Credit Card..? Still Valid When Expired?! ‘…LAZARUS’ !! #CPA’s Part II

From No More Excuses

Well it seems so…

After lengthy talks with the retailer concerned in this retail fiasco of using EXPIRED Credit Cards – for whatever reasons – it seems they intend to carry on happy with that format (their representative was based in the Phillipines just so you know).

Which is a woeful shame and pity (the practise not the place).

So we have a major impasse by a major worldwide retailer ready to flounce what Laws we have here in the UK – and the EU – and I suspect elsewhere too.

Quick recap then. MAJOR Retailer is using EXPIRED Credit Cards to force through payments by getting previous details of the card from a MAJOR CREDIT CARD operator.

They claim this is permitted under a ‘Continuous Payment Authority’. (They make no apology for doing so…)

It ISN’T.

Ever since I’ve been in Retail & Finance (and banking) some flourtiy years…err, Hmmm! Anything done with Credit Cards via normal retail and now online retail is and has been covered by the Consumer Credit Act. That clearly states that such any and all transactions can only be done using a VALID…. I’ll repeat… *VALID* card.

It is drilled into merchants up and down the land and Banks and other card issuing Institutions.

Thus when this rouse was explained to my bank they initially baulked and shuddered in disbelief. Subsequently after speaking again to them they admitted to having a system in place where they will ‘flag up’ ANY ‘Continuous Payment Authority’ irrespective if notified by customers.

Do I still want to call it ‘ILLEGAL’…

Well what do you call using  EXPIRED credit card details? I called it ‘Lazarus’! Literally raising the dead. So you tell me, using an INVALID Credit Card is correctly BANNED by the Act.

It is FRAUD should you contravene the Consumer Credit Act. Any card transaction not covered by the Act is BANNED (and to be sure, by implied terms using an INVALID card is BANNED).

I suspect the real reason I couldn’t speak to the Credit Card company concerned is the mere use of the word ‘illegal’. Hope they did shudder. But then again the whole of using Continuous Payment Authority as a means to make a card transaction is still contentious despite being refined in 2009. A sore point.

However, here we are. You must use a valid card at all times, they can only accept a valid card at all times. I do not see it any other way. There is no excuse not to.

My bank/card issuer is to be applauded if they can stop EXPIRED cards from being used within their system. Right answer deserves a mention for good service. Well done Tesco Bank.

Now to stop the Credit Card company. No More Excuses. No more Pandora’s box.

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#CPA’s ..this time on an EXPIRED card…!! ‘Continuous Payment Authority’ ?!

From No More Excuses

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.

Worse…

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.

#CAB ‘…a cunning plan?!’ Curious thing Banks..!

From No More Excuses

Well there’s a funny thing..

What struck me recently was something ‘..Out Of The Blue’, not the well known revue my late Mother starred in, but an idea from the very bastion of impartial advice the whole of the UK respects without question.  No, not Which? the other lot… ‘Our’ Citizens Advice Bureau.

And I say ‘Our’ with a fond affection to all those who give their time effort and in many cases, their own money to offer what is the first line of help and defence against anything and everything rogue this country has to offer. The guys on the front line really don’t know what each day will bring, it literally could be anything.

But getting good advice is one thing. You need impartiality to hopefully help people back from despair, or at least to provide stability via their own commitment and pointing in the right direction.

So when they, raise the subject of  banks – a subject very dear to my heart – I tend to read it with the devout intensity of a preying mantis. This though came as a little bit of a surprise, and not just to me!

Just in passing…

One thing all of us have in common – in this battleground of the impoverished – is that we want the banks at last to begin to recognise the importance of providing the most basic of bank accounts. No need to rant on this, save of mentioning again that the trials now in progress by the Bank of Ireland, introducing three new accounts could prove a boon to many, solely for the reason that it extends access to thousands across the UK hitherto removed from day to day banking.

In it’s own right, I find it rather ironic that the very home of what was the National Savings on the High Street, the Post Office, could see an upswing in volume traffic – amongst other things – somewhat of a return to the day of saving stamps and the ‘PO’ account of childhood memories. For latter-day devotees not so ancient,  harken back to the Girobank. Sold off to the Alliance & Leicester now part of Santander.

Then of course there are the ambitions of the Credit Unions to bring the ethos of regular saving with, if needed, small personal loans to members. Micro loans – if you wish – something which could end the monopoly of the ever increasing plague of Pay-Day loans and their infuriating interest rates (which should be made illegal by bringing back Usury), also at one stage rumoured to utilise the Post Office network.

Sad, so very sad, that so many were closed across the UK.

A Rather Consuming Interest..

However, more pertinent  to good advice is not to send people off to a particular bank or institution for one/a particular product. All I/we can do is illustrate the merits of each, more guidance than advice as no recompense is sought or gained. What can’t be done is to advise banks on what each particular type of account should carry as part of its individual  ‘…charm’.

So for many reasons I chuckled when I read a blog/missive from the desk of the CAB. For there are very sound reasons why this wouldn’t pass muster, well at least in my book. In that I chuckled really isn’t true, it was more of a grimace with a curled lip.

Reminded though I was about the miscreant failings of banks in recent years neatly linked to the up and coming changes across the industry, I’m still not convinced that this light-bulb moment, hasn’t been devoured by the institutions before. In fact it has.

Why therefore do we have all these so called products available in the retail areas of each branch/online/call centres. The introduction of packaged accounts bristling with so-called goodies is the very meat of today’s banking, simply because it produces a better return to banks concerned.

Remember when you went – cap in hand – pleading for a loan to buy the car/or whatever, our/your friendly bank manager sat there drooling all over your file weighing up the pro’s and con’s of those awful purchases ‘you’ made last year. Are you a safe risk…? Well wasn’t that the information now so wanting to be packaged up and sold?!

Ok, upgrade a few years to today’s high-tech evils, the real question is do we really want these minutiae of details to be flogged off to the highest bidder?? Bluntly, NO!

I’ll tender the fact that as consumers we’ve all been blustered and blundered into purchases by virtue of this very ploy. From the humble tea-bag upwards.

Now…let the banks use the information – our information- for a profit! Good grief, give me a penny for every time someone has tried to get information out of them when needed? And forgive my cynicism when there’s a remote chance that this ‘moot’ has already been trialled.

One step too far…

Primarily, how can/could one bank operate a comparison site when others didn’t and by the same token, would it want another bank to even think about hitting on what they would perceive as ‘their’ territory.

Within that concept, do you apply the idea to all accounts, or just to fee-based accounts. (Think latter).

Then again there are already existing comparison sites for all manner of ‘STUFF‘ and all bend over backwards to prove their impartiality. (Don’t forget, they get their ‘finders fee’ too).

Banks per se are individual beasts, if you were. They only like selling their products to their customers. Stamp it with their logo and it becomes ‘..the brand’ maximising what’s left of their loyalty base. An advertising and marketing nightmare in itself.

Then of course, having said that…how could any one bank be that impartial?! […product wise of course!] In that this could  predominately link itself to the energy part of the Utilities market raises more than an eyebrow of discontent.

This list however  suggests our daily usage from phone to television, travel to energy could be covered even by the setting up of separate ‘saving accounts’ to amass the benefits. Get the best deals and bag the savings. Great, but all your accounts become one for purposes of consolidation when your loan, mortgage, overdraft become due and outstanding. Awkward.

If for some reason the minefield of the Data Protection Act doesn’t preclude this chummy inter-alien sharing pound-fest to take place, don’t ring me. It thus becomes a product, another product for a select and very few punters only. Can we just get the basics sorted first.

Ah! But….

On the other side of the coin, it does seem very reasonable for the CAB to proffer this. It is after all only a suggestion. But I haven’t come to ‘…bury Caesar’ far from it.

Take this message/update from the same good offices, 10th May 2013, it bears good news with a cautioned approach. Something  which at last gives some hope to answering the call for a basic bank account revival. But it still hasn’t silenced the detractors of this world. It does however illustrate just how hard it has been for all campaigners in this effort. From what was a brick wall basically built of continual refusals, some light is now shining.

All this as the banks, their cohorts, legions, their beloved association the BBA have fought and tooth and nail to resist this. To big to fail but of course we are to shoulder the blame.

So a ‘Hat-Tip’ is in order. The CAB should be braided into a seasonal and daily accolade of unlimited praise. Therefore, can we take the lapse into product development as a figurative doodle over a cup of strong tea, it confuses the picture – a bit.

Before you go…

Having mentioned energy, albeit fleetingly, could anyone who has encountered difficulties with the energy plan Heatwise and getting the meter removed, like to contact me. You’re likely to be in the Midlands in a relatively new…new build property. Most probably you’re finding that the summer bills are staggering, as well as the estimates.

There is a strong possibility of returning/getting a standard/Economy7 meter installed. Please contact me via Twitter in the first instance by following. Sadly there aren’t/can’t be, any template letter solutions in this instance. But in short, yes, it can be done. However, there are no guarantees as everyone is different as you’ll appreciate.