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Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Monday, 14 April 2008 17:20 UK

Visa debit card refunds

Viewer Hirdesh Rohatgi
Hirdesh Rohatgi has now received a full refund from his bank

Customers are often aware that making a payment with a credit card means they are protected by the Consumer Credit Act if their goods or services fail them.

However, many people do not realise that there is a similar system to protect them when using some debit cards.

It is a process called chargeback and it applies to bank account cards operated by Visa.

Customers can ask for a Visa chargeback from their bank if the goods they receive are damaged, do not arrive, or if they do not get the service paid for.

Not easy

Unlike the similar credit cards scheme, there is no minimum or maximum limit on a claim but it must be lodged within 120 days of the transaction.

This is exactly what viewers Hirdesh Rohatgi and Amanda Seal tried to do but they found the process is not always easy to execute.

In the case of Hirdesh, he was one of 4,000 customers who had an outstanding order with bed company Sleep Depot when it went into administration.

"I bought a bed early January and paid with my Citibank Visa debit card. The total amount came to 1,030. We were supposed to have it delivered on 4th April but on the 1st of April I was told by the store manager that the company has gone into bankruptcy and they will not be making any more deliveries," Hirdesh told the programme.

Not well known

Amanda paid over 1,500 fifteen for two flights to Las Vegas using her Halifax debit card.

I was told by the store manager that the company has gone into bankruptcy and they will not be making any more deliveries
Hirdesh Rohatgi

She was meant to be travelling this month with the American airline Maxjet but back in December they ceased trading and filed for bankruptcy protection.

Both Hirdesh and Amanda had found out about chargeback on Working Lunch and contacted their banks to ask for this process to be put into action.

But both viewers discovered that despite this type of protection being a legitimate process within the banking system, it is not necessarily well known within call centres.

Money back

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) said in a statement that: "Banks make every effort to keep their staff informed but unfortunately sometimes people get things wrong".

Hirdesh's bank Citigroup have apologised to him and said he is entitled to make a claim.

Notes picture
Chargeback is available to bank customers with Visa debit cards

They also say they will make sure their customer service team are fully aware of the scheme.

The Halifax have also apologised to Amanda and admitted her initial claim was dealt with incorrectly.

She has received her money back - plus a goodwill gesture of 25.

So if you think you're entitled to pursue a chargeback on your Visa card do call your bank. And if the first person on the phone does not know about the scheme, ask to speak to a supervisor.

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