Home Money My 78-year-old dad was conned for £3,745 but his bank won’t refund it: DEAN DUNHAM replies

My 78-year-old dad was conned for £3,745 but his bank won’t refund it: DEAN DUNHAM replies

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Consumer rights lawyer Dean Dunham says it was a mistake for the bank to refuse help.

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My father, aged 78, was duped into transferring £3,745 to a fraudster posing as a pensions specialist.

We asked the bank if they would refund him, but they refused to help us, saying he should have known it was a scam. They said he ignored banking warnings issued on the banking app, even though he only banks in branches. Why was he blamed for this? Email software

Consumer rights lawyer Dean Dunham says it was a mistake for the bank to refuse help.

Consumer rights lawyer Dean Dunham says it was a mistake for the bank to refuse help.

Consumer rights lawyer Dean Dunham responds: Most banks subscribe to the Conditional Reimbursement Model (CRM) code, a voluntary program designed to provide greater protection to customers against authorized push payment scams (APP scams).

Banks adhering to the code commit to taking steps to increase customer awareness of scams and, importantly, to refunding customers who have been victims of an APP scam in certain circumstances.

Your bank is clearly subscribed to the program, which is good news, but they refused to help your father, in my opinion, wrongly.

According to the code, the starting assumption is that victims of APP scams should be reimbursed unless one of the exceptions applies. The most common exceptions are:

  • The client ignored the effective warnings given by the bank;
  • The customer has not taken appropriate action following a clearly negative beneficiary confirmation result – this is where the bank details do not match those of the beneficiary.
  • The customer made the payment without any reasonable reason to believe it was genuine.

However, where the victim is classified as “vulnerable”, these exceptions do not apply. The problem is that the code does not provide a precise list of those who will be classified as “vulnerable”, so that banks can take advantage of it.

Instead, it states that if the combination of a person’s individual circumstances and the scam itself means that it was not reasonable to expect that person to have protected themselves, then they should always have their money returned.

The code refers to these people as “vulnerable to APP scams”. Your dad is 78 years old and clearly doesn’t use a banking app, which means he almost certainly hasn’t seen any warnings. The scam was also clearly sophisticated. This combination, in my opinion, left him vulnerable, meaning the bank should have paid him back. His next step now is to lodge a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Why was my claim for a defective microwave rejected?

I bought a microwave from a local independent trader and when I got home I discovered it was faulty. The trader ignores me and when I made a section 75 claim it was rejected on the grounds that the goods cost less than £100. It actually cost £109, but the merchant split the card transaction into two consecutive payments. Was it to avoid article 75? DN by email

Dean Dunham responds: When the merchant split the transaction into two payments, this may have been done with the intention of taking away your rights under a section 75 claim, but unfortunately for them, this was a unsuccessful exercise.

Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the credit card company is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer or trader, where the goods are purchased with a credit card.

Here, as the microwave is defective, the law on consumer rights comes into play and this provides that the merchant must offer you a free repair or replacement or reimburse you. As the trader ignored you, this amounts to a breach of contract, which is one of the two essential conditions for a Section 75 claim.

The other essential condition is that the goods cost more than £100 and this is where the trader (if he intended, we suspect) and your bank got confused. The condition is therefore that the goods – in this case the microwave – cost more than £100, not that you have paid more than £100 on your card.

Even if you pay 1p with your credit card, as long as the goods cost more than £100 you will be covered by section 75. In your case the microwave costs £109 and that makes no difference than the card transaction has been split in two. , you are always covered.

Your bank simply got it wrong, so ask them to reconsider. If you refuse, you must file a complaint with the financial mediation service.

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