Getting tricked into parting with your hard earned cash by scammers can be extremely frustrating and upsetting. You can't always get your money back, so the best form of defence is prevention. For some top tips on spotting potential scammers, please refer to our article 'We Won't Get Fooled Again – 10 tips for spotting scams', - remember; forewarned is forearmed!
If you've been unfortunate enough to get caught out already by a scam, there may be a few things you can do to get your money back, read on to find out more...
'Section 75' (Consumer Credit Act)
Section 75 gives consumers a certain level of protection for any goods bought with a credit card. It basically makes the credit card companies equally liable for the sales contract being fulfilled when you make a purchase. In practice this means that you can claim for a refund from the card company if the purchase does not fulfil the basic requirements as set out in the Sales of Goods Act, and Consumer Rights Act.
Whether you can make a claim after being scammed or not, depends on the type of scam you're subject to. For example you may have purchased something online that never arrived, and the merchant is now non-contactable – in such instances you'd be able to utilise Section 75 in order to get a refund. However, to qualify the transaction has to be between £100 - £30,000.
For more in-depth information see our guide 'Faulty Goods & Your Right To Claim – Section 75'
For any transactions below £100, you may be able to claim a refund using the 'chargeback' scheme. Unlike section 75, chargeback isn't enshrined in law, but it is part of the standard 'Scheme Rules', which all major banks subscribe to.
An example similar to the one above would also suit a claim via chargeback, assuming that the money paid out is under the £100 threshold. Unlike Section 75, chargeback covers both credit and debit card transactions, making a useful tool for credit card users as it 'plugs' the small gap that Section 75 leaves.
For more detailed information on chargeback refer to our article 'Getting Refunded For Shoddy Goods via' Chargeback'
The two methods above only really cover you in the event that you've been tricked into buying something, or when something isn't to standard. If you've found suspicious or unauthorised transactions on your account, then you need to contact your bank to make a claim.
Under the Payment Services Regulations 2009, as well as the Banking Conduct of Business rules, financial institutions are obligated to provide refunds in such circumstances. It may be that you have a completely unauthorised transaction on the account, or that you've made a payment and the merchant has overcharged you; in either situation you'll be due a refund from the bank.
If you've been fooled outright and handed over cash via some form of money transfer service, there's very little you can do to get your money back. If you're authorising the transfer from your bank yourself, then clearly you can't claim that it was stolen from you. PayPal, Western Union and other such services all have their own information on avoiding scammers, so be sure to read through their FAQs before doing anything that might be putting yourself at risk.