Photograph of outside a Comet storeQ: What can I do if I’ve paid for, but not received, an item from a company that’s gone bust?

A: A lot of readers have emailed me asking this kind of questions since the highly publicised news of electrical retailer Comet going into administration last month.

The answer will be different depending on how you paid for the item you have not yet received.

If you paid by credit card and the item cost between £100 and £30,000, your credit card should refund you under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

If you bought your item using a Mastercard or Visa debit card, you may be able to claim your money back via a chargeback service.

To do this, you’ll need to contact your bank within 120 days (roughly four months) from the time you realised you may not receive your item, and ask the bank to start a chargeback for the amount of your purchase.

Basically, this is the reversal of an earlier outbound transfer of funds from your bank account.

Things get a bit more complicated if you have paid by cash, as you’ll need to contact the administrators directly and claim for the item.

Unfortunately, you’ll be at the end of a long line of the company’s creditors and it may take a long time for you to get your money back or, or you may not get it back at all.

If you have gift vouchers or a gift card, and the administrators no longer accept them, you’ll also be added to the list of unsecured creditors.

So, my advice when buying pricey items this Christmas is, wherever possible, buy on your credit card and then pay off the balance straight away. That way you are covered for a definite refund and you won’t owe extra money by incurring interest charges.

Andrea Ventress, money expert


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