Paul was looking online at holiday apartments to rent. After finding a suitable option, he contacted the owner and agreed a price of £650 for three nights. However, when he arrived at the apartment there was no record of his booking and he realised he'd been the victim of a scam. He complained to his bank but was unhappy with their response, so he contacted us to see if we could help with his complaint.
Paul was looking online at holiday apartments to rent. After finding a suitable option, he contacted the owner and agreed a price of £650 for three nights. He made a bank transfer for that amount to a bank account in France. Unfortunately, when he arrived at the apartment it was occupied and there was no record of Paul’s booking. Paul realised he’d been the victim of a scam and reported the matter to his bank.
Paul’s bank said that it had tried to recover the money he sent but had not been successful and, as he’d made the payment himself, it wasn’t responsible for refunding him.
What we said
International payments aren’t covered by the CRM Code and the relevant regulations say Paul is responsible for any payments he’s made.
So, we considered whether there was any reason for the bank to think that Paul might be falling victim to a scam when he made the payment.
After reviewing Paul’s bank statements, we didn’t think that the payment stood out as being particularly unusual or suspicious, so there was no reason for the bank to question his instruction. We were also satisfied that Paul’s bank wasn’t able to recover his money – as the French bank said it had been withdrawn before the fraud was reported.
So, we didn’t think the bank had made a mistake and didn’t ask it to refund Paul’s payment.
Some ways to help protect yourself against holiday scams
- Only look for and book accommodation using legitimate platforms
- Always try to pay for goods online using a debit or credit card or using a platform which offers protection if something goes wrong
- If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is
- It can be worth checking if the firm you are booking with are members of ABTA or ATOL
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