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A trader has taken £500 more than I owe him from my debit card

(23 Posts)
Dreamgirl1111 Thu 30-Jan-14 15:43:03

I orderd a garage door from a company (sole trader). I gave my debit card details over the phone to pay £500 deposit. The total of the invoice was £1081.12. When the door was ready, I called to pay the balance of £581.12. A few months later, when I was going through my card statements, I discovered that they have withdrawn £500 extra, without my knowledge or consent. I have not even given permission for them to keep my card details.
I contacted them to request a refund and they said that they have instructed Worldpay and that I will receive a refund within 30 days. This money never arrived. In the meantime I raised a dispute with my bank and the bank refunded me the money.
However, a month later, the bank withdrew the money, saying that the merchant have shown them evidence that this transaction was valid.
The bank would not explain what kind of evidence was shown and refused to discuss the matter further.
I wrote back to the merchant, he told me to ask my bank, pretends that he does not know "what am I about" ant threathens me with solicitors for harrassment. He says that he has paid me back, but he hasn't. I have all my bank statements to prove.
I cannot afford to pay a solicitor in order to get advice.
Please, help!

DameDeepRedBetty Thu 30-Jan-14 15:48:07

Have you tried Citizen's Advice Bureau yet?

Dreamgirl1111 Thu 30-Jan-14 17:16:54

I do not know if they will deal with such case. I will go tomorrow and enquire.

prh47bridge Thu 30-Jan-14 17:23:55

There are two possibilities here:

- the bank has messed up
- the merchant is lying

I'd start with the bank. Tell them that the merchant denies having produced evidence that the transaction was valid and insists that he does not have your £500. Ask them to investigate.

If you are certain the merchant has your money write to them saying you will take legal action if your money isn't returned and set a deadline. If the merchant fails to return your money you can then take action in the small claims court. You won't need a solicitor.

Wearegoingtobedlehem Thu 30-Jan-14 17:24:06

You need to ask the bank to show you the evidence they were given by the trader to prove the transaction was legit.
Who do you bank with?
I had a whole lot of trouble with a few fraudulent transactions on a debit card a few years back- so have limited experience of the situation.

Wearegoingtobedlehem Thu 30-Jan-14 17:25:41

Although granted this may not be fraudulent per se- it may be an error on your banks part as mentioned above

munkysea Thu 30-Jan-14 19:32:51

Were you given a written quote or invoice? That will prove that the trader has taken more than you owe him.

nickymanchester Thu 30-Jan-14 20:40:26

prh47bridge really knows what she/he is talking about.

I would follow her advice.

Dreamgirl1111 Fri 31-Jan-14 10:34:18

I bank with Santander.
They told me that their deceission is final, although I've sent them the invoice, clearly showing the money I owed this merchant and sending them a copy of the e mail where he said that he had instructed Worldpay to make the refund (which is his admittance that the transaction was not valid). He never made that refund.
It is unbeleivable that the bank would side with someone who has unlawfully stolen money from my account.
The merchant has not responded to my questions about why did he wrote to the bank and what documents has he sent them. Obviously, he knows he is in the wrong and does not want to admit it as it can be used against him. He just ingnores my questions.
As for the small claims court. What should I write in my claim?
I do not know how best to word my accusations.

DorothyGherkins Fri 31-Jan-14 10:40:00

Sort it out and change banks. I hate Santander. You cant have a proper conversation with anyone, nobody listens to what you are saying, it takes ages to sort anything. Their communication is awful. My new bank acoount is active in two days, I can't wait.

Dont give up, its your money, you havent approved this transaction.

OliviaBenson Fri 31-Jan-14 10:42:35

Could you try the banks fraud team? Given you have got evidence of the invoice. This is terrible op- I hope you are able to get it sorted out.

prh47bridge Fri 31-Jan-14 12:55:52

Even though the bank says its decision is final I would still ask them to check again on the basis that the trader says he did not provide the evidence they claim and also says does not have your money.

For the small claims court you simply state the facts:

You ordered a garage door from the merchant on date X and paid a deposit of £500 against an agreed total price of £1081.12. You paid the balance on date Y. You subsequently discovered that the trader took an additional £500 on date Z. You disputed this payment with the bank who initially returned the £500 but subsequently withdrew it again (give dates for these transactions too), claiming that the merchant has provided evidence that this is a valid transaction. The bank will not discuss the matter with you any further. You wrote to the trader on (whatever date you do) giving him 2 weeks (or whatever other deadline you choose - make sure it is reasonable) to refund your money. He has failed to do so. You are therefore claiming £500 plus your court costs.

I still don't think you know for sure that the merchant has your money. That seems the most likely scenario but it could be that the bank has messed up completely and still has your money. If the bank continues to refuse to discuss the matter with you I would name them as co-defendants. That way the court can sort out who actually has your money.

Musicaltheatremum Fri 31-Jan-14 17:11:03

Could you write to the banking ombudsman?

tb Sat 01-Feb-14 16:02:06

Financial problem page with the Daily Telegraph or other similar newspaper. I can't remember if they can't help if you've been to the financial ombudsman or if you have to go that route, first. Worth checking in the paper - think this column is in Saturday's edition.

vj32 Sat 01-Feb-14 20:15:10

Go to the financial ombudsman if you have exhausted the bank's complaints process. Gets the bank an automatic £1,000 fine (or used to anyway!).

Dreamgirl1111 Wed 05-Feb-14 09:49:44

Thank you all. I will try the ombudsman. I wrote a pre-court letter to the trader, giving him 14 days to make the refund. He wrote back, saying that he will send the paperwork to his chartered accountant, but to look at the paperwork will take them more than 45 days. Is that really true? Does it really take that long? It takes me half an hour to look at my bank statements. He wrote that he will not be responsible for my court charges should I press and go ahead. Should I go to the police? After all, this is a fraud and a theft. What would the police do?

Greenkit Wed 05-Feb-14 10:14:36

I think yu should go to the police, this is theft

Dreamgirl1111 Wed 05-Feb-14 12:11:12

I am really scared of this man. He is very rough and agressive. I wrote a review on Google+ for his company, explaining all the problems I had with him. (He also did not deliver the door for four months, untill I filed in the small claims court ). He went absolutely mad about the review, threatenned me with court for slander and that he will claim thousands of pounds for loss of business. He gave me one hour to withdraw the review.
He now threatens me with solicitors for harrassment. He knows where I live and knows that I have no help from anyone ( a single mother).

Unexpected Wed 05-Feb-14 12:25:56

You need to tell all of this to the police, and quickly. I don't suppose there is any chance that any of his threats are in writing or an email?

Dreamgirl1111 Wed 05-Feb-14 13:45:13

Yes, they are on e mail. But what would the police do? Isn't this a civil matter? He has not completely refused to make the refund, but postponed his reply by 45 days.

MortaIWombat Wed 05-Feb-14 13:59:33

If he has a workshop in London, I know some people who could "sort it out" for you... wink grin

TribbleWithoutATardis Fri 07-Feb-14 06:44:16

The threats are not a civil matter, bit sketchy about the money. It does no harm to ring and ask to speak to a Police Officer.

prh47bridge Fri 07-Feb-14 09:07:58

The money is not necessarily theft or fraud. If either the trader or the bank has simply made a mistake that is not a criminal offence. I would treat it as a civil matter at this stage.

Threatening to talk to his solicitors about harassment and threatening to sue for slander if a review is not removed is not a police matter. If there have been other threats it may be but he is as entitled as anyone else to get his solicitor to intervene if he thinks you are being unreasonable, however wrong he may be.

I would not accept the 45 day delay he is proposing. That is unnecessary. You have set a deadline. Stick to it. If he doesn't refund the money take action against him.

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