Getting your money back: how to stop direct debits and reverse charges
This guidance note tells you…
This guidance note tells you what you can do to stop a direct debit. It also tells you how you can get a refund by reversing a charge from your financial institution if you paid with a credit card (this includes debit cards where you pay using a “credit” function).
Even if we find you are entitled to a refund, you may not get your money back until after we close our case. This is because we must follow our complaint handling procedures, which give your provider the opportunity to respond to your complaint. The information in this guidance note explains how you may be able to get your money back faster.
Telecommunications providers have an obligation to charge you accurately.
If you believe your provider has charged you too much, or taken money from your account without your permission, you can ask the provider for your money back. You can also ask a provider to stop direct debits from your bank account or credit card.
How to stop a direct debit
Before you cancel a direct debit, you should check your contract with your telecommunications provider. Some providers will not provide services to you unless you give authority for payment by direct debit.
To cancel a direct debit from a bank account or credit card, write to your provider saying you withdraw your direct debit authorisation. Keep a copy of the email or letter, as you may need to show this to us or your provider if you make a complaint.
You can also ask your financial institution to stop direct debits from your bank account. You can’t ask your financial institution to cancel a direct debit from a credit card – you can only do this directly with your telecommunications provider.
How to ask for a payment reversal
If a provider takes a payment from your account without your authority, you can ask your financial institution to reverse the payment.
If a provider takes a payment from your credit card without your authority, you can ask your financial institution to reverse the payment. This is called a chargeback.
You should act quickly. Financial institutions will have a time limit within which you have to make a chargeback request.
Your financial institution should have a list on its website of reasons why it will consider a chargeback request. These may include:
- What you purchased was defective, or not as described
- Goods or services were not provided as agreed
- The purchase was cancelled
- A recurring debit was cancelled, but the provider kept taking money
- The wrong amount was taken
- Duplicate transactions
- The bill was already paid by another method
- You did not authorise the transaction
- A credit or refund was promised, but not provided.
You may have to fill out a form, or provide evidence (for example, that you cancelled a contract or returned a device).
Even if your provider has gone out of business (e.g. is in liquidation or administration), you may be able to ask for a chargeback.
If our office is already handling your complaint
If we are handling your complaint, and you are disputing direct debit charges, you should tell us if the charges continue. We can tell your provider to stop asking you to pay those charges while we are working to resolve your complaint.
Please tell us if you tell your financial institution to stop a direct debit or give you a refund. You should also tell us whether the debits stopped, and whether you got your money back.