Editor's ChoiceCategories Credit Type Issuers Blog

Refund To A Cancelled Card


A Reader Asks:

I went to Harbor Freight today to get a refund or store credit for a welder I purchased in 2007 using a MC.  The store manager had no problem issuing the credit, but said that she could only credit back to the original MC, which I no longer have, nor do I even know what one is was.  The manager said it is the credit card law, and that I would need to contact the MC carrier, get the account number, the store would refund to the account, and then the MC carrier would send me a refund. WHAT????

We are not talking about a lot of money here, just $215.  I even asked just for a store credit, and she said she could not do that.  Please help me.

Thank You

My Answer

First, I am stunned that a company would issue a refund on a purchase made over two years ago!   That is excellent customer service.    On the other hand, they are asking you to provide the original credit card account number so that you can contact them for a refund.

Technically, it is true that when a refund is issued to an account that has been canceled, the bank will issue you a check.    There are several problems with this.   First, as you can imagine, banks are not very eager to write checks to customers, and it may be incumbent on you contact the bank and ask for the check.   Also, the process of receiving the check could take two to three months.  The fact that you understandably do not know the account number complicates this severely.    Even if you knew which bank to contact, you would have trouble convincing them to speak to you without an account number anyways.

The oddest thing about this case is that the retailer is insisting that the new credit card law requires them to do so.   I covered this legislation extensively, and I have never heard of such a thing.   Even if it were true, you made the purchase before the law went into effect, and you could argue that this purchase is not subject to any such mysterious clause in the law.

If the retailer is willing to give you your money back after two year, perhaps you can convince them to issue your credit in another form of payment.    That is what most retailers will offer when a credit card refund fails for any reason.   With a two year old purchase, I would be more than happy to get my money back in the form of a store credit, which would be a reasonable compromise that does not result in the store incurring a loss of their credit card transaction fees.    Let the store know that you value their exemplary customer service and will gladly return with a store credit, and I would be surprised if one is not issued.

June 14, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

Mr. CreditCard, Kathy already states in her plea that she would gladly accept the store credit but they aren’t willing to do that for her. Should she try asking again?

Jason Steele
June 14, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

Yes, she should speak to a manager. Accepting the refund on a different card, or as cash or check would be preferable. I can’t possibly understand why a store wouldn’t prefer to give store credit over a refund.


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