Hidden subscriptions: getting reimbursed thanks to chargeback is easy!

Have you found yourself subscribing to an unsolicited service? Do you notice unauthorized recurring payments? Good news, in certain cases, it is possible to get a refund (and for free)!

How do I cancel a payment and get a refund? This is what we explain to you in this article! (And by the way, first question: WHO will reimburse you? Depending on the case, it will be your bank or directly the brand of your bank card, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, etc.)

Why did I specify “in certain cases” at the beginning of this article? Well because there are still big debates around hidden subscriptions. Is this credit card fraud or a commercial dispute?

In an article on the website europe-consommateurs.eu, we can read this good news: “Since a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union on October 5, 2023, consumers are better protected in the event of a hidden subscription. If they have not been informed in a clear and understandable manner that their free subscription will subsequently become chargeable, they can, upon renewal, cancel it within 14 days. This period is even extended to one year if they have not been informed of their right of withdrawal.

Discussions are open, but the latest documentation from the French Ministry of the Economy leans more towards fraud, concerning these hidden subscriptions. We'll explain!

How to request a refund for a hidden subscription (chargeback or chargeback procedure)?

In France, the Ministry of the Economy indicates: “chargeback is possible in the event of an unauthorized payment, particularly in the case of a “hidden subscription”, that is to say when a professional uses your bank details when placing an order on a website (or to benefit from a reduction on it), to make you subscribe, without your knowledge, to a monthly subscription. »

Contact your banker or the company that issues your bank card (Mastercard, Visa or other), present the situation to them and provide the necessary proof. If you deal with your bank, ask them to contact your card issuer for a refund via a chargeback process. If you do not receive a satisfactory response or if there is a problem with your bank, contact your card issuer's customer service directly via their online form. You will then need to summarize your complaint and provide a “Reason Code”, a number corresponding to your complaint. In this article, we provide you with the “reason codes” to know in the case of hidden subscriptions (and therefore unknown and unwanted debits each month).

What is the reason for getting a hidden Visa subscription refunded?

To obtain a refund on a hidden subscription with Visa, the relevant reason code would be 13.2. This code is used for canceled recurring transactions where the cardholder has withdrawn authorization to charge the account or canceled the subscription.

  • Description of the problem : the cardholder claims that a canceled recurring transaction was chargede.
  • Deadline for the buyer (= the cardholder): 120 days to dispute the transaction (note, this deadline may vary depending on the legislation of your country).
  • Common causes:
    • The holder withdraws his authorization or cancels payment for a subscription.
    • The holder or the issuing bank closes the account.
    • The merchant does not cancel a recurring transaction after the cardholder's cancellation request.
    • The merchant processes a transaction despite the account being closed.
  • What will Visa ask the company behind the recurring transaction:
    • Immediate cancellation: cancel recurring transactions as soon as the cardholder requests it.
    • A flexible policy: opt for an easy cancellation policy, without conditions.
    • Use the Visa Account Updater service: Use this service to update card information and avoid charging closed accounts.
    • Respect for consent: do not increase the amount billed without the explicit consent of the holder.
    • Correct and timely invoicing: don’t invoice prematurely.
    • Information and notifications: inform holders of upcoming direct debits.

How do I contact Visa to request a chargeback?

A quick reminder: if this is possible for you, the easiest way is to go directly through your bank.

You will find Visa address or telephone number on your Visa statement or on the back of the bank card. here is list of telephone numbers for assistance services Visa by country. Here is also the link to the Contact form.

 

What is the reason for getting a refund for unauthorized recurring payments from Mastercard?

For a refund related to a hidden subscription with Mastercard, the relevant dispute code is 4853. This code addresses disputes relating to recurring transactions, including situations where the merchant continues to charge even after the cardholder cancels the subscription.

  • Description of the problem: The cardholder claims that the merchant continued to charge even after the recurring transaction was canceled, or the samples took place without explicit consent.
  • Deadline for individuals/cardholders: 120 calendar days to make a claim (please note, this deadline may vary depending on the country in which you live).
  • What issues does this code address:
    • The holder did not fully understand the initial terms of the transaction.
    • The holder continued to receive goods or services after the cancellation.
    • The cancellation by the holder occurred too late to prevent a transaction in progress.
    • The merchant did not cancel the transaction despite the request.
  • What measures are requested from e-merchants by Mastercard:
    • Immediate cancellations: Quickly process requests that qualify as cancellation or non-renewal.
    • Cancellation Confirmation: Confirm cancellations via email or text message to avoid confusion.
    • Stop future direct debits: As soon as a refund is issued, stop future transactions immediately.

How do I contact Mastercard to request a refund?

Remember: initially, it will be easier for you to communicate directly with your bank.

Here are the different Mastercard points of contact:

What is the reason for getting reimbursed for unknown monthly direct debits from American Express?

To obtain a refund for a hidden subscription with American Express, the reason code could be C28. When you are faced with a hidden subscription and want to get a refund through American Express due to “Reason Code C28” (Canceled Recurring Billing), here are some essential points to know:

  • Description of the problem : the cardholder reports being charged for a canceled recurring transaction.
  • Processing time: this answer depends on the country of the customer and the merchant. In any case, the faster the better.
  • Main causes:
    • The card holder withdraws their authorization for the debit, or cancels a subscription.
    • The holder or the issuing bank closes the account.
    • The merchant forgets to cancel a recurring transaction after receiving the cardholder's cancellation request.
    • The merchant processes a transaction after the holder closes their account.
  • Here is what is generally asked of traders:
    • Stopping Transactions: Stop recurring transactions as soon as the cardholder requests it.
    • Flexible policy: favor an easy cancellation policy, without conditions.
    • Consent: Do not increase transaction amounts without the cardholder's consent.
    • Proper billing: Do not bill the cardholder prematurely.
    • Notifications: Send notifications for upcoming loads.

How do I contact American Express to request a chargeback?

Please note: contact your bank/banking advisor before contacting your card publisher.

American Express offers 3 contact methods:

  • by phone at 01.47.77.74.54
  • by Chat from your Amex app
  • by Chat from your online customer area

(More information this way)

 

What is the reason for getting reimbursed for expenses (hidden subscription) at Discover?

If you would like to request a refund from Discover for a hidden subscription, you can use the Reason Code “ AP » (Canceled Recurring Transaction). Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Description of problem: Cardholder reports invoicing for a recurring transaction that is a priori canceled.
  • Claim time: depends on the country of the customer and the merchant.
  • Common causes:
    • The holder withdraws his authorization or cancels payment for a subscription.
    • The merchant “forgets” to interrupt a recurring transaction after being informed by the holder.
    • The merchant carries out a transaction despite the closure of the holder's account.
    • The merchant increases the amount billed without notifying the holder.
  • The 5 measures requested from e-retailers:
    1. Cancel recurring transactions as soon as the cardholder requests it.
    2. Offer a simple, no-conditions cancellation policy.
    3. Do not change the amount billed without the prior consent of the holder.
    4. Do not bill the holder before the agreed time.
    5. Inform the holder of upcoming direct debits to avoid surprises.

Sources of the article: https://www.economie.gouv.fr/particuliers/procedure-chargeback / https://www.europe-consommateurs.eu/presse/communiques-de-presse/resiliez-en-un- clic-your-subscriptions-caches.html / chargebacks911.com

Hidden subscriptions can be a frustrating problem, but fortunately, chargeback procedures offer a path to getting a refund. By knowing the specifics of each reason code associated with different bank card brands (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover), consumers can better defend themselves against unwanted transactions. To maximize your chances of success, provide detailed evidence, contact your bank or card issuer and carefully follow the instructions for disputing unauthorized payments. Stay informed and vigilant to protect your finances.

This article was written in 2024. We will try to update it according to legal news on the subject. We also leave the comments section open for any comments/questions/remarks.

 

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