peterw

    I will be asking them to tell AMEX to pay me and take the “loan” on themselves!

    Deadlock letter now received.

    JDB

    I will be asking them to tell AMEX to pay me and take the “loan” on themselves!

    Deadlock letter now received.

    My point was that since it takes about four months for the FOS to start investigating a case once you lodge it, you will have been repaid in full, so what will the complaint be about? Amex’s response to the FOS will simply be that you have been repaid, so no further issue arises.

    peterw

    I will be asking AMEX for compensation for loss of interest. I am not a bank so why should I lend out my money and effectiveley lose interest on it?

    Lady London

    @peterw my claim would be at the interest rate Amex would have charged me if I just decided not to pay a debt to them for 4 months. Plus any fees or penalties they would also apply to you if an amount you owed was not paid each month when due. What’s good enough for them should be good enough for you.

    points_worrier

    So, S75 is not valid if: the holiday is not booked for you; or if there is a break in the debtor-creditor-supplier link. Or if you used Amex charge (as opposed to credit) card.
    You dont mention about the first, but I assume the cruise was for you. A quick google shows me that “Jetline Cruises” are not a cruise supplier (rather they are an intermediary). If the cruise was bought as part of a ‘package’, (ie Jetline added flights, hotels etc on to a cruise to make it a package), and you bought this all together as a package for one price, then Section 75 will apply. If you just bought a cruise off them, (or worse, there was a ‘package’, but it was put together by someone else) then Jetlione is an intermediary, so Section 75 protections WILL NOT APPLY to this transaction.
    You can still [email protected], or use ABTA/ATOL in this case.

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