According to a survey in Germany commissioned by Mastercard, almost one in five adults has complained to their bank about an unjustified charge on their debit or credit card. The most common reasons: fraudulent payment, double debit of an amount, debit despite an order being canceled or despite a non-delivery. In these cases, a chargeback or chargeback procedure can be initiated.
However, two fundamentally different things are often confused, as lawyer Karl Gladt, head of the Internet Ombudsman, explains. One is a legal right to chargeback according to the Payment Services Act 2018, Section 67: This exists if payments were made without authorization or two-factor authentication of the cardholder. “In these cases, the credit card company must refund the money immediately.”
The second option concerns chargeback procedures, to which there is no legal entitlement, but which are possible due to complex contractual regulations in the credit card organizations – for example in cases in which a merchant demonstrably does not deliver the goods that have already been paid for. In very simplified terms, one could say: In many cases where a payment has been authorized, there is a legitimate hope of a chargeback as a gesture of goodwill, because credit card companies have the opportunity to chargeback payments within a certain period of time, usually three months Do service for customers too. “This corresponds to the experiences we receive from consumers,” says Gladt.
When asked by the Kleine Zeitung, Visa said: “First, card holders who want their money back should try to come to an agreement with the seller. If this is not successful, those affected can contact the card-issuing bank. If the concerns are legitimate, the bank will issue a chargeback.”
These concerns will be taken into account
Legitimate concerns include: fraud or other cases in which the goods ordered are not delivered or the service purchased is not provided, even if the company has ceased operations or gone bankrupt. Other reasons: Goods that turn out to be counterfeit, amounts that have been billed twice, or an amount that has been charged again after canceling a subscription. In any case, the card issuing bank is the contact person for the so-called chargeback procedure. “The bank will examine the case and then, if justified, initiate the chargeback.”
The duty of care thing
Of course, there are also certain duties of care that credit card holders must fulfill in order to successfully assert their right to have an unauthorized payment reversed. Unfortunately, this is also relatively complicated in detail, as Gladt emphasizes.
De facto, however, a credit card company must immediately reverse unauthorized payments even if the cardholder “grossly negligently violates their duty of care”, although the opposite is often explained to customers. The credit card company can then demand compensation from the customer. “The company would have to prove that it actually suffered damage, which probably happens in very rare cases, since payments can be reversed within a certain period of time,” says the consumer advocate.
And secondly, it must always be clarified on a case-by-case basis what exactly could have been a gross breach of the duty of care. An example of a gross violation of the duty of care would be passing on credit card details including the “TAN” to third parties, as the expert explains. “There have already been one or two court decisions in this regard in connection with fraudulent calls from alleged bank employees.”
In any case, remain objective
Be sure to give an objective reason for your complaint (e.g. “There was no delivery of goods.” or “Fake or incorrect goods were delivered.”), is the expert’s advice. And complain to the credit card company as soon as possible after the problem occurs – at the latest within three to four months after payment. Many financial institutions also offer special forms online for this purpose. There you will also find further information about what evidence customers must provide so that a chargeback procedure can be initiated. Last but not least, a tip: Check your credit card statements regularly so that you can make a complaint as quickly as possible if necessary!
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