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In case of online fraud or receiving products purchased online that do not match the description, how to recover the money already paid?

In case of online fraud or receiving products purchased online that do not match the description, how to recover the money already paid?
Due to the pandemic and recent lockdowns, online shopping has rapidly become an essential part of our daily life. However, with the development of technology and the increasing popularity of online shopping, various online frauds have also flourished, and many different scams are becoming increasingly difficult to guard against. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in April 2021 alone, $14,629,022.00 was lost due to fraud. So is it possible to recover the money paid in the event of fraud or credit card theft? How to deal with products brought online that do not match the description? This week we will discuss what can you do when you encounter similar situations.
When you can request a chargeback from your bank?
Chargeback is a banking term that has the meaning of refund, or recovery, it reverses a transaction made on a Debit Card or Credit Card. In Australia, there are many reasons for consumers to request a refund. When you have purchased a product or service using a Debit or Credit Card, some of the more common reasons for claiming a chargeback are:

  1. the product or service received does not match the description;
  2. the product or service was simply not received within the agreed time frame;
  3. duplicate payments or fraud;
  4. transactions not authorised by the cardholder;
  5. incorrect transaction information;
  6. the business ceases to operate and does not provide the purchased product or service.

Chargeback has a time limit, usually ranging from 45 to 120 days from the date of the transaction. You will need to check with your bank for the relevant time limit. Banks may refuse a chargeback request that exceeds the corresponding time limits.

As a consumer, we strongly recommend that you keep all forms, emails, documents, or web pages that you fill out, read, or receive at the time of purchase. You will most likely need to provide these documents to the bank to support your chargeback request.

However, it should be noted that you may not be able to apply for chargeback from the bank under the following circumstances:

  1. Payment in cash, cheque or BPAY, etc;
  2. Can be compensated by insurance or other means;
  3. Time limit exceeded.

For example 
If you received the product which you bought online but it does not match the description or it simply does not function. Try to talk to and negotiate with the vendor and ask for a refund first. If the vendor does not cooperate and the online shopping platform does not help you to resolve the dispute, you may apply for a refund by applying to the bank for a chargeback. The bank will then review your application to see if it meets all the requirements for a chargeback. Generally, the bank will first confirm that the transaction was authorised by the cardholder and confirm whether you have already contacted the vendor and received some forms of compensation or replacement. Also, the buyer will need to return the goods received to the vendor before the bank will grant a chargeback.Tips

If the bank rejects your chargeback request, you have the right to challenge the decision. The AFCA will consider whether your bank has exercised due diligence in processing your application and following up on your chargeback request. The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) will confirm whether you have a valid reason to request a chargeback and review the vendor’s response. If your chargeback request is reasonable and the bank failed to meet its obligations, the AFCA may require the bank to pay you the amount of the refund you should have received as compensation.

What to do if you encounter fraud?
As mentioned earlier, according to the ACCC, the amount lost to fraud in April 2021 alone was $14,629,022.
When you shop online or receive an unknown call, please do not give the other party any personal or financial information before confirming the other party’s identity. Secondly, please do not click on the link in the email or SMS sent to you by any stranger. Fraudsters may send you email, text message, or telephone impersonating staff member of the court, lawyer, Australian Taxation Office (ATO), or other government departments. If you cannot confirm its authenticity, please call the relevant departments for verification. If you encounter a fraudulent call or email you can report the situation by contacting the relevant authority:

  1. Bank-related fraud includes fraud relating to credit cards, loans, electronic fund transfers, cheques, ATMs, and mortgages. You can report this type of fraud to your bank and the Australian Cyber Crime Security Centre.
  2. Tax-related fraud, you can report it by calling the Tax Office on 1800 008 540 or emailing to [email protected]
  3. Superannuation fraud can be reported to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
  4. Telecommunication fraud can be reported to the relevant service provider.
  5. Internet auction fraud and overseas advanced fee fraud can be reported to the Australian Cyber Crime Security Centre.
  6. For all other frauds, you can also report them directly to your local police station.

Conclusion

New types of scams and fraud emerge every day, and it is increasingly difficult to protect your personal information online. Although chargeback provides some protection, if the money has been transferred overseas or has been transferred directly by the other party, the chances of getting the money back will be very slim. While shopping online, you need to be careful to protect your privacy and sensitive information to prevent potential identity and credit card theft. If you have encountered online fraud or online shopping disputes, you are welcome to consult our experienced lawyers, and we will do our best to protect your rights.