Archived — Credit Card Charge-Backs - An Update

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Background

In May 2001 Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for consumer affairs endorsed an Internet Sales Contract Harmonization Template. This template contained provisions for credit card charge-backs along with provisions covering contract information, cancellation rights, and information provision. In endorsing the Template, Ministers directed the Consumer Measure Committee (CMC) to examine options for extending charge-back rights to other forms of commerce.

As a result, the CMC consulted with the public in February 2002 regarding how to implement the charge-back remedy in consumer protection law. Ministers next met in January 16, 2004, and discussed the results from the consultations. Ministers endorsed a proposal to ensure that, in future, the credit card charge-back provisions applicable to Internet sales will also be applied to other forms of distance sales 1. Ministers asked officials to further consult with the credit card industry to determine the most effective way to achieve this objective.

Status

CMC is pursuing its work and consultations to identify what measures organisations in the credit card industry are taking to both implement more direct cardholder commitments regarding charge-back regimes and ensure that member card issuers successfully meet the objective of consumer protection in distance sales through credit card charge-backs.

For example, we have noted that, on June 11, 2004, Visa Canada announced the implementation of a voluntary charge-back regime in a form making commitments to card holders. Through its "E-Promise" initiative 2 , Visa Canada is providing a partial response to the provisions of the Internet Sales Contract Harmonization Template.

For such existing initiatives, CMC is also monitoring compliance and implementation among credit card issuers. The CMC Charge-back Working Group will be reporting back to Ministers at their next meeting (expected to be in June 2005). The Working Group invites credit card industry members, and others, to submit information on: current charge-back regimes and any planned changes to them; how the regimes are implemented; and how card holders are informed about such regimes.

Please forward any further comments and information on this issue to:

David Clarke
Consumer Measures Committee
c/o Office of Consumer Affairs,
Industry Canada
235 Queen Street,
Ottawa ON K1A 0H5
Fax: (613) 952-6927
Email: clarke.david@ic.gc.ca

Footnotes

  1. 1 This includes, for example, mail order or telephone selling.
  2. 2 For more information, visit Visa Canada's web site.