CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND WE ARE BUYING PRESENTS VIA THE INTERNET, TELEVISION, MAIL ORDER, PHONE OR FAX.
THESE METHODS ARE KNOWN AS DISTANCE SELLING BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HAVE FACE TO FACE CONTACT WITH THE PERSON YOU ARE BUYING FROM
What happens if you get the statement for your payment card and there is an item there which was bought by distance selling without your permission?
Contact your bank immediately
If the unauthorised payment was taken from your bank account for a purchase over the internet, by telephone or TV, you may have a right to get your money back.
Usually the bank will have a team of investigators who will look into it for you. If you claim that the use of the card was not authorised by you, it is for your bank to prove otherwise! As part of their procedures they may involve the police. Because of this, you should think carefully about whether it is possible that a member of your family may have used your card without your permission. This can happen, and if it has, you may prefer to sort out the problem yourself rather than involve the authorities.
The bank may be able to cancel the payment or put the money back into your account. If your card provider will not give you your money back, report them to Trading Standards (Citizens Advice Bureau can help you do this if necessary).
When you can’t get your money back
There are certain distance sale contracts that are not covered by the law. You would not automatically have the right to your money back if the fraudulent purchase was made for the following:
- Financial services e.g. insurance or banking
- Sale of land or buildings, except for certain rental agreements
- Sale of land plus construction of buildings (a contract to construct when the land is already owned by the consumer would be covered)
- Rental agreement of 3 years or more (one year or more in Scotland)
- Purchases from vending machines or automated commercial premises
- The use of a telecommunications operator through a public payphone
- Auctions, including internet auctions, unless a ‘buy now’ option is chosen and you bought from a business trader
If your card has been used fraudulently for buying goods or services listed above, you should still contact your bank. They will probably investigate for you, but you may not be able to get your money back.
If you have been a victim of fraud, you can contact Action Fraud, who offer advice, guidance and support for victims of fraud. You can contact them by telephone on 0300 123 2040 or find out more at www.actionfraud.org.uk
If you think you have been overcharged for goods or a service
Sometimes you might already have a contract for goods or services with a company and they may take more money from your card than you expected, or they may take an additional payment you don’t think you agreed to. Contact the company to dispute the extra charges. If they don’t help you contact your bank.