|My refund eventually came through automatically a few days after contacting the car rental agency again, with no further action required from my side.|
I’ve said before that Instarem’s Amaze Card is a fantastic product to have- when everything goes smoothly.
Even with the latest nerf to its cashback rewards programme, Amaze cardholders still earn 1% cashback on overseas transactions, basically for free. This, stacked with zero FCY transaction fees and 4 mpd from the Citi Rewards or DBS Woman’s World Card, makes it hands down the best option for overseas spending.
|💳 tl;dr: Amaze card|
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But once there’s issues with a transaction, things can go south very quickly. I’ve already written about my very frustrating experience disputing a fraudulent transaction, and now I’m dealing with a separate matter of a refund that just won’t go through.
To be clear, this probably won’t happen in the vast majority of cases, but if you’re encountering a refund that keeps bouncing, this is probably what’s going on.
How Amaze Card refunds work
I’ve refunded Amaze Card transactions several times before, and they’ve typically gone off without a hitch. You may not always get back the exact amount you spent, but unless there’s been some dramatic currency exchange movements in the intervening period, it’s more or less a wash.
In case you were wondering, Amaze sends the refund to the original credit card that was charged, not the card you happen to have paired with Amaze at the time the refund comes through.
However, I’ve recently encountered another transaction that’s turned out to be a lot more complicated.
I’m heading to New Zealand in May as soon as the border opens up, and have spent the past few weeks making various hotel and activity bookings. I also booked a rental car with a company that requires full payment at the time of booking, but offers a full refund for cancellations made at least 24 hours in advance.
I decided to cancel this booking, and on the same day received the following alert from Instarem.
We’re writing to let you know that your transaction of USD 340.00 at yesaway.com was declined due to our security and risk policy.
You may refer to our Terms and Conditions or chat with us at instarem.com if you have any questions.
I contacted customer service to ask what was happening, and was told the following:
The transaction ID xxxxxxx is reflected as an original credit transaction and as per our policies, we do not support such transactions with an Amaze card.
An original credit transaction is a transaction that enables direct transfers of funds to credit card users. We at Amaze only support refunds against a transaction and not a direct fund transfer.
If I understand this correctly, it means that the merchant, instead of cancelling the original transaction, opted to do a credit instead. This normally wouldn’t be an issue if you used a bank-issued credit card, but evidently goes against some policy set by Amaze.
I was further told:
In the meantime, you have an option to contact the merchant to refund via the correct method, i.e. settlement file and not a direct fund transfer
Leaving aside what the “right” way of doing it is, I’m now in the unenviable position of having to find someone at the rental car company who understands what’s going on. And should they happen to say “well, that’s just the way we process refunds”, then what?
What does this mean for tax refunds?
If it’s indeed the case that Amaze cannot accept direct fund transfers and only cancellations of the original transaction, what does that mean for VAT refunds?
Well, not what you’d think, actually. While there were previously reports of Amaze not supporting tax refunds, more recent data points (December 2021 onwards) in the Telegram Group report successful tax refunds from Global Blue.
As far as I know (and I might be totally off here), these aren’t an adjustment of a previous transaction by the original merchant. Rather, it’s a credit amount sent by the tax refund company- kind of like them sending you a cheque or paying you in cash, only it goes to your card.
So I’m confused as to why this is fine, but not credit amounts sent by the original merchant. Maybe someone who understands the payments industry better could enlighten me?
If your Amaze refund is bouncing, it’s probably because the merchant is processing it as a direct fund transfer, as opposed to a voiding of the original transaction. Unfortunately, Amaze customer service won’t help you out here, so it’s on you to reach out to the original merchant and work it out.
It makes refunds to bank-issued credit cards seem relatively drama-free by comparison, but then again they don’t come with zero FCY fees and 4 mpd…
Anyone else experienced a bouncing Amaze refund before? How did you get it sorted in the end?