OFT writes to UK consumers advising them of their chargeback rights in relation to goods purchased online from a US company.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has been assisting the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as part of the FTC's ongoing investigation into a US company that the FTC alleges deceptively sold electronics to UK consumers, including via the use of Web sites ending in ".uk". More information on the FTC's investigation can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0923081/index.shtm
The OFT has now written to UK consumers that complained to the OFT or the FTC to advise them of their chargeback rights in relation to goods purchased via debit and also credit cards from websites operated by this US company. A chargeback allows a payment transaction to be reversed in cases of goods not arriving, arriving damaged, arriving not as described, or where the merchant has ceased trading before providing the goods or services paid for. For these scenarios, there is a 120 calendar day time limit on claims under the chargeback rules. When disputing a transaction, it is necessary to contact the bank that issued the card who will advise if a chargeback is available.
It has come to the OFT's attention that some UK consumers who purchased items from websites operated by this US company unsuccessfully attempted to raise a chargeback request with their banks. It is possible that, in some cases, these chargeback requests could have been progressed, and consumers would have received a refund.
The OFT has engaged with a number of UK companies who provide commercial services relevant to the payment transactions in this case. The letter that the OFT has now sent to consumers provides information on consumers' chargeback rights and the procedure that certain consumers can follow if they wish their chargeback request to be considered afresh.
Please note that if you ever receive a communication that purports to be from the OFT, but which you find suspicious, please forward it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will check the authenticity of the correspondence and get back to you.
If you are concerned about the authenticity of a phone call from a person claiming to represent the OFT, confirm the name of the caller and tell them you will call them back. Then please dial our switchboard on 020 7211 8000 and ask to be put through to the named individual. We will then be able to confirm whether the name you have is an OFT employee.
OFT Contact: Patricia Aloysius (Patricia.Aloysius@oft.gsi.gov.uk, 020 7211 8000)
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