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I paid for a conference with a credit card (about 10 months in advance before the event). The amount was taken from my card in a few weeks. About 3 months later, I cancelled this credit card as I changed credit card companies (unrelated event). But then this conference was eventually cancelled 10 months later due to pandemic. Now after a year of emails, they have offered to refund the amount but only to the exact card that was used to pay for it. And of course I don't have this card anymore. Is there some workaround?

Edit: The card/bank is based in Sweden and the event paid for was in the US.

Update: I did contact the back and now 7 weeks later, I finally got my refund.

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  • 24
    Yes, call the bank of your cancelled credit card and seek their advice.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 19 at 18:48
  • 10
    In the future, remember that it's quite common for refunds to only be issued to the original card, so don't cancel a card for which a refund is anticipated.
    – chepner
    Jan 19 at 20:06
  • 14
    @chepner: It's not always avoidable. I had my card compromised in the interim on one case. It had to be cancelled.
    – Joshua
    Jan 20 at 3:11
  • 12
    @Joshua Well, not really. You just had to block the card and obtain a new card from the same bank under the same contract. In those circumstances the bank should be able to route any credits from the old card to your new one without issues. The OP instead switched banks, so there is no chance to automatically route the money to a new card
    – GACy20
    Jan 20 at 8:49
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    @GACy20: Except my bank didn't.
    – Joshua
    Jan 20 at 15:55

4 Answers 4

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This happened to me a few months ago. I received a statement in the mail from the bank who issued the card that showed a credit. They did not send a check to me proactively but after contacting them they did send a check for the amount of credit.

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  • 2
    Yep. The bank normally understands when that happens and is able to handle it!
    – Aganju
    Jan 20 at 2:50
  • 8
    This only works for default country. I wonder what is the practise in the rest of world where checks are not used.
    – Alex
    Jan 20 at 9:27
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    @Alex Well, then they use the way which is usual in that respective country, e. g. a SEPA transfer where they apply or whatever means is available.
    – glglgl
    Jan 20 at 11:50
  • I don't think there are any countries where checks are not used. There are countries where checks are not usually used. Jan 21 at 15:28
  • 4
    @DJClayworth Well, I know of only one such country, but it is still a counterexample: in the Netherlands, banks do not offer the possibility of writing checks. For now, it is still possible to cash a foreign check although it is prohibitively expensive, but soon banks will refuse to accept them.
    – 11684
    Jan 21 at 17:56
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In the UK at least, one of two things will happen:

  1. The receiving bank will contact you and ask how you wish to receive the credit. Possibly less a small administration fee.

  2. If the bank has a reliable way of identifying a bank account that belongs to you, say a recent direct debit or another account that belongs to you with the same bank, they'll just deposit it there automatically.

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    Banks often have ways and means not available to others - I was due some PPI compensation (there was a whole thing about it a few years back) and my then bank calculated it and paid it into my account. I subsequently closed that account, and later moved house. 3 years later, I get a letter at my new address from old bank saying they had miscalculated and owed me more, and it would be paid into my current account at my new bank. At no point had I told my old bank I had switched banks (didnt use a switching service etc) or told them my new address. Banks have means we dont.
    – user45974
    Jan 20 at 20:08
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Is there some workaround?

There is no need to. Let the event company refund via the credit card, and then contact the bank or credit card processor to receive the proceedings.

This is because:

  1. The event company may have no means to know if the person emailing them is the credit card owner. So the only safe way (for them) to process the refund is by using the same channel of payment: the credit card.

  2. There is a credit card account and (possibly many) credit cards numbers. When you "reissue" a new card, your account continues. The same applies here. The refund will pass through our canceled card number and be deposited in your card account.

Then contact the credit card company and inform them that you don't have that card anymore, that you will not create a new card, and ask for a check or transfer of the credit. In the remote possibility that the credit card company, in turn, gave you any headache, then inform you that you will pursue formal complaints with the Central Bank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or the respective institutions in your country).

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  • 6
    The issue isn't with the credit card company, it's with the company that was running the event that was cancelled.
    – Barmar
    Jan 20 at 15:13
  • The event company may have no means to know if the person emailing them is the credit card owner. So the only safe way (for them) to process the refund is by using the same channel of payment: the credit card. After the refund goes through, this and other answers would apply. Jan 20 at 22:34
  • 2
    Sure, but you said to reply to the credit card company. You can't reply to someone who hasn't communicated with you in the first place. And why would you be filing a complaint against a company that hasn't done anything wrong yet?
    – Barmar
    Jan 21 at 1:48
  • I misread the original text. I will rewrite part of answer. Jan 21 at 14:56
  • 1
    "The refund will pass through our canceled card number and be deposited in your card account." The OP says they changed credit card companies, not just changed card numbers.
    – Barmar
    Jan 21 at 15:11
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It helps if we know your country, and the issuer. I had a similar issue at Kinko's some years back. I also had a situation with a phone banking app developed in partnership with Vodafone and my bank. It allowed transfers to cancelled cards at times.

Such deposits and refunds can go into a suspense account if the card number has not been re-used. It may also suddenly trigger a statement. Otherwise the bank has a team for this. In my case the team was appropriately named for their role. It can be sorted. Changing cards or providers can complicate the matter as they would obviously prefer to sweep the balance to another account. If the reversal cannot be processed it is the Merchant's problem.

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