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If someone has paid for a product or service with a card and has not received the item for which he or she has paid, or if the good or service does not conform with the terms of the offer, they may use the chargeback procedure.

At the cardholder's request, the bank as its issuer is required to return the funds to the customer's account. We can take advantage of such a complaint e.g. when we bought the goods online and did not receive it, or when the carrier canceled the flight we paid for.

This procedure may apply to persons who have purchased a flight or a holiday trip which has been canceled due to the pandemic.

According to Visa, the first step for the customer is to contact the seller to clarify the problem. If the customer has not received a refund, they can contact the bank that issued the card to find out what other options are available for resolving this situation.

Long payment delays await

When the customer voluntarily resigns from the service that was to be provided to him (e.g. wants to return an airline ticket or cancel a hotel reservation), it is not possible to apply for a repayment, unless the contract with the company provides otherwise. In many cases, canceling our reservations before a certain date is cost-free or results in a loss of only a certain fraction of the total amount.

The situation is different when the organizer withdraws from the contract, e.g. the airline cancels its plane connections, the hotel temporarily closes or a large event is canceled. As Mastercard explains, in such a situation the consumer has the full right to complain directly with the service provider or use the cancellation conditions offered by him (e.g. receiving a voucher for use at a later date).

If the complaint is not accepted, you can still use the chargeback procedure - provided that the service / product has been purchased using a payment card. Once you have exhausted all complaint procedures provided by the seller, you can apply for a refund from your bank (or other company that issued the card).

However, it turns out that in practice it is not so simple, and if someone hopes that thanks to a chargeback he will quickly regain money invested in a vacation that will not take place, he will be disappointed. Banks (card issuers) and acquirers as well as the vendors cooperating with them should comply with the provisions of local law, and this has consequences for deadlines which specify when the chargeback procedure can be initiated. In the event that a tourist event has been canceled due to an epidemic, the provisions of the Act on special solutions related to the prevention, prevention and eradication of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them shall apply first.

According to the eService press office, the provisions of this Act have an impact on the possibility of using a chargeback complaint. Namely, the provisions state that the withdrawal from the package travel contract by the traveler or its termination by the tour operator, when withdrawal or termination of the contract is directly related to the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus epidemic, is legally effective only after 180 days from the day of notification by the traveler of withdrawal or notification of termination by the tour operator. From this, eService concludes that it is premature to start the chargeback proceedings regarding tourist events now.

- Termination or withdrawal from the contract for participation in a tourist event, which is directly related to the epidemic, is effective by law only after 180 days from the moment of withdrawal from the contract or its termination by the organizer. As a result, the formal basis for starting the chargeback procedure will come to being only after the deadline specified in the Act has elapsed - explains eService.

In the event of insolvency of a travel agency, the chargeback procedure can only be used when the refund of all or part of the money is not made by the insurer or through the marshal's office under the Tourist Guarantee Fund.

How to use the procedure?

Regardless of the reason the customer wants to use the chargeback, the first step before starting the procedure is to contact the seller to clarify the problem. If the seller does not answer the customer's questions, wrongly rejects the complaint or when both parties are unable to reach an agreement despite their effort, the customer may contact the bank that issued his card with a request to start the chargeback procedure.

To do this, he will have to demonstrate to the bank that he has previously attempted to clarify the situation with the seller. The bank deals with the matter on behalf of the client, so that he can recover the money. The amount requested by the customer may not exceed the original value of the transaction. If a partial refund has already been made, the chargeback will cover the remaining amount of the transaction.

If the decision is positive, the bank has 120 days from the date of the transaction to return the money to its client (with a few exceptions when the deadline is longer). During this time, the bank sends a chargeback notification to the seller, who usually has 45 days to respond. The chargeback procedure may be slightly different for each card issuer, so ask your bank for details.

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