Friday, 8 November 2013

Money That's What I Want

As readers will recall I had a 'disputed transaction' with my bank over a number of theatre tickets from an internet company called Seatwave paid for with my card, transactions which I did not make.

When I reported the disputed transaction I subsequently received a letter which initiated the very much anticipated “nothing to do with us” response. The letter stated:
I would like to point out that this transaction has been initiated through ‘Verified by Visa’ or VBV. With transactions like these where VBV has been used as a verification tool, all details processed are fully authenticated against your personal information held with [my bank] before authorisation will be granted

As a result [my bank] do not have any immediate chargeback rights which would enable us to retrieve your funds. We are therefore only able to advise that you continue your dispute with the merchants directly if further resolve is needed.

If I could help you further I would, but unfortunately my hands are completely tied, as in accordance with the operating rules and regulations we have no chargeback claim against the merchant’s banker’s for this circumstance.
Nice try. Clearly there is reluctance to even investigate and instead to try to pass the buck hoping to fob us off. The law somewhat differs. My response sent yesterday was as follows:
Dear Ms xxxxx


Thank you for your letter, dated 30th October, regarding the dispute on our debit card with Seat Wave Tickets debited 28th October 2013.

It is with considerable regret that we cannot accept your explanation that you are unable to reimburse our account due to your hands being tied because it was “Verified by Visa”.

My wife and I did not authorise this transaction. Not only were we unaware of the company Seat Wave Tickets until it appeared on our statement (we had to Google it), but crucially my wife is disabled, thus wheelchair-bound, therefore any trip to the theatre requires liaising with them directly due to disability requirements. This is a situation reflected in our joint account records which show no such transactions with theatre ticket internet sites for many years.

As I’m sure you are aware FCA Rule BCOBS 5.1.11R states:
"(1) Where a banking customer denies having authorised a payment, it is for the firm to prove that the payment was authorised.

(2) Where a payment from a banking customer's account was not authorised by the banking customer, a firm must, within a reasonable period, refund the amount of the unauthorised payment to the banking customer and, where applicable, restore the banking customer's account to the state it would have been in had the unauthorised payment not taken place."
Succinctly put it means that it is for [my bank] to prove we did authorise this transaction, which cannot be proved precisely because we did not. Therefore we consider this an unresolved unauthorised transaction.

Please take this letter as a formal request to investigate further and reimburse our account accordingly. If you are unable to do so then we request that you escalate this unauthorised transaction via normal internal escalation procedures.

We look forward to your prompt reply.
Yours sincerely
The letter was sent by Special Delivery and arrived just before midday today, at around 2pm our account was credited with the full amount.

I have to say it has been resolved a little quicker than I expected. I anticipated I would have to request a 'Letter of deadlock' before taking it to the ombudsman.

It doesn't stop banks trying it on though.


  1. Played citizen Frog. I have nicked the text of this post for my own shouting match with [my bank].


    1. No problem Sniper, good luck with your own bank. let us know how you get on.

  2. Oh well done you, BF!!!!
    Would that we were all quite so clued up.....

  3. Good job.. have had to send too many letters to banks and the like over the years, always good to see a success story

    1. Thanks, like you I've had to send many letters over the years - practice makes perfect :-)