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ombudsman news

issue 43

February 2005

ask ombudsman news

treatment of section 75 claims

At the Citizens Advice Bureau where I work, we sometimes advise clients who have difficulties after purchasing goods and services from traders based outside the UK. We always check whether the clients used a UK credit card and, if so, whether section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act might assist them. As you will be aware, this legislation says that credit card providers are jointly liable with suppliers if a consumer has a valid claim for misrepresentation and/or breach of contract where the cash price of an item is over £100 and not more than £30,000.

We understand that the Office of Fair Trading is going to appeal against the High Court ruling – made in November 2004 – that the consumer protection given by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 did not generally apply to overseas transactions.

What approach is the Financial Ombudsman Service taking in cases involving section 75 claims for overseas transactions that you deal with in the period between November court decision and the later appeal-

Whether section 75 applies to transactions made while abroad has long been a matter of dispute.

Many people now use their credit cards – rather than travellers cheques or cash – to pay for goods and services while they are abroad. As you say, the recent High Court ruling decided that section 75 does not apply generally to transactions abroad. The Office of Fair Trading then announced that it would appeal against this decision.

Many card issuers voluntarily give their customers protection on overseas transactions that is equivalent to that provided by section 75, up to the amount of the credit provided to the customer. The Financial Ombudsman Service will take this good banking practice into account when deciding what is fair in any particular case.

suitably qualified- a financial adviser writes ...

I've recently seen a letter in the trade press querying the qualifications and experience of your case-handling staff. Exactly what kind of background do these staff have-

Our 500-plus team of adjudicators come from a wide range of backgrounds – from IFAs, trading standards officers and compliance officers to accountants, lawyers and stockbrokers. The qualifications of our staff reflect their diverse backgrounds and meet the needs of the particular type of work we have recruited them for. This breadth of experience and qualifications can also be found in our panel of ombudsmen, whose biographical details you can see on our website.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 43 [PDF format]

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

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