Card transactions by proxy

Roland Perry lists at
Wed Apr 6 12:59:21 BST 2011

In article <8DgGCF4wDEnNFAgg at>, Roland Perry 
<lists at> writes
>>Huge numbers of unauthorised DDs have been deducted by utility and 
>>other companies in the past few years and none of them have ever had 
>>their DD rights removed AFAIK, even when a consumer's complaint has 
>>been upheld.
>I suspect that by "unauthorised" you mean "in commercial dispute with 
>an existing customer" (I'll post an example shortly).

True story from about ten years ago:

Orange contract phone £30/month, which usually covered all the calls.

Invited to go to one of their shops to get a "free upgrade" phone. 
Checked it really was free, went in, signed some papers, walked out with 
new phone.

Next bill has £100 'upgrade charge' on it.

Contact Orange who eventually agree that it's a mistake. But "can't" 
change that month's £130 bill. And they "can't" issue a credit note 
against that month's bill, it will be against the following month 
(ending with at -£70 to pay, of course, then -£40, -£10, and finally 
£20). "Obviously" they also "can't" send me a £100 refund either.

What if I send a cheque for only £30 - "you will be in default and we'll 
flag that with credit agencies". And I know that if I contact the credit 
agencies they will say that the data belongs to orange and only Orange 
can change it. Orange's position will remain that I was £100 in default.

But at least I *could* only pay them £30, if I wanted to, because I paid 
by cheque. (I could also sue for the return of the £100, but that would 
probably take as long as waiting the 4 months for it to work its way 
through the system).

What if it was a Direct Debit? Simple - they'd take the £130.

What if I invoked the DD guarantee? That'd put me in default with Orange 
(see above), even if I also sent them a cheque for £30.

As a side issue, would the bank be able to refund me only £100, rather 
than the whole £130, and would they be happy that the refund was only an 
artefact of a commercial dispute, although in the circumstances it was 
genuinely describable as a "mistake"? And who pays any bank charges 
potentially incurred by the surprise extra £100 debit?

Meanwhile, when they saw the DD being refunded (and someone has said 
that this also cancels the DD arrangement) would Orange switch my phone 
off, if their T&C (to some extent understandably) said I had to have a 
payment mechanism in place in order to be a customer.

I'd like to think they'd wait until the £100 was used up, but that 
doesn't seem very likely.
Roland Perry

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