Something stupid

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?

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12 Responses to Something stupid

  1. Liz says:

    Perhaps worth trying a consumer rights organisation. Seems to me from what you describe that something illegal is going on. You authorised £2.99, not “anything” they care to ask for. Most of us give card details all the time, mostly to companies we know but sometimes they are not so well known – all companies have to start somewhere. If the company is uncontactable that in itself is an issue. I can see that you may have to wait for your £125 but they must be able to stop further payments.

    Does your bank say they record calls? If operative 1 gave you specific advice you are entitled to believe them. And the bank is liable for advice given by its workers.

    The Oban Times today ran an article about a man getting “gost” charged double by Tescos and having to wait several days to get his money back even though it meant he then didn’t have the money for other necessities. That’s a scam from a big company.

    You are not stupid, just human! And unfortunate! I’m glad you went for the publish button – reminds us all to be ever vigilant. Do hope you get it sorted soon.

  2. freda says:

    Thanks, Liz, I have sent all the guff onto the Disputes Dept of the bank concerned and am hoping that I get some better news soon. In the meantime I shall have to remember to check my account a couple of times a day in case it happens again. It will have to be in banking hours, in case I need to shout at an operative!

  3. Mina says:

    Early on in the e-technology age I had my bank account raided. Fortunately I had made a telephone call to speak to a real person and found this out. It was cleared within a day – all monies sorted and I was not out of pocket. But – ahhh – that was in the days before call-centres and operatives only interested in their own commission. Cynical or what. I just don’t trust any money people nowadays. Keep a close watch on all transactions seems to be the watch-word of the day.

  4. Good luck, Freda. God willing you will get your payment back, since you have no product, and they have no proof that they have sent you anything for your £125. I’ve had fraudulent charges reversed twice–but was unsuccessful once–£400 poorer, alas.
    Well, you and we, your readers certainly won’t make that error again!!

  5. Chancy says:

    I think VISA should so after the scammers.
    Visa should make you whole on the money the crooks took from you.
    The bank should also be held responsible for the error the person you first spoke with made.

    You have every right to be angry, sickened, and frightened.
    You ned someone in your corner to fight for you.

  6. Lydia says:

    I think my stomach is doing flip-flops, that’s what I think! and I think you are not stupid. I can imagine this happening to me, in spite of how careful I am of shopping and making payments online. But I am not one who refuses to use those online services, so am aware that there is a risk involved. Your case will make me pause moments longer from now on, and maybe even check out a company beforehand.

    I also think that your bank is a real schmuck. As are banks in general. I loathe banks. I wish the citizens of the world would amass and refuse to put up with what banks have gotten away with. I simply have no respect for banks and could never work for one. Speaking of work, prior work, I was an insurance agent back in the 1970s so was interested to read that you had been an insurance broker. I must say that insurance companies rank pretty low on my list — not as low as banks, who are the lowest of the low, but waaaaay down on the list!

    What businesses do I actually admire? Non-profits that are truly non-profitable charities and not in business to make some board of directors wealthy. Along that line, the best place to check on these kinds of organizations is through Charity Navigator.

    I am so sorry that you experienced this mess, Freda, and I hope it all clears up without additional angst and stress.

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  8. I use American Express and have a monthly charge that protects me from any bone-headed thing I might do or fradulent misuse not of my doing. I only pay about $60 per year for this service, and the peace of mind it gives me makes it worthwhile. I have had my wallet taken from my purse (at Whole Foods, believe it or not) and have had someone hijack my card number online and use it. AE immediately handled the problem both times. They aren’t kidding when they say, “Don’t leave home without it.” Even if you lose it, they don’t. Good luck with your problem. I would fire that credit card company and go with one that offers a better deal. My 2 cents. Dianne

  9. freda says:

    It’s good to know that I am not alone in my view of banks and credit card companies. Right now I have to check my credit card statement every day in case anything else creeps on. I am not using it for any purchases myself – (so there!) The details are in the hands of their Disputes Dept., so all I can do is wait and see what happens.

  10. LC says:

    Not stupid, but vulnerable. Now we are all just a spur-of-the-moment click away from something, as Dianne terms it, “boneheaded.” Thanks for the ranting reminder.

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  12. Sheila says:

    Ugggh! A good heads up and unfortunately for you it is a heads up for the rest of us. You are not stupid…it could happen to anyone and it does sadly.

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