How to get your money back after falling for a fake eCommerce website

If you’re like me, you probably do a fair bit of shopping online. It’s convenient, there are usually good deals to be found, and you can avoid the crowds at the mall. But I’m always a little bit suspicious of websites that seem too good to be true. You know the ones – they have unbelievable discounts on designer clothes, or they’re selling electronics for a fraction of the price you’d find in stores. These websites look identical to legitimate ones, but they’re actually created by scammers in order to steal your money.

But don’t worry! There is something you can do to get your money back. Keep reading for my tips on how to get your money back after falling for a fake ecommerce website. 

Merchant agreement

When you make a purchase online, you’re actually entering into a contract with the merchant. This contract is called a “merchant agreement.” In this agreement, the merchant agrees to provide you with certain goods or services in exchange for your payment.

But what happens if the merchant doesn’t hold up their end of the deal? That’s where chargebacks come in. A chargeback is when you ask your credit card company to cancel a transaction and refund your money. You can think of it as a “reverse” transaction.

Did you know that under all the Consumer Protection Act’s or Bill of Rights of each province, when you order a product, it must be delivered within 30 days of the promised delivery date, or you can ask for a refund.

When can you dispute a charge?

There are a few different reasons you might file a chargeback:

  • An unauthorized transaction on your card,
  • You were charged twice for the same transaction,
  • The amount charged was incorrect,
  • You do not recognize the charge,
  • Even though you cancelled a service, you are still being charged for it,
  • You’ve never received the item you ordered, or maybe the item was significantly different from the description on the website.

But the most common reason for chargebacks is fraud.

Unsure if your chargeback request is valid?

When you file a chargeback because of fraud, you’re essentially telling your credit card issuer that you didn’t make the purchase – instead, someone stole your credit card information and made the purchase without your knowledge.

Chargebacks can be a little bit tricky, but they’re definitely worth it if you’ve been scammed. I would recommend reading through your merchant agreement before you file a chargeback, just to make sure that you have a valid reason. And if you’re ever unsure, you can always contact your credit card company for more information. Also, take the time to ask them if they charge a fee if your chargeback request is ever invalid.

Policies vary from one credit issuer to another, but they pretty much all follow the same general reasoning which is, you are currently in a dispute that can’t seem to be resolved between you and a merchant.

Don’t wait, act now!

Check your credit card statements regularly. It’s important to remember that you only have a limited time to file a chargeback. For most credit card companies, it’s within 30 days of the statement date. So, if you think you might have been scammed, don’t wait – contact your credit card company right away.

ADRBO member banks chargeback policies

BMOYou have the right to dispute any credit card transaction that you feel was charged to your account fraudulently or in error. Contact BMO within 30 days of your account statement date if you have a dispute inquiry as they are limited by the amount of time to dispute a charge.Help Center
CIBCCIBC Cardholder Agreement requires cardholders to review each periodic statement, report unauthorized or suspicious transactions within 30 days of the statement date, and keep their PIN secure and confidential. Tips and advice
ScotiabankIf you think your statement contains any errors, you must inform them within thirty (30) days of the date of the statement.

A service fee will be charged if the dispute claim does not proceed.
Submitting a dispute
RBCIf you have problems with anything you buy using your Credit Card, you must pay the amount owed on your Account and settle the problem directly with the store or merchant. In some circumstances, RBC may be able to provide assistance in resolving
disputed transactions.
Transaction help
TDIf you are unable to resolve the dispute with the merchant, submit a transaction dispute request with TD within 30 days of your statement date
Call TD customer support directly, or start a dispute claim through your TD online banking
Transaction dispute

How do you file a chargeback?

This is very important, before you file a request with you credit card issuer you MUST have tried to resolve the issue with the merchant, and you must provide proof that attempts we’re made on your part.

The first step is to contact your credit card company and let them know that you want to file a chargeback. You’ll need to provide them with some basic information about the purchase, like the date of the purchase, the name of the merchant, a reference number and proof that attempts we’re made to resolve the matter and anything else you might have related to the dispute.

If you we’re lucky and able to reach the merchant by phone, detailed notes of the time and date of all phone calls and what was discussed may be provided as proof. If not, emails are much simpler and are also valid proof of communication attempts.

Your credit card company will then open an investigation. They’ll contact the merchant and ask for proof that you made the purchase. The merchant will have a chance to respond to the chargeback, but if they don’t or they can’t provide enough evidence, then the chargeback will be granted, and you’ll get your money back.

What can I do if my chargeback request is denied?

If you feel your request was legitimate, but it was denied by your credit card issuer, you may file a complaint to the appropriate Ombudsman office of which your bank is a member. The ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office reviews complaints against member banks so they can make sure all procedures were followed correctly during transaction processing – even when it comes to denying ineligible purchases!

The ADRBO reviews complaints for the following institutions:

  • Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) and Scotia Trust
  • Digital Commerce Bank (DCB)
  • National Bank of Canada (NBC)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • Tangerine (part of BNS)
  • TD Bank Group (TD)

For more information on how to make a complaint to a financial institution and to find out if your financial institution is federally regulated, visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Get the help and support you need

Looking for information on health and social services in Canada? Look no further than 211. This free and confidential service is available 24 hours a day, in more than 150 languages, making it easy for anyone to get the information they need. Whether you need help finding government services or community-based resources, 211 is there to help. Simply call 2-1-1, chat with them online, or send a text, and they’ll put you in touch with the right people and resources. They’re here to help make your pathway to care and resources a guided and trusted one.

Have you ever been the victim of a scam? What did you do to get your money back? Let us know in the comments.