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Suppose a goods or services vendor is contacted by phone and paid by faster payments, then does not honour their statutory obligations.

How can process be served, or is there no recourse of accountability to trading standards?

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    This is a fairly common fraud M.O., so is it possible that the (hypothetical) vendor has scammed the (hypothetical) customer?
    – Rick
    May 29 at 0:24
  • @Rick what significance does that have? Scam seems like an ill defined term to me that would in any case still not affect the essence or significance of the legal question?
    – Joseph P.
    May 29 at 7:50
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    I'm seeking clarity as to whether the customer may have been the victim of crime. If they have, there are various options available but I'm not going to waste your time with a potentially off-topic answer if there is no offence. (And scam is a common synonym for fraud in E&W)
    – Rick
    May 29 at 8:48
  • Sorry, feels a little tense s we may tread on shaky ground here if it becomes too particular, ungeneral or unhypothetical. I don't think the provider has any intention not to deliver the services, but if I recall there are certain statutorily guaranteed buyer's remorse provisions and I'm wondering what accountability there might be if those were not honoured by the vendor voluntarily. I would however not consider it by any means a waste of my time to discuss the forensic avenues available in case of crime in such a scenario, I'd be quite interested in finding out about those.
    – Joseph P.
    May 29 at 14:34
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    If this is a real situation then contact your bank as soon as possible.
    – Lag
    May 30 at 12:06

1 Answer 1

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Can the address details be found on Companies House?

If the seller is non-responsive the buyer must seek help from their bank and/or the authorities.

In general a "Faster Payment" cannot be stopped or reversed. Unlike a debit or credit card payment a "Faster Payment" does not have "chargeback" or "section 75 protection". The buyer must contact their bank as soon as possible - there is a process the bank can follow with the recipient's bank but there is no guarantee the money will be returned. Normally the recipient must consent to having the payment reversed.

If the buyer thinks they have been the victim of fraud they should contact their bank, which should contact the appropriate authorities. As a practical matter the buyer should be prepared to 'chase' their bank to find out what is happening with their report (because the bank may not be proactive about informing the buyer). Alternatively the buyer can contact Action Fraud.

In terms of "buyer's remorse", the buyer must try to establish which legal jurisdiction applies to their contract with the seller.

If the buyer and seller are UK-based, the good or service bought after June 2014 via a website, phone, text message or mail order may be covered by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. Some things e.g. bets, lottery tickets, bus tickets, plots of land are not within the scope of those regulations (but may be covered by other law).

If the sale is covered by those regulations, the seller was obliged to provide certain information including their geographical address and contact details and details of the buyer's right to cancel before the sale was completed. The buyer has a right to cancel 14 days after being informed by the seller of the right to cancel (the "14 day cooling off period") - if the seller does not ever inform the buyer of the right to cancel then this right to cancel lasts for 12 months. The buyer is not obliged to provide a reason.

There are certain goods and services where this right to cancel and get a refund varies or does not apply. A refund for a service might be reduced by the value of the service the buyer has used so far. Goods or services where there is no right to a refund include tickets to events, personalised items, health or hygiene products where the buyer broke the seal or digital content the buyer downloaded.

If the seller is non-responsive the buyer could contact:

The buyer should be prepared to provide a description of the circumstances, the available details about the seller, what the buyer has attempted so far, and what the buyer wants to achieve (e.g. a refund).

There is lots of guidance online (e.g. the citizen's advice organisations and Which? magazine) about how to complain and what kinds of evidence to collect. The website resolver.co.uk might also be helpful in terms of guidance and keeping a diary.

(The buyer might consider contacting a newspaper, magazine or specific journalist about their experience - some well-known media outlets run articles about individual consumers' problems and sometimes help to get a satisfactory resolution.)

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    What does a section 75 protection refer to, or what regulation or statute is it section 75 of?
    – Joseph P.
    Jun 1 at 8:45
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    @JosephP. If you use a credit card to make a deposit or buy something worth £100-£30,000, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 the credit card company is jointly and severally liable for breach of contract or misrepresentation by the seller. You don't have to reach a stalemate with the seller before making a claim to your credit card provider. You can simultaneously make a claim to both of them (but cannot recover double your loss).
    – Lag
    Jun 1 at 9:16
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    Very well explained.
    – Joseph P.
    Jun 1 at 10:10

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