VISA Charges for Purchases AND Refunds?

I bought something the other day from an internet-based business with a credit card. No problems. It arrived.

They have a nice return policy. I decided that I didn’t really need the item before it even got here, so I emailed them and arranged for a refund and an RMA number. No problem. The box will be returned, unopened, to them, so there is no possibility of me messing with the packaging.

Except - they said that they’d have to charge me 3% of the purchase price, since the credit card company charges them both for the original purchase, AND the refund, and they’d have to charge me for the refund since they already paid their 3% for the purchase.

WTF?? I have never heard of this before - EVER. Is this true, or are they playing fast and loose with the facts in order to get some additional money from me?


Sounds fishy. Though I imagine the CCC charges the retailer every time something (purchase or refund) is transacted, that should be part of the contract the retailer has–that they absorb that cost and pass that on to the consumer indirectly (slightly higher prices), not directly (your case).

I would call your CCC and confirm as much. Also, I would look at the fine print on the retailer’s receipt and website to make absolutely certain that the hidden “charge” isn’t buried somewhere, because if it is, they may be within their rights (IANAL).

Still, I would definitely do some inquiring because that isn’t normal procedure from my experience.

It is quite likely that the card card processor (which is not VISA) charges the merchant a transaction fee. I’ve had merchant accounts with three different processors, and all of them charged fees for all transactions, both charges and credits.

Their merchant account provider is definitely charging them. Read their terms. If they don’t mention a fee for refunds, ask for the 3% back. If they do, suck it up. You were the one that placed the order and changed your mind.

The policy of your credit card company, OR the company you made the purchase from may be the reason for the 3% charge against your refund. In any event you pay shipping BOTH ways.

One of the Big Box Home Stores now issues cash gift cards instead of cash refunds.
I often forget I have a gift card for more that the current purchase. :smack:

Worse yet, they often have time limits after which the gift card becomes valueless, or they reduce the value of the card a bit each month (supposedly a monthly ‘maintenance fee’).

Both are basically ways to cheat the customer out of his/her money, IMHO.

I Believe in california that gift cards last forever and can not expire. No clue about that monthly maintenance fee though.