Do I have to pay fraudulent credit card charges?

“We have been treated abysmally,” Sue says. “We have been customers of the same bank for 60 years. Can you help?

Bank card security

Sue and her husband were upset when their credit card showed a charge of £1,400 for a hotel stay and car hire in India.

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Aged 79 and 80, they have not been abroad for years. Sue reported it promptly, but the card provider refused to take the amount off, then began charging interest. Despite many long calls, it threatened to suspend the account until the sum was paid.

“We have been treated abysmally,” Sue says. “We have been customers of the same bank for 60 years. This accruing debt is causing us distress. Can you help?”

Paul Lewis replies: Card providers are obliged to refund the money for a false transaction by the end of the next business day. Only after that can it look at what’s gone wrong. In the most exceptional circumstances it can insist on charging the customer — if they have been grossly negligent, for example. Sue’s bank broke this law — passed in 2017 — for several months, despite her calling them frequently.

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When RT got involved the false payment and the interest charged were removed at once.