Roger placed $8,500 into his credit card account so he could buy international flights using the card. However, that pushed him over his $2,000 credit limit. The credit card company does not normally allow that, but in this case, it agreed to a temporary increase so that Roger could pay for his flights. Two months later, Roger cancelled his credit card.
Later, due to airline changes, Roger could no longer take the international flights he had bought. The airline refunded the cost of the flights onto Roger’s (now cancelled) credit card. Roger rang the credit card company and asked for the refund to be transferred to his bank account, so that he could buy new flights. The company told him that the standard timeframe for this was 7-10 working days.
Over the next couple of weeks, Roger made more telephone calls to the company. He was worried that flights might increase in price while he waited for his refund. During those calls, the company gave Roger several different (incorrect) timeframes for the refund. The refund eventually appeared in Roger’s bank account, on the 11th working day.
Roger complained to FSCL. He considered that the company’s delay may have cost him money. He said the cost of replacement flights had increased since he first asked for a refund.
We reviewed Roger’s complaint. First, we noted that 7-10 working days is not an unreasonable timeframe for a credit card company to transfer money from a credit card to a bank account. Next, we weighed the relevant facts. On the one hand, Roger had suffered some inconvenience from the refund being one working day after the 7-10 days, and from the varying responses from the company. On the other hand, the company had allowed Roger to pay for the original flights by temporarily increasing his credit limit (and it was Roger’s decision to cancel those flights).
We noted that there was no evidence that the cost of flights had increased between the 10th and 11th working days. Additionally, the company had credited Roger with a foreign currency fee. There was no evidence of financial loss.
We also formed the preliminary view that, although the company had caused Roger some inconvenience, it was within the range of the minor inconveniences we all encounter from time to time, and did not warrant compensation.
We also considered that it would be helpful for the company to include the 7-10 working days timeframe on its website and in its terms and conditions.
Neither Roger nor the credit card company provided any further information that persuaded us to change our preliminary view. We issued a formal recommendation and closed our file.
Insights for consumers
Whether a consumer should receive compensation for inconvenience has to be assessed in the round, taking into account all the circumstances of the case. In some cases, the inconvenience is within the parameters of the inconveniences of everyday life, and does not warrant compensation.