I made an e-commerce purchase in January 2015, for which I used a credit card. The product was delivered promptly; no problem there at all; however the retailer failed to debit my account until around four months later, which was then rejected by my credit card company as a dubious transaction. After calling the credit card company and confirming that the attempt was legitimate, they informed me that I could ask the retailer to attempt the transaction again, which I did. The retailer assured me that this would be done promptly. Three months on, still no attempt at taking payment.

Is there a maximum period of time, a 'statute of limitatons' if you will, in UK law that retailers have to collect payment, before I can refuse to honour the payment? Suppose I wish to close that credit card account. They will no longer have valid details to settle the debt with me, and I don't really want bailiffs showing up for example.

edit: Realised an answer could also include the retailer's contractual terms with their payment processor, and with my credit card provider. If these would have anything to say on the matter, this would also be useful.

1 Answer 1


If you close the credit card account, they will contact you asking for a new card or other payment. This happens frequently, as cards time out or are replaced; its no big deal.

You did sign the charge statement. Independent of the mechanism of payment, I believe that's considered a promissory note.

  • The motivation for wanting to know is secondary to the actual question to be honest; I'm also of a mind to spite them for being incompetent by telling them "nope, out of time, not paying now", and am curious as to whether the law supports that.
    – Tom W
    Jul 11, 2015 at 17:09
  • There is a statute of limitations on debt collection, check with a local lawyer. It is usually 4-10 years, depending on the jurisdiction.
    – littleadv
    Jul 11, 2015 at 19:15
  • E-Commerce in the UK is probably regulated by the EU directive, so it might well be lower. For the Netherlands I believe it's just 2 years for professional sellers dealing with consumers. Still a few months won't wipe the debt.
    – MSalters
    Jul 13, 2015 at 16:11
  • Thanks for the replies. Could either of you cite a reference for those figures and make them answers? Thanks.
    – Tom W
    Jul 19, 2015 at 16:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .