The “Something stupid” is actually me, or rather something I have done. This is intended as a cathartic rant of a post and may not make it past the publish button. Anyway, writing things out might help me to feel better and to act in a detached and adult manner.
A couple of weeks ago I made a stupid decision to click on an advertisement online, it was for a free trial of a certain product – no it was not viagra – but was a health product. Again being stupid I did not check the company out, but as I was only authorising a payment of £2.60 on my credit card (for postage) I saw no harm. Stupid…..stupid…….stupid.
Immediately I had pressed the send button I was uncomfortable. It was not a company I knew, though I had seen their adverts many a time, and I decided to cancel. The email address was nowhere to be found and a “confirmation of sale” email had already popped into my inbox – it was a no-reply address. There was a dodgy looking phone number – ie premium rate overseas – so I wasn’t going to try that. But I did google the number and found it was a well-known scam.
Straightaway I phoned my bank and was assured that providing my card was cancelled, debits would only get through for one month, then I was safe. Also, I could flag up any fraudulent amounts and they would be stopped. I explained we were going away for a week or so and the nice young operative said no bother, he would cancel the account and issue a new card and then he would watch my account daily and see that nothing untoward happened. On coming home I checked the account only to find an unauthorised debit of £125 – I got onto the bank to ask what had gone wrong. This is where the story unravels – along with my temper. The advice of Operative #1 was wrong – because I had given my card details it meant that I had authorised whatever payments the company wanted to put through. I could only dispute them with the company, after which my redress was through the bank’s fraud dept and maybe even the police.
I jumped up and down and asked why I couldn’t just say not to pay anything at all, ever, to this particular company, only to be told it was not possible. Even if I closed down the credit card completely it would make no odds. Visa was obliged to pay them and then chase me for the money. Even if I closed all my bank dealings (current account, savings, credit card) with the bank, they would still just chase me. I could only hand it over to their disputes dept.
It seems to me that banks are rogues. Sorry, but I have felt like this since the first time a local bank took over a client’s insurance account (I was an insurance broker at the time) by “leaning” on him because he wanted a loan for his business. And I have been as upset as most of the country at the way banks are bailed out by public money and yet still find cash to pay themselves large bonuses.
Yes, I am stupid. Yes, the law is wrong. Yes, banks are immoral. The trouble is that we need them.
What do you think?