A customer complains about a bank failing to cancel a direct debit

Banking Direct Debits

Ed asked his bank to cancel a direct debit. But they didn’t and payments continued to come out of his account.

What happened

Ed had a number of direct debits set up on his bank account. He was trying to reduce his outgoings, so he printed off a list of his regular payments to look for things he could manage without. He decided that going to the gym twice a week was a luxury he could no longer afford. So he wrote to the gym to cancel his membership – and asked his bank to cancel the direct debit.

However, the bank didn’t do this, and the payments continued for a few months – until Ed noticed they were still coming out of his account. When he complained, the bank apologised for the mistake and offered him £50 for the inconvenience it had caused.

But Ed wasn’t satisfied with this response, and asked the bank to refund the payments it had made to his gym in error. The bank refused, saying Ed should have noticed that the payments were still being made, and that he’d continued to benefit from his gym membership.

Ed was still unhappy, so he referred the matter to us.

What we said

We thought it was unreasonable for the bank to say Ed had benefited from his continued gym membership – as he’d cancelled it, he’d had no reason to go. And we didn’t agree with the bank that Ed should have noticed the payments were still being made from his account.

We also reminded the bank of its responsibilities under the direct debit guarantee scheme, which covers exactly this sort of situation.

We told the bank to refund Ed for the payments it had made since he’d cancelled the direct debit. We also told it to pay him £150 for the inconvenience it had caused.