Bank inadequately handled direct debit error

Direct debits,
Jamie’s account was accidentally direct debited by XYZ Ltd, a company with whom she had no relationship. She contacted her bank, which advised her to contact XYZ Ltd. She did so, and the debit was reversed the same day.
August 2013

Jamie complained to her bank about the direct debit system in general. She felt it did not sufficiently protect her from unauthorised transactions. She was also unhappy about how the bank handled the problem. The bank did not resolve her complaint to her satisfaction, so she complained to us.

Our investigation

Jamie’s general complaint about the direct debit system was not something we could follow up because we are not a banking industry regulator. Our role was to look into whether Jamie’s bank responded satisfactorily to the mistake. Her bank had not made the direct debit error and had not therefore breached any obligation or duty to her. XYZ Ltd or one of its customers was probably at fault.  

Banks have processes to deal with unauthorised transactions. They ask customers to notify them about unauthorised transactions within a certain time and they investigate. If the transaction is unauthorised, they reimburse the customer. 

Jamie’s bank could have communicated with her better, but her experience did not meet the threshold for us to recommend compensation for stress and inconvenience.


We did not uphold her complaint.

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