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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Fee warning for online shoppers
Viewer Ronald Feltham
Ronald was did not know of the charge until getting his statement
Shoppers are being warned to always read the small print when buying goods online, after a viewer was hit by an unexpected credit card charge.

Ronald Feltham found a cash advance fee added onto his statement after using the e-money service Nochex.

The charge is usually levied when a credit card is used to withdraw money, for online gambling or to buy vouchers.

No warning was given at the time when he made the purchase that an extra charge could be incurred.

Nochex has now updated its website to alert customers that a "limited number of card issuers" may charge them a "chase advance fee" when using a credit card.

"I thought that I was making a normal online purchase. At no stage was there any mention that this, rather than be a normal purchase, would be treated as a cash advance," Ronald told Working Lunch.

These charges [cash advance fee] are charged by the customers' bank and are not levied by Nochex.
Nochex statement issued to Working Lunch

It wasn't until I got my credit card statement later that I saw there sure enough was the transaction amount via Nochex, which I had agreed to. But in addition, I had been a cash advance fee of 3 and interest, which then became rolling interest on my credit card," he added.

Nochex have pointed out in a statement that these charges are charged by the customers' bank and are not levied by them.

"A small number of card issuers and banks have started to charge their customers a cash advance fee when they use an e-money service," the e-money service said.

Different online payment companies can operate under different codes, and Nochex, it seems, has agreed with its bank to flag up credit card payments as cash advance transactions.

This is because when customers pay through the website, they are in fact crediting Nochex, which then pays off the retailers.

Still of part of the warning on the Nochex website
Nochex says it has put a "prominent alert" on its website

The process is essentially like buying and using gift vouchers.

Online shoppers making payments this way are also not covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which means that if goods fail to arrive or are faulty on delivery, the customer gets a refund.

The Act states that shoppers are entitled to a refund only when they have made a purchase directly from the retailer.

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