Moneywise fights for your rights - Facebook, The AA, Parcel Monkey
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Facebook fraudsters took £29,000
I’ve been scammed after fraudsters got hold of my bank account details via an advert on Facebook offering a quick way to make money. But instead of transferring money to me, the fraudsters took thousands from my account, as well as taking out three loans. I don’t understand how they could get a loan without filling out forms and signing for it.
I didn’t realise I’d been scammed until it was too late. The police have been informed, but haven’t been able to track down the criminals. I’m now having to repay over £200 a month to the bank just to cover the loans. The fraudsters took £29,000 and I may have to go bankrupt.
It’s too late for me, but I hope by highlighting my case I can warn others. I was feeling very low and couldn’t cope when I handed over my account details. But I do think the bank could have done more to flag up fraudulent activity.
FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS has had a few emails from readers who have given out their account details and have been scammed, but were surprised that their bank was not more helpful. The bad news is that if you’re scammed into transferring money to a fraudster’s bank account, the bank has no obligation to return your money to you.
I’ve looked into SM’s case to see if First Direct did all it could to stop the fraud once it was made aware of it. First Direct says that three loans were opened in SM’s name over three consecutive days in February 2016 for £5,000, £8,000 and £6,000. There were 12 further payments out of SM’s account totalling £11,050 over the next few days.
It says that SM initially confirmed the loans and payments were genuine and that they related to a family loan for home improvements. He said the person who lent him the money had asked him to repay by sending the funds to various third parties.
First Direct says that SM said that he had given his internet banking information to his brother to operate the account for him as he struggled to understand it. First Direct also says that he’d given his ‘secure key’ [where you are texted a PIN to enter for added security] to his brother – in breach of the bank’s terms and conditions. However, SM denies doing this.
SM then contacted the bank to say that he now thought the actions on the account were fraudulent and that his brother had passed his security details to someone who had logged on to his bank account to request the loans and make all the payments. First Direct says it contacted all the other banks straight away to try to stop the money going but, due to the delay in this being reported as fraud, all the funds apart from £1,033 had gone, and this was refunded into his account.
A spokesperson for First Direct said: “We are extremely sympathetic to SM’s situation and once we’d been notified of the fraud acted immediately to try and recover the funds. Unfortunately, the money had already been taken out of his account. We provide information on our website to help keep customers safe from fraud, and urge all customers to keep all their account login details secret.”
There is also the question of whether Facebook could do more to make sure these fraudsters are banned from the site. When I contacted Facebook, it said it didn’t comment on individual cases, but confirmed that the profiles of the fraudsters in SM’s case had been removed from the site.
It explained that it doesn’t ban pages where people discuss money transfers because it believes they can be useful, but it points out that you can report rogue individuals, who will then be investigated by its safety experts. It also works with the police if they request information about illegal activity.
The AA won’t refund my fees
I gave up driving recently due to my age, some minor health problems and the fact that I am using the car much less now that I have moved from London to Brighton. I have donated my old car to charity (they get the cash from its scrappage). I also received a refund for the unused car insurance from my insurer Direct Line and a refund from DVLA for the unused car tax.
However, when I asked the AA for a refund of the nine months unused Silver Membership (I’ve been a member for a few years, but never needed to call the AA out), I was stunned to be told it doesn’t do refunds. Instead, it offered to suspend my membership until I need to use it again, but I explained I’ve given up driving and don’t intend to replace my car.
I feel as if I’ve been ripped off. Is there anything I can do to get my money back?
IT IS OFTEN THE case that companies won’t let you cancel if you sign up for an annual contract. However, when Moneywise approached the AA, it did agree to waive the charge. A spokesperson said: “We have investigated and can see that MG called to cancel his membership in August after having renewed at a discounted rate in May.
“Although we do not normally offer pro-rata refunds outside of the 14-day cooling-off period (as per our membership terms and conditions), given MG’s personal circumstances and the fact he had not used the service, on this occasion we would like to offer a full refund of the total membership renewal fee he paid in May.”
MG says: “Excellent news – I wouldn’t have had a refund without your help. It’s good to see that the AA can be more flexible on its rules if it chooses to do so.”
Outcome: £85 refund of AA membership fee
Parcel Monkey misled me
I hope you can help me with an issue I have had with Parcel Monkey. It all started when I sold an autoclave machine on eBay. I booked Parcel Monkey to send the item and took out extra insurance. I sent the item in the original crate that was used to deliver it to me from China, but the autoclave was dented and didn’t work on delivery. I agreed that the buyer could return it for a full refund.
After contacting Parcel Monkey to claim on the insurance, it sent an email saying that it had opened a claim and I could check its progress at any time using the link provided.
After two weeks, I opened the email and clicked on the link, only to find a message saying that I had seven days to submit my claim, and this deadline had passed. I have contacted Parcel Monkey via its online chat sessions and have written twice, but it will not open the case.
AFTER I CONTACTED Parcel Monkey, it accepted that the email SS received was a generic one that said: “You have a message” and didn’t mention a seven-day time limit. Parcel Monkey reopened SS’s claim and agreed to a refund of £303.20, which covered the £290 cost of the autoclave plus postage.
SS said: “Parcel Monkey needs to reword its emails, as the one I received didn’t make it clear what I needed to do. I was upset by the way it dealt with the situation. It was as if it just wanted to ignore me, thinking I would forget it.” A Parcel Monkey spokesperson said: “We accept that the original email doesn’t mention any timeframe and are arranging to get this changed.”
Outcome: £303.20 for broken autoclave and postage
Sky owes me M&S vouchers
In May, I took out a Sky broadband package with an offer of £100 of M&S vouchers as part of a sign-up promotion.
This was fantastic, and I was told you have to claim online. I had no luck and called Sky to ask for them. I eventually I got through to someone who said they should have been in my online account under ‘Get my offers’. I have logged in a few times, but the voucher offer was not there. Sky is now refusing to do anything as it says that the offer has now expired.
I am furious because the M&S voucher offer is one of the main reasons I took out the deal. I have tried to contact Sky by Twitter a few times, but it just ignores my request.
I eventually spoke to a manager who said: “I know you expect me to give you the vouchers, but it’s just not going to happen.” Can you help?
WHEN YOU SIGN UP for offers, it’s a good idea to make a note in your diary of when you can claim them and when they expire. In this instance, LCS was given misleading advice about accessing the offer online, and by the time he contacted Sky the offer had expired. Sky says that an email was sent with 90 days to claim the vouchers. However, LCS insists that he never received it, saying: “No email has or had arrived, only sign-up and welcome emails.”
A Sky spokesperson says: “Our records show that the reader was sent an email to his registered email address on 16 May with the voucher code to claim within 90 days. “We are sorry if he was incorrectly told that the vouchers would be sent to him via another method. As a gesture of goodwill, we would like to apply a credit of £100 to his account.”
LCS says: “I essentially got the deal I was told I would originally, thanks to your efforts.”
Outcome: £100 credited to Sky Broadband account
- Read our previous Fight for your rights articles here.
The period of time you’re allowed, after signing an agreement, to cancel it without incurring a financial penalty. Financial products including banking, credit, insurance, personal pensions and investments are subject to a 14-day cooling-off period (this is 30 days in the case of life insurance and personal pensions). The insurer or broker must refund any money paid by you within 30 days, although it has the right to deduct a reasonable admin charge, and a sum proportionate to the number of days’ cover you had. If you have any related credit agreements, these will also be cancelled.