Something is so very wrong
Back in 2009 the wheeze of ‘recurring payments’ or the Continuous Payment Authority was dealt a hefty blow. The changes meant that the customer could at last instruct for such payments to cease, where previously it was at the discretion of the merchant once you had committed to a pernicious cycle.
It marked a triumph for common sense but how it got passed the regulators first time completely defeated me. So many people got stitched up by this jolly jape of seemingly never-ending payments off the card of your choice. A great deal though for the retailer and particularly if they happened to be overseas, and one of the main reasons for the rule change.
However, this new safeguard still had perils and many will recall the guidance of the day and to date, steer clear of this product or proceed under caution. Just be fully aware, as ever and always.
The tale of warning should have been more evident to me than others you would think, but even I got stung before these new rules came into force. I actually had to declare my card lost and therefore void to effect a closure to payments. That in itself started a blaze of correspondence in which the retailer never answered emails asking for a repayment, and just plain ignored to answer anything except for trying every sales trick in the book to get me to re-sign, all for a blasted sale. Bloody pay TV.
The Bank declined to take the matter further and voiding the card was a simpler option for them at that time. Who said us guys have it easy. I’d really love to spend an inordinate amount of time in explaining who this malevolent company was. Their shoddy product and all else.
So, are we talking sales?
Yes basically, at least, if I said that there was no sale could this happen? The answer also is yes! For we have moved on to new territory. We now have a different company in a credit card transaction via a regulated Bank and a regulated Credit Card company both by and in the UK. Whatever happens the end result still requires the transaction to be sanctioned in the UK, and even then similar rules apply in other countries. Now I am not talking Pay-Day Loans, so how can this happen;
* An expired credit card was permitted to be used in a sales transaction
* The card details were deleted from the retailer’s site thus previously held and invalid information was used
* No up-to-date card details were entered onto any connected site of the retailer or security code details
* The retailer confirmed the transaction by separate email and verbally
* The retailer advised/admitted that irrespective of such they had a Continuous Payment Authority in effect
Firstly I ask myself is any part of this illegal. My answer, unsurprisingly is YES, in every part, allegedly…!! [required]
For you cannot make or complete a sale, any sale online without the complete details of a ‘CURRENT’ credit card – any card – and it requires the input by the merchant of a three figure security code to secure validation from the issuing bank or institution, where there is or is not a pin or password input from the card holder. Try it without and see. If you’re successful you’ve committed a fraud. More likely is that you’re using an invalid card. Or worse…! [hint]
Try also to enter no card details in the normal manner, and you would have to do so manually within permitted limits from the issuing credit card company and the operating card franchise. This is normally a nominal figure per transaction say £100 requiring no further authorisation. In other words a manual transaction. This would require therefore deliberately retaining or giving previous details of invalid and expired cards so to do. And you’d have to be the merchant concerned.
Now in all this, there is the part of the sale itself and it is somewhat tinged with irony. The product is a household name particularly well known in the field of computer security. You no doubt are using it now. You too have had no doubt received emails urging – sorry – telling you to update your details and blatantly using overtly manipulative techniques to get you to do so, perhaps upon renewal date or just before. Emotional blackmail really and it mainly works.
The Credit Card is separate from my Bank and deliberately so for different reasons. This you might say is a good reason. But not if this can occur, at least it isolates it to highlight that it does and can occur.
Obviously it befalls to one of the major card providers as license holders. So between the three of them you have it.
Contacting them, is a different matter. The card provider couldn’t put anyone up to comment nor myself in direct contact with their fraud department. My Credit Card issuer wanted to treat the matter as a refund and couldn’t see what I was getting at.
Have a giggle.. Seriously!
To compound this and getting the last laugh is the retailer. When contacted they of course denied everything, blatantly stating they had this Continuous Payment Authority anyway. Until that is I pointed out they still needed a valid card. I also pointed I didn’t need them as I was getting their own product from elsewhere – which is true, from my new phone and broadband provider AND CHEAPER.
Silence…! Then an eruption of well that’s Ok then I’ll organise a refund. Gone was the BS and you do as we say attitude, but insodoing compounded their guilt in the matter. Please note this carefully, only when satisfied they still had a sale, then and only then was even the mention of refund offered. That’s the proof that indeed it was a motivated action – one of regularity one of intent – solely for gain and using less than legal methods so to do.
If I tell you that they didn’t ask me for any new card details, therefore I am getting my refund, using the self same details illegally garnered in the first place. You seriously just can not make this up.
This goes on day in day out. It squeezes through as these are annual payments and in the main punters find out too late to do anything. The actions of one are compounded by two others but equally complicit for it happening as everybody gains financially except the card holder who is paying.
Loophole or mass fraud? In my opinion I’ve seen Pandora’s Box open. May the OFT take particular delight in throwing the book at them all. Just how many thousands have unwittingly got caught by this could be staggering. Allegedly of course but I have a habit of finding undesirable things, unfortunately, and experience has an edge.
Not only are the OFT being made aware of this but every other regulatory body under the sun. And of course it’s here for all and sundry to read. Initially all I can warn people of is not to enter into any Continuous Payment Authority whatsoever, unless of course you know you have to. I cant say it stronger than that.