Money Grouse: Carelessness with a card costs pounds 25

Friday 20 August 1993 23:02

ALEXANDER Kleanthous has a credit card with Save & Prosper and is furious about the pounds 25 fee the company now charges to replace lost or stolen cards.

S&P introduced the fee at the beginning of this month and has already imposed it on between 50 and 60 customers. This means the company has collected up to pounds 1,500 in charges.

Mr Kleanthous is outraged, having been attracted to S&P by a credit card that does not charge an annual fee.

He believes that S&P opens itself to increased risk of losses from fraud as a result of the charge.

'Cardholders are, rightly, exhorted to report their cards lost or stolen as soon as they notice that they are missing. However, if they know that this is going to cost them pounds 25, they will be tempted to hang on for a day or two to see if the card turns up, giving the thief time for a spending spree.'

Mark Christopher, marketing and development manager at S&P, said the company would take a dim view of this practice. He pointed out that individuals were liable for losses of up to pounds 50 on lost or stolen cards up until the time the loss was reported.

The fee had been introduced to encourage customers to take more care with their cards. Some lost many cards in succession, he said.

In cases where a customer found a card shortly after reporting it lost, the company would probably not levy the fee.

Mr Kleanthous still feels sore, pointing out that this concession has not been spelt out formally to customers.

And if the company is serious about waiving the charge for some customers, this surely devalues the whole exercise, he argues.

Write to Money Grouse, The Independent, 40 City Road, London E1CY 2DB. Please include a daytime telephone number if possible. Do not send original documents or SAEs, as we cannot guarantee to deal with every letter personally.

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