In some cases you might be able to get a refund or charges unfairly levied against you by credit card companies, even charges dating back years. This is especially true if you are having financial difficulty.
How to get a refund for credit card charges:
Back in 2012 the Office of fair trading said the fees being charged by credit card providers for people who owed money on their credit cards, had late payments or went over their credit limits were to high. Thus led to most companies reducing their fees to around £12.
The previous charges were typically above £30 and in some instances as much as £50. These charges contributed in people getting into further debt as their debts were compounding not only on money they owed but exuberantly high charges.
If you had a credit card before these changes came into effect or around that time and you were charged credit card fees you can claim the difference between what you were charged and the £12 being charged today. You will need your credit card records for this and unfortunately data processors such as credit card companies are not required by law to keep data which is more than 6 years old.
Steps to get a credit card refund for charges
1)Contact your credit card provider
Contact your credit card provider to see if they have your records dating back to the time period in which the fees were charged.
Check your online accounts if you still have the card, you might be able to look back and spot the transactions.
If this fails you can then recontact your credit card provider asking them to provide you will all the charges it has made on your account. Avoid asking for your credit card statements as these might require you to pay a fee per statement
If your credit card provider refuses to produce this you can make a subject access request which requires your credit card provider to provide these details and all information it holds on you within one month. In some cases they may charge a fee up to £10 for this.
If your credit card provider does not reply within the 30 days then you can complain to the data commissioner about this.
2) Complain to your credit card provider.
Once you have a complete list of all the charges your credit card provider charged you which were over £12. You should make a detailed list of the date and the amount.
You should now write a letter of complaint to your credit card provider informing them of
The difficulty the charges cost you at the time
How the charges aided to put you in more debt
The stress and anxiety you suffered at the time
The financial difficulties you were in at the time.
Why you think the charges were too high ( be sure to highlight the OFT ruling) and ask for a refund.
3) Wait for the credit card providers response
Your credit card provider might respond to you informing you that you are not due any refund and they might make this sound very intimidating with a bunch of legal jargon. Do not let this intimidate you but rather encourage you.
In other cases they will acknowledge your hardship and offer you a refund, this might not be exactly what you are after but it is a good sign that they are at least willing to come to the table rather than being very standoff.
Regardless of the response, you should consider if it is fair and then write back to them accepting it or stating what you think will be a fair outcome.
If the credit card provider continues to insist you are not due a refund or doesn't respond to your messages then you can report them to the financial ombudsman stating the same case you made to the credit card provider.
You can find useful templates for this on the money saving experts website.
The financial ombudsman is a free service set up by parliament to handle consumer disputes with financial service businesses.
You can get free advice for this by going into your local citizens advice bureau. You will not need to pay any firm to reclaim this money and you should beware of firms who offer to claim this money back for an upfront fee or a cut of the proceeds.
This is easy work and work you can do with less than 1hr of your time and a few emails. It is certainly not worth the hundreds of pounds these firms charge.
Avoid credit card charges
Ensuring you don't get in this situation again will really help your financial life. Most credit card companies now apps which you can download and log into to monitor your spending.
They also allow you to set direct debits from your bank to clear your balance in full a few days before your credit card payment is due.
These are just the basics, to avoid getting into credit card debt you should have an all rounded financial life. This means saving, budgeting and investing if possible.
Credit card charges aren't the only things being refunded. You might have been mis sold PPI and you should check if you are due a refund as they could run into the thousands and the deadline for refunds is soon.