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Chandelier chargeback

The story

While on holiday overseas James used his credit card to buy a chandelier.  When the chandelier was not delivered within a couple of weeks, as James had expected, James asked his credit card company to cancel the transaction.  The credit card company followed James’ instruction and ‘charged back’ the transaction. 


The chandelier arrived in New Zealand about a month later, but as James believed he had cancelled the transaction he did not collect it from NZ Customs and the chandelier was abandoned to the Crown.


In the meantime the chandelier seller confirmed to the credit card company that James had purchased the chandelier and that the chandelier had been delivered to New Zealand.  The credit card company wrote to James advising the chargeback transaction had been reversed, and his credit card re-debited. 


James tried, unsuccessfully, to contact the credit card company by telephone and by letter. James did not know he could refer his complaint to FSCL.


When the credit card company did not respond James referred the complaint to the Disputes Tribunal.  The Disputes Tribunal referee issued a decision dismissing James’ claim on the grounds the card’s terms and conditions allowed the credit card company to reverse the transaction and suggested James refer his complaint to us.



James complained to us both about chargeback transaction, and also about the way the credit card company handled his complaint.


FSCL’s review

We explained to James that our terms of reference do not allow us to consider a complaint that has already been decided by the Disputes Tribunal.  We were therefore unable to look at the complaint about the chargeback transaction.


However we were concerned that the credit card company did not appear to have formally considered the complaint through its internal complaints process and had not referred James to us.  As a result James believed his only option was the Disputes Tribunal, where he incurred a $90 filing fee.



The credit card company accepted our concerns and agreed to reimburse James’ the $90 Dispute Tribunal filing fee.  James accepted we were unable to take his complaint any further and considered the matter resolved.