Cardholders give a little ground

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The Independent Online
YOU WIN some, you lose some. Such is the verdict on last week's Office of Fair Trading report on the liability of credit card companies to compensate you for faulty goods and services.

Yes, the companies have agreed to consider claims for goods and services bought abroad until the end of next year and review the arrangements after that.

Yes, you will still be able to claim against the company and the supplier for breach of contract and misrepresentation.

But no, the company will not in future have to pay more than the value of the credit involved, at home or abroad, with a minimum of pounds 100 and a proposed maximum of pounds 25,000, which is the same as the limit for consumer credit agreements.

So, for example, if you buy an electrical appliance, paying the deposit with a credit card and the balance in cash, you can claim only the credit part from the card company. The rest of the price and any compensation for injury or damage would come from the retailer.

Likewise, many goods that cause problems, such as kettles and irons, would still be covered only by the retailer, because they cost less than pounds 100.

The OFT, headed by Sir Bryan Carsberg, has also given card companies the right to reclaim payments to consumers from insurance companies or travel agency bonding schemes. In the past only cardholders have been able to make these claims, and in practice a cardholder may have claimed the cost of a lost holiday, for example, from a credit card company, which was unable to obtain compensation.