There is a little tool that many people can use to get money back from companies they have paid, then never received the goods or services paid for. It is called Section 75 of The Credit Consumer Act 1974.
The law was put into place as protection for the consumer, it is not a case that your credit provider is doing you a favour, they are equally liable for the money if anything goes wrong. There are certain rules that govern this, provided you have paid using your credit card any sum over £100 you are covered for the full amount up to £30,000, even if you paid the balance by cheque or transfer.
Where I have seen this has been mainly in the holiday ownership area, mostly with resale companies. How many of you have paid a company to sell your timeshare only to find that in a year’s time they have disappeared?
If this is the case you can claim this back from your credit card company, as they are “jointly and severally liable”. The criteria for this claim is you have never received the goods or services promised, i.e. the sale of your timeshare. The company is no longer around or has gone into liquidation and or it was a fraudulent transaction under timeshare directives. This last point is using the EU Timeshare Directives about resale companies taking upfront fees, this is not allowed, the same as taking deposits within the cooling off period.
Many companies get around this by saying it is a marketing fee, in order to put your timeshare on a higher profile. Even RDO & TATOC members use this. To me it is still taking upfront fees to sell your timeshare. But this is obviously a point for those with legal brains to argue. At the end of the day there is no resale market, just look on ebay, people cannot even give them away.
Another area that section 75 has been successful, is with the various holiday clubs that have been around. Several years ago Incentive leisure Group / DWVC and Club Class were taken out of business by the authorities in the UK. Many people had paid thousands to join these so called clubs with the view of being free from their timeshare and maintenance.
Once the forced liquidations were made public, there was a flurry of activity surrounding section 75 claims. Many operations suddenly appeared saying they could get your money back if you had paid by credit card. Many of these “claims” companies may have even been set up by ex employees of the holiday clubs, using data they had kept.
Most were taking an upfront fee to get the claim started, then there would be a sizable percentage to be paid when the claim went through, usually around 40%. Many consumers went for this and found that the claim was rejected, or had not even been submitted. Many of these companies did not even accept credit card payments, they wanted bank transfers, cheques and even a western union to pay them. These are companies that are supposedly doing claims against credit card companies! Well, no claim can be made against them.
Remember for there to be a claim the payment must be to the company you are dealing with, when you check your receipt and the name is different, check what the relationship is between them. Are they part of the same company? If this is not forthcoming cancel the transaction immediately. Many companies will use a third party who is not part of their group. This then makes a claim very difficult, also never use PayPal even if using your card, they are a third party provider, as far as your card issuer is concerned the transaction is with PayPal and so they are no longer liable.
There is also a time limit for making a claim, you have six years to submit the claim from the time of the transaction. Where I have seen this time extended has been in a case where the claimant had no idea the company had gone bust. On this occasion the card company did allow a claim, but this is not always the way.
If when you make a claim and it is rejected by the card company, you have a right to appeal this decision with the Financial Ombudsman. This is an independent body set up to oversee the process. In many instances a claim has been rejected but the Ombudsman has overturned the ruling and given the claim.
Remember you can do the claim yourself, three links have been provided at the end of this article that explain the process and also provide template letters to submit a claim. The first is Money Saving Expert, we all know of Martin Lewis, a leading campaigner in consumer rights the other is the well known and trusted Which Magazine. The third is for the Financial Ombudsman. They are very good sources of information, you may even be able to get help from your local CAB and even check with your bank or credit card provider.
If you decide to use a third party to process your claim, do your homework.
- Are they a registered company?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have their own credit card facilities?
- Can they provide proof of success?
- What is their fee, i.e. upfront payment, no win no fee and what percentage do they take?
Another area to check is the official registrations for companies dealing with claims. Some claims companies do not need to be registered with the FSA (Financial Services Authority) or the Ministry of Justice (Claims Management). These may be legitimate but to be safe, try for one that is regulated, go on the internet and check registration numbers, don’t just believe them because they are quoted, better safe than sorry.
Follow these links for full information, yes, it can be a difficult process, but with perseverance you may just get your money back.
If you have any questions or need help in checking any company you may be thinking of dealing with Inside Timeshare is here to help. If we do not know the answer we can point you in the right direction.