better banking

Case - 46468

2016 - 2017


Credit card

Mrs S was holidaying in America.  Two weeks into her five-week holiday her credit cards stopped working.  Mrs S called her bank and was told her cards were not working because they had reached their limits.

This surprised Mrs S as she’d loaded extra money on her cards to cover her trip.  Several transactions totaling about USD12,000 had been charged to her cards by two New York electronics shops at the start of her trip. 

Mrs S remembered they were next door to each other.  She had gone into the first shop and bought a camera.  She then went next door and bought camera and computer accessories.  She remembered using her cards in both shops, but maintained the cost of the purchases wasn’t more than about USD1,000.  However, she wasn’t given receipts.

Mrs S returned to the shops to query what had happened.  Both produced her EFTPOS purchase slips showing the amounts charged to her card.  The transaction in the first shop had been authorised with her signature and two transactions in the second shop were processed using her PIN.  Both stores produced invoice slips, listing purchase items and the amounts for each which corresponded to what was charged to her cards.  The invoices had been signed by Mrs S.

Mrs S acknowledged signing the invoice slips which she’d been told would be posted to her New Zealand address.  However, she said there were no prices noted when she signed them.  She disputed authorising transactions for the amounts showing on the EFTPOS slips.    

It was clear from Mrs S’s recollection that she hadn’t agreed to pay USD12,000 for what she’d purchased.  However, she had provided her cards to the stores and had some recollection of using her PIN, and possibly signing for a transaction.  

We believed she was the victim of a scam and was conned into authorising transactions for different amounts to what she had agreed to.  However, under her card’s terms and conditions she was liable for transactions authorised using her chip card and PIN (unless the card had been reported lost or stolen).  She was also liable for transactions she had signed for and, after seeking expert handwriting analysis we couldn’t conclude the signature wasn’t hers.  This meant that while she had been the victim of a scam, Mrs S was still liable for the transactions.  We considered whether Mrs S could have charged transactions back to the stores, but found for a variety of reasons there were no chargeback rights available to her.

Mrs S was understandably disappointed.  She had let the bank know she was travelling overseas and believed she would be protected using her credit cards.  However, the loss she suffered was a result of the shops, not the bank.  However, the bank offered a low debt repayment interest rate and to wipe some account fees, which Mrs S accepted.

See our Quick Guide to Credit and debit card transaction chargebacks for more information about the chargeback process.