I feel badly let down by John Lewis Financial Services as it has declined my £1,500 credit card claim.
Back in March 2020, I visited a local travel agent and used my card to pay a deposit on a coach holiday. A week later I paid the remaining balance, again using the card. In total I spent £1,496.
Due to the pandemic, the trip was cancelled by the tour operator. However, after initially telling us the holiday would be rescheduled in 2021, it later emerged that the travel agent had not passed on our money to the coach tour operator, and therefore we had no booking.
The agent’s office has been closed and boarded up since March, and all of my phone and email attempts to make contact have come to nothing. It appears to have ceased trading.
In July, I contacted John Lewis to explain the position and I was advised to submit a dispute form, which I managed to do despite it asking very complicated questions.
At John Lewis’s request, I have filled in two more forms and sent all the information regarding the case, with copies of the bookings, photos of the boarded-up agent’s office and so on.
Now, six months on, I have been sent a letter turning down our claim, and I am furious. The reason I paid by credit card was to provide protection against just this sort of thing.
Lots of readers have been reporting similar experiences after trying to get their credit card holder to resolve travel booking-related problems since the pandemic began. It’s fair to say that the credit card industry has not covered itself in glory in this regard.
If the agent has gone out of business without passing on your money to the tour operator, this is clear grounds for the card provider to step in. Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the credit card company is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer or trader.
This means it is just as responsible for the goods or service supplied – or not supplied, as in your case. Goods or services must have cost more than £100 and not more than £30,000.
We asked John Lewis to take a second look at your case and it has agreed to carry out a chargeback, returning all of your money. It blamed the delay on a misunderstanding as to the reason for your claim.
“After discussing the matter further, and establishing that the basis on which BS is making a claim has changed, we have determined there is a case for a chargeback,” it says.
This shows why you should always use a credit card when paying for pricey items or services that will be delivered in the future.
You are just pleased to have the money back in your account, and that the endless form-filling can cease.
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