Chargeback under Alberta Statute

This is a guide to exercise your rights under the Consumer Protection Act of Alberta, and the Internet Sales Contract Regulation made pursuant to the Act.

If you did not receive services you purchased online, then you may be entitled to a refund under provincial law. (It is not the same as going through your card issuer or bank’s internal chargeback process; see Statutory vs. "Internal" Chargeback.)

There are a number of steps involved in this process, which you proceed through as necessary.

  1. Provide notice of cancellation of the future performance contract. Then wait 15 days.
  2. Provide a written notice to your card issuing bank that you dispute the charge. Then wait 30 days for acknowledgement, and 60-90 days for refund.
  3. Provide a written notice to your card issuing bank that you are clawing back the money.

Further details on timelines are included within the detailed guide for each step.

In Alberta, you are eligible to proceed if you meet the following criteria:

  • The transaction is a consumer transaction (Act, s. 1(c)).
  • You booked online using the Internet and paid more than $50 (Regulation, s. 1(d)).
  • You or the supplier are a resident of Alberta (Regulation, s. 2(a)).
  • Your scheduled departure date is in the past (Regulation, s. 6(2)(b)).
  • You paid with a credit card (Regulation, s. 12(1)).

Notes and Exceptions

  • If you are not a resident of Alberta, you may still exercise rights under Alberta provincial law if you are dealing with Westjet or Swoop, both of whom are headquartered in Alberta.
  • The definition of “Internet sales contract” is one that is “formed by text‑based Internet communications,” which is likely to be interpreted broadly. For example, this could include a booking done using email during the process.
  • If you paid with a debit card, you can still complete Step 1 of this guide to cancel your contract and ask for a refund, but you cannot complete Step 2 or 3 as they are related to credit cards only. You may have other remedies available under Alberta law.

In this step, you give formal notice to the supplier that the contract is cancelled, and request a refund.

  • When: If your flight has been cancelled and the originally scheduled date of departure has passed, you may proceed with this step (Regulation, s. 6(2)(b)).
  • To Whom: The company that charged your card and whose name appears on your statement is the supplier.
  • How: Subsection 8(3) of the Regulation allows giving notice any means, including, but not limited to, personal service, registered mail, telephone, courier, facsimile and e‑mail. The notice in writing is deemed to have been given when sent.
  • Where: If you want to send a letter, use the address provided on the contract or their registered business address (commonly found on their website).
  • Proof: Ensure you have proof of delivery.
    • If providing notice by telephone, record your call.
    • If you provide notice by fax, keep the transmission confirmation sheet.
    • If you send a letter by registered mail, get a delivery conformation.

Letter Template for Alberta (Step 1)

In this step, you exercise your rights under the Regulation to request a statutory chargeback with your credit card issuer to recover illegitimate charges.

  • When: If you do not receive a refund within 15 days of sending your notice from Step 1, you may proceed to this step.
  • How: Send a letter by any written means to your credit card issuer, including, but not limited to personal service, registered mail, courier, facsimile and e‑mail (Regulation, s. 12(4)).
  • Where: Use the address provided on your credit card bill.
  • Proof: It may be helpful to send this letter by registered mail or fax so that you have proof of sending and delivery.

Letter Template for Alberta (Step 2)

In this step, you claw back the disputed amount if the card issuer fails to comply with the obligation to reverse the illegitimate charge within the timeframe prescribed by law.

  • When: If the card issuer did not reverse the the illegitimate charge within the earlier of "2 complete billing cycles of the credit card issuer" or “90 days” after receiving the notice you sent them in Step 2 (Regulation, s. 12(3)).
    • A billing cycle is the time between bills.
    • In most cases, with monthly billing, two complete billing cycles would be the shortest duration.
    • To ensure you meet the definition of 2 complete billing cycles, you may want to wait for your current billing cycle to end, and then wait for two further billing cycles to complete before sending your next letter.
  • What: You take two distinct actions simultaneously.
    1. Claw back the disputed amount. In practical terms, this means paying the balance of the card minus the disputed amount, and ceasing use of the card.
    2. Inform your card issuer in writing that you will not be paying the disputed amount, and request that the card issuer take you to court.
  • How: Send a letter to your credit card issuer by registered mail. Registered mail is a requirement under paragraph 7(9)(c) of the Credit Business Practices Regulations, and also provides proof of sending and delivery.
  • Where: Use the address provided on your credit card bill.

Letter Template for Alberta (Step 3)

Rights and protections provided by the Consumer Protection Act cannot be waived or contracted out. Section 2 of the Act renders such a waiver void.

This means that regardless of what you have agreed to with any airline, tour operator, travel agency, or your credit card issuer, your rights are absolute. The one exception to this rule is when you have agreed to give up your rights as part of a dispute settlement process.