Businesses fear 'no quibble' refund

Irish businesses are getting ready for SEPA but concerns remain over refund issue

The eight-week “no quibble” refund which will be introduced under the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)initiative in February 2014 is likely to cause Irish businesses a “major difficulty”, a new survey reveals.

In its second survey of SME preparedness for SEPA, which will mean the end the readiness for the chang of national Euro clearing systems across, ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association found that while there has been a marked improvement in e among SMEs, the refund issue is causing concern.

According to ISME chief executive, Mark Fielding the clause, which allows creditors to claim a no-questions asked refund of their money within eight weeks of their account being debited, is leading some businesses to opt out of the direct debit system because of the absence of a separate business to business process.

“Once more the Irish banks have let us down in refusing to implement a Business to Business (B2B) SEPA system and by doing so, place extra costs on Irish business. The Government, through the Central Bank, still has time to rectify this bank oversight, by insisting on a change for business banking. It is simply not good enough for the Irish banks to wash their hands of this problem, while SMEs struggle to manage.”


The awareness of SEPA has increased among SMEs, from 27 per cent to 58 per cent, since the previous ISME survey in May of this year, with more businesses discussing the implementation with their bank and software provider. The preparedness can be gauged from the fact that only 30 per cent had actually started to prepare in May; this figure has now risen to 73 per cent, with almost 20 per cent already SEPA compliant.

However, only 2 per cent had actually tested their procedures with their bank, mainly due to the fact that some of the banks were late in their own preparations.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times