View Full Version : Taken my money without permission - advice please


holidayhutch
14-06-2008, 23:20
I signed up for a course a few months ago and so far have been too busy to start it, though there are no time restrictions on the course.

I paid the deposit via my debit card and had asked to pay the rest in monthly installments by direct debit. They sent me out a mandate form to sign for permission to take the money out of my account. To date I have not returned this due to reason explained in paragraph 1. The credit agreement quite clearly states that you have to sign it to give permission for them to take your money and to obtain credit via them.

To date all I have received is a letter and a flimsy 8 page booklet with my first assignment question and details of where to send it back to once completed.

On receiving our quarterly bank statement I have noticed they have taken not only the deposit but the monthly installment for the last 3 months. I went to the bank and asked them to cancel the payment and they told me it was not a direct debit that had been set up without authorisation, but they had in fact taken the money directly from my card and therefore the bank could not help me.

I am furious at this company that they have done this without my permission, I feel that is fraudulent use of my card.

I wrote to the company and they say they will not return my money because I haven't returned the course goods within 7 days of starting it and under distance learning regulations etc you only have a 7 day cooling off period.

It is not to do with the course though , it is to do with the fact they have obtained money and taken it without my permission.

The bank cannot help me so would be grateful for any advice/ideas/opinions as to where I could go from here.

Heyesey
14-06-2008, 23:22
On receiving our quarterly bank statement I have noticed they have taken not only the deposit but the monthly installment for the last 3 months. I went to the bank and asked them to cancel the payment and they told me it was not a direct debit that had been set up without authorisation, but they had in fact taken the money directly from my card and therefore the bank could not help me.

I am furious at this company that they have done this without my permission, I feel that is fraudulent use of my card.


The bank cannot help me so would be grateful for any advice/ideas/opinions as to where I could go from here.


The bank can, and MUST, help you. By law they should refund any unauthorised transaction.

Lindos
14-06-2008, 23:24
The bank can, and MUST, help you. By law they should refund any unauthorised transaction.

I agree, if they wont you should contact the FSA/FOS.

Zebra
14-06-2008, 23:46
Yeah, I'd ask for the branch manager of the one you frequent most. No money should ever be taken from your account without authorisation and if you haven't signed anything to allow it then they shouldn't be able to take it. Both distance learning centre and bank are at fault.

holidayhutch
14-06-2008, 23:46
Well this is exactly what I thought but they are adamant they cant do anything. I have just called the Direct Banking Fraudulent use hotline and they have said that because I gave them my card details for the initial payment, it was like giving them cash in their hand and because it is a debit card payment then the bank have to authorise it and the only people who can stop it is the company if I get them to agree which they wont.

I think it is ridiculous because if you paid over the phone with a card for goods to a company, that does not then give that person who took your order or that company the right to continue using that card if you have not given permission for them to do so or for goods you have not received.

I am talking over 300 so it's not small change

Zebra
14-06-2008, 23:54
I find it very odd. If I give my card details for a one off payment I don't expect to pay for anything else unless I agree to it. Like if I use my card in a chip and pin, I give authorisation for one transaction only.
Make a nuisance of yourself, it works for me :)

Heyesey
14-06-2008, 23:59
Well this is exactly what I thought but they are adamant they cant do anything.


Then ask for the Head Office complaints address, and also the address of the Financial Ombudsman. Your bank is lying to you.

savbaby
15-06-2008, 08:17
Then ask for the Head Office complaints address, and also the address of the Financial Ombudsman. Your bank is lying to you.

where debit card transactions are concerned then yes they can do this, however the bank can help eventually! they can request a "charge back" which means they contact the company direct and request the money.
yes its crap but thats how it works, they are not fraudulant transactions as it were because the OP has stated he gave them the card details!

only way around this is to use a credit card which has more consumer protection. I used to try my hardest for customers when i worked in the bank to get thier money back but it was near impossible!

Alex C.
15-06-2008, 08:27
There is one important thing to check though - if the T&C's have a clause in saying they can take payment via your debit card, if your direct debit is unsuccessful, then you may have inadvertently agreed to the charge...

mrmist
15-06-2008, 08:35
You should follow up on what Savbaby has mentioned. The bank can charge back the transactions on a Cardholder unauthorised or goods not recieved basis.

H.P
15-06-2008, 08:42
Just a thought, If it's actually the card the company is using. I know it's a pain but cancell the card, would a new card have a different number on it?

lee79
15-06-2008, 08:48
Agree with Alex C, you may had agreed to pay by card if the DD failed/was not sent in.
It may even be perfectly legal, because if you think about it, if after the seven days cooling off, and no course equipment has been returned, then it might be taken that you've agreed to all the T & C, and accepted the course.

So, the company would only be taking fee's owed to them (although perhaps a little underhanded). Other than that, I suppose they could had just sent threatening letters to get the money owed to them. Did you not get any reminder letters?

As you've said, there's no limit on the time scale for the course, but, they'd be a limit on when they expect you to pay for it.

savbaby
15-06-2008, 08:51
Just a thought, If it's actually the card the company is using. I know it's a pain but cancell the card, would a new card have a different number on it?

does not work, even though the card has a new number if its a "recurring" transaction then the bank would still allow the payments to go through!

like when i got a new card as mine had expired the RAC could still get the money without me updating the card as it stated in the T&C's that if i obtained a new card for the account they would request the details from the bank to save me updating my details.

they get you whichever way you go.

Strix
08-07-2008, 02:09
oh well - looks like you'll be changing banks too then HH!

you should have access to a legal advice line if you have household insurance - maybe give them a call?

Cyclone
08-07-2008, 06:44
It's not a recurring transaction, they will be processing a new payment each time. A new card will have a different set of numbers and the details they currently have will be declined, so change cards first.

Rather than going to the bank, I'd phone up and report it as a fraudulent transactions, you'll have to sign paperwork to say that you didn't make the payment or give permission. It's possible for someone to be charged with a criminal offence for that, so be sure that you're in the right. The bank will then slowly process it and eventually you'll get your money back.
It might be worth informing the company first that you intend to report this to the bank/police as fraudulent card use, they might decide to refund you at that point, if you are in the right.

savbaby
08-07-2008, 08:52
It's not a recurring transaction, they will be processing a new payment each time. A new card will have a different set of numbers and the details they currently have will be declined, so change cards first.

Rather than going to the bank, I'd phone up and report it as a fraudulent transactions, you'll have to sign paperwork to say that you didn't make the payment or give permission. It's possible for someone to be charged with a criminal offence for that, so be sure that you're in the right. The bank will then slowly process it and eventually you'll get your money back.
It might be worth informing the company first that you intend to report this to the bank/police as fraudulent card use, they might decide to refund you at that point, if you are in the right.

Even though the OP has not given permission for the card the bank will not class it as fraudulent transactions. The op has provided the card details to the company so the bank will see it as a disputed transaction. I really dont agree with it but it really is the case. The bank may agree to try do a "charge back" for the payment but if the company then prove that they should be getting the payment the bank will take it back off him!

dizzybird77
08-07-2008, 09:07
I work for a bank, and what's been said is correct.
They will process a payment each month with the card details you gave, so cancelling your card will stop them being able to do this (they will then contact you to request more payments) then they will have to discuss the issue with you
Direct Debits now don't need a signature authorising them, if you agreed to it over the phone and they have a record of it they can use tat as authorisation (lots of car insurance companies do this).
The bank can only class the transactions as disputed because you gave them your details, (the bank should give you your money back straight away) if the bank contacts them and they insist you agreed to the contract between you and them there's little that can be done and the bank will just take the money straight back from you.
Again they can sometimes used recorded phone conversations to prove that you agreed to the contract.
The bank should help as much as they can, but in cases like this their hands are usually tied.
Not good news, I know, so my advice would be to contact citizens advice.