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Reclaiming unfair credit card charges

If you’ve been charged for late or missed credit card payments, or for going over your credit card limit, you might be able to claim some money back.

Your right to reclaim

You might be able to reclaim bank or card provider charges if the fees are too high or you’ve been charged by mistake.

You might be able to claim back some or all the difference between what you were charged and £12.

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How to reclaim

1. Work out how much you’ve been charged

If you have online banking you might be able to look back over your statements for years to see what you’ve been charged.

If the information is incomplete or you can’t get it this way, write to the card provider asking for a list of all the charges taken from your account in the last six years or longer if available.

If they refuse, write again and explain the provider is obliged to provide the information under the Data Protection Act.

It’s important not to ask for credit card statements, as you could be charged a lot more for the information. Instead, ask for details of every charge.

Under the terms of the Data Protection Act, card providers have 40 days to reply. If your card provider doesn’t reply on time, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.

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2. Complain to your card provider

When you have a list of the charges, add them up and think about whether you were having financial difficulties at the time. If so, you might be entitled to make a claim for this amount, plus an annual interest rate of 8%.

If you were, write a complaint letter to your card provider explaining:

  • how much you’re claiming for
  • what difficulties you were having
  • how the charges contributed to your difficulties
  • how it affected you – the stress and anxiety it caused
  • why you think the charges were too high in the circumstances.

See later in this guide for a link to letter templates you can use to help you.

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3. Consider the card provider’s response

If your provider makes an offer, decide whether you think it’s fair based on how much you feel the charges contributed to your difficulties and distress.

When you know how you want to respond, write back either accepting their offer or stating what you think would be a fair refund under the circumstances.

If they write back with further questions, make sure you answer them as completely and honestly as possible and wait for the next response.

If they reject your claim outright – either the first time around or after you reply to them with more information or a suggested resolution – you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Don’t be put off by any response suggesting you’re not entitled to a refund and you should give up – no matter how official the language might sound.

If you need help drafting your letters, use one of the templates provided below as a starting point.

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Complaining to the Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service will consider your case. If they believe you’ve been treated unfairly, they’ll ask the credit card provider to refund you in full or in part.

There’s no charge for using this service. 

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Beware of companies that say they want to help you

Avoid using companies saying they can help you reclaim unfair credit card charges.

They’re no more likely to be able to win compensation for you than if you claim yourself.

These companies charge high fees for writing a few letters you can easily do yourself.

Sometimes they take 25% or 30% of the charges you recover, which would be £250 to £300 of a £1,000 claim.

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Or you can talk to your nearest Citizens Advice. Find your nearest branch:

How to avoid credit card charges

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You can pay as much as you like by Direct Debit as long as it’s at least the minimum payment.

If you’ve been charged for the first time by a credit card company, your card provider will often let you off if you phone up and explain you made a one-off slip, and ask for the charge to be cancelled.

If you’ve missed any payments on your cards, bills or loans, and you’re struggling to make ends meet, it’s important to get debt advice as soon as possible.

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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