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Stop banks and card companies paying against your will

Comment 20th July 2010

Alter or remove all financial transaction codes or regulations that allow banks and card companies to continue with a payment out of a customer’s account once they have received knowledge from the account holder that the transaction attempt was botched, duplicated, unauthorised or otherwise unwanted.

 

In my case, I went onto a site I considered safe, SNCF, and three days later discovered a debit to my account for trips valued about £200. I had made an attempt to book but the transaction never reached the completed stage on screen nor did I ever receive the standard email confirmation with a booking reference. On ringing the bank to try to stop the debit I was told that simply because I had supplied my card details to the merchant (sic), they had to work to rules that deemed the transaction must be genuine. Therefore they would have to let it go through.  

Why does this matter?

Transaction administration procedures must catch up with the realities of on-line booking and advance payments systems which are far from perfect. Equally, they place the parties at great distance from each other making dispute resolution or recovery of unauthorised payments time-consuming and costly for the customer. In my case, imagine the problems I was facing when the only visible ‘evidence’  of the alleged ‘transaction’ was the existence of a debit amount on my statement showing a meaningless trader-supplied reference. It's an insult to the notion of a fair society that not only as a customer of a bank can information about a transaction I supply be belittled and disregarded but, following the crisis, also as a subsidiser. 

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