Questions of Cash: RBS knew fraudsters were at work ... but let them through


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Q. In July I received an automated message on my phone asking if I had made six payments recently. The last one, for £697.31, I did not recognise. It was refused by Royal Bank of Scotland, which told me it would only be paid if represented by the company. I assumed that was the end of the matter.

A few days later I checked my account to find that the amount had been represented and gone through. I phoned the RBS fraud team and was interviewed by them. They advised me that they had been informed by the police about these known fraudsters and my money would be refunded later that day. It was.

But why, if they were notified by the police and stopped the first payment, did they allow the second one through?

I was advised my debit card had been compromised and I was issued with a new one. But now I have been denied access to my account as it is has been used by someone else. Money has again been taken "fraudulently".

When I phoned the fraud team again, I was advised that I should have received, signed and returned forms confirming the transaction was fraudulent. I did not receive the forms and I feel RBS should have contacted me to ask why I had not returned them, rather than assume I was now approving the payment. I am furious. KY, Yorkshire.

A. We share your surprise that the non-delivery of a letter should lead RBS to assume that a payment you reported as fraudulent was now approved for clearance. But the system for dealing with fraudulent payments apparently lets this happen.

A spokesman for RBS said: "We identified a payment taken from [the reader's] account, which we reimbursed the next day to make sure he was not left out of pocket. Our process requires any customer who is a victim of this type of fraud to sign a declaration form to authorise [that] it is, in fact, a fraudulent transaction and to prevent it being taken again. We mailed a copy to the customer, but unfortunately it didn't reach him. We have mailed further copies to him."

Mercedes-Benz has let me down on service

Q. I purchased a used Mercedes-Benz B-Class from its Watford dealer in February. From the outset there were problems. When driving at high speed there was a vibration at the rear of the car. It turns out there was a bulge in the tyre, which the staff say they noticed as I drove out of the dealership.

A bonnet catch was also defective, so I couldn't open the bonnet, and the rear wiper didn't work.

These were all fixed under the 12-month warranty, but only after a great deal of effort on my part. Calls go unanswered and the car has been into the workshop four times in four months. I don't know how the dealer failed to notice a bright orange bonnet catch hanging down in the footwell next to the pedals. This car costs me £335 a month and I don't feel confident driving it, waiting for the next warning light to come on. I want Mercedes-Benz to extend the warranty, which runs out in April, for another year. LB, Herts.

A. The company disagrees and there is no obvious legal reason why the warranty should be extended, though we sympathise with your view. Angus Fitton, a spokesman for Mercedes-Benz, says: "To have been inconvenienced as a result of these faults taking longer than we'd hope to fix is particularly regrettable. I'm relieved ... [they] have now been rectified.

"Every warranty claim made on [the reader's] B-Class has been met in full and without question – likewise, we investigated the problem reported with the tyre on the car as soon as it was raised. Unfortunately, the time having passed, and with over 3,000 miles accrued on the vehicle between it leaving the dealer and the problem being reported, meant we were unable to award further goodwill."

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