What are disputed transactions?
Most bank transactions are completed successfully, but sometimes things go wrong, and you may dispute having made or authorised a transaction. If you can't settle the matter directly with your bank, we can take an independent look.
Generally, disputed transaction complaints fall into 2 categories:
- those involving fraud and scams, such as where a consumer is persuaded by a third party pretending to be their bank
- those where there's a dispute about the payment for some other reason
Below we talk about non-fraudulent types of disputed transactions. You can find out more about making a complaint about fraud or a scam on another page.
Types of complaint we see
We see a range of complaints about disputed transactions. For example, consumers contact us about complaints where:
- they tried to withdraw money from a cash machine but none came out – then the amount was debited to their account
- they put money into a paying-in machine but the deposit didn’t appear on their account, or the wrong amount was credited
- they gave their credit or debit card details to a supplier of goods and services (usually over the phone or online), which the supplier used in a way the customer didn’t expect or authorise
- they asked their card issuer to refund them (through "chargeback") for an incorrect card transaction, but the card issuer hadn't done it
We also see complaints from joint account holders, where one of them claims the bank or building society should have declined a transaction made by the other account holder.
What we look at
To help us consider a complaint fairly, we'll ask you to provide some information. We’ll make our decision about what happened using evidence from you, the bank and any relevant third parties. Depending on the kind of transaction being disputed, you may need to provide information about your previous use of your card or a cashpoint or paying-in machine.
In reaching a decision, we consider:
- the relevant law
- any regulations that applied at the time
- any industry codes of conduct in force at the time
- the terms and conditions of the account that the disputed transaction was made from
How to complain
The first thing you should do is explain to the business what's happened and why you're complaining. The quicker disputed transactions are noticed and queried, the greater the chance that they can be put right. We only look at complaints that a business has had a chance to look at first, unless both sides agree.
The business should look at the complaint within certain time limits and give you their final response, and within 8 weeks for most types of complaint.
If you’re not happy with their response, you can bring your complaint to us.
Find out more about how to make a complaint.
Putting things right
If we find you’ve been treated unfairly, we'll ask the business to put things right. This usually involves putting you back in the position you’d be in if things hadn’t gone wrong. It will depend on the nature and type of complaint but it might include, for example, asking a business to refund a disputed transaction and consider the impact it had on you and your account, including interest and charges.
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Detailed information for businesses
If you're a business looking for information to help you resolve complaints, detailed information about disputed transactions complaints can be found in the business section of our website.