Chargeback of credit card payments

The Network of the European Consumer Centres (ECC-Net) published a report on the topic of chargeback, which means a refund of credit card payments.


The report addresses the following points:

  • National legislations in Europe
  • In which cases do consumers get a chargeback?
  • Procedures of complaints
  • Who is in charge – traders, banks, credit card issuer?
  • To whom can consumers turn for help – national and international?

Rights and duties of European consumers


The national legislations differ in the European countries, but some regulations apply uniformely to all EU Member States. Consumers have the right to get chargeback, if:

  • it’s a matter of non-authorized payment, but consumers are obliged to take all reasonable steps to keep personalized security features safe. Otherwise they loose their claim to chargeback due to “gross negligence”.
  • they have purchased goods with a credit card and the trader does not respect their consumer rights.
  • if the trader has gone bankrupt.

Beside the national legislations of each Member State, intern operating rules of the banks or credit card issuers may turn to account. Various insitutions help to settle a dispute out-of-court.


Other regulations


National legislations often apply only for credit cards, not for debit cards. In many countries, banks and credit card issuers have their own, intern regulations which apply for both card types and also cover cases national laws don’t. Consumers should therefore turn to their bank for help. Due to a common deadline of three months it is advisable to address them shortly after a problem occurred. Good to know: VISA and Mastercard offer chargeback in cases of non-delivery of already payed goods or lack of conformity.


The report of the ECC-Net also states that most of the Member States established so called Alternative Dispute Resolution/mediation bodies that may handle disputes out-of-court. When the dispute is cross-border, consumers can turn to FIN-NET, the Financial Dispute Resolution Network of the European Commission.


Tips for the consumers

  • Send a written complaint to the trader first to try to solve the case.
  • If the trader does not reply/is bankrupt/rejects the claim, send a written complaint to the credit card issuer/bank.
  • If the credit card issuer/bank rejects the claim, send the case to the relevant ADR/mediators.
  • In these entire steps act swiftly as deadline may apply


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