As many as one in ten Argos store card customers could be due a "double-digit" refund plus interest after being overcharged for making late payments.
Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, said today in its latest trading update that it's set aside £30 million to pay those affected, after recently uncovering errors in the calculation of late payment fees for "up to 10%" of Argos store card holders.
See our Store Cards guide for more on how these cards work and why they can be dangerous.
How do I know if I'm affected?
Home Retail Group says it will write to all affected customers in the next few weeks.
In total Home Retail Group says "up to 10%" of Argos cardholders are due refunds, but as it's still investigating, it won't yet reveal exactly how many people this is or what payment plans they were on. The Argos store card website says "1.5 million people buy now, pay later", suggesting potentially as many as 150,000 could be due a refund, though it's not clear what period these stats relate to.
Previously, if you incurred a late payment fee on a store or credit card, you shouldn't have been charged more than £12 each time, following a ruling by the now-defunct Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in 2006. However the Financial Conduct Authority, which took over from the OFT, says its new rules - which take a more holistic approach and make no mention of a £12 cap - have superseded all the OFT's guidelines.
If you've been charged more than £12 for making a payment late on your Argos card, it's possible it could be an indication you're one of those affected, but there are no guarantees.
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How much will I get?
Home Retail Group says you'll be refunded what you were overcharged plus any interest on the repayment.
John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, says the amount for each affected customer was likely to be "double-digit" (so no more than £99), but wouldn't give an average figure.
The group had already put by £17 million in February primarily to cover PPI mis-selling, but also to cover charges, including the store card payment errors. This additional £30 million brings the total amount the group plans to set aside for redress schemes to £47 million.
How can I reclaim what I'm due?
As above, Home Retail Group says it's writing to those affected in the next few weeks - but it won't give any further details at this stage.
What's a store card?
Store cards work very much like credit cards, except that while credit cards can be used anywhere, store cards can only be used in a specific store or store group.
Guy Anker, managing editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, says: "Store cards are the devil of plastic as it is. They often come with horrendously high APRs (annual percentage rates) and if companies are overcharging in terms of late fees then that's a double whammy."
The Argos store card currently has a 29.9% APR.
Additional reporting by the Press Association.