Card protection of chip-buyers, anyone know the score?


Unofficial T&C's Editor
Staff member
May 22, 2012
the bus shelter, opposite GCHQ Benhall
I've had a good look and can't find a specific topic, but I read the Purple lounge incident with some dismay and realised it could open up a whole can of worms, as regards buyer protection.

In the UK as preumably elsewhere we are legally protected against non-deliverance of goods and services as the card provider stands the loss as they technically purchase on our behalf while we pay them back.

So, if you bought chips via cc at PL would you not be protected in statute when they shut down and 'lost' those chips or failed to pay you out? I know gaming's a relatively new phenomenon to cc providers but I'd say that PL non-paying your cashout meant that they failed in their contract with you the purchaser and you could cover and void your deposits via the card company.

Has this been done (and I'm not talking fraudulent chargebacks) before? I also know that there are precedents for retailers thinking they have put a 'firewall' between them and customers by not taking cards directly but via agents like paypoo, MB and the like but judgements have still told the cc companies to refund. What i don't know is has a gaming transaction ever been taken to court and had a ruling on?

If not then the implications are quite massive, as if an individual argued loss protection in County Court (had his card company not refunded him) and the Judge agreed with the customer/complainant that 'having purchased chips and received them was only PART of the contract entered into; payment of winnings also forms a primary and logical part of the contract/purchase if applicable' (which is quite reasonable to all onlookers) then this would be serious for the gaming online purveyors.

ASSUMING a judgement like this was made and precedent set, then you'd find some card companies would refuse gaming purchases (very damagesome to them as they do huge business this way especially those shysters that charge cash-advance fees..) OR would only deal with big corporation sites like Ladbrokes/Virgin/Coral/PP etc. The logical step if this were the case would be only allowing cardholders to pay agents like MB where the account was disabled for gambling (which MB offer among others.)

The most likely outcome would be a uniquely British 'grey area' similar to the bank charges saga; they wouldn't dare have a precedent set in Court, but simply wouldn't contest each individual case thus only paying back those that asked, until it snowballed.

You may think this is overly portentous when I type it, but if anyone remembers 1992, when ONE man took the government to court over paying VAT on his spectacles, arguing they were VAT exempt as a medical item and won, the government had to refund an incredible 800million pounds to opticians, changing the industry forever.

Anyone got any more knowledge, views or opinions on this?

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