Customer complains that an e-money business prevented him getting access to his account


Luiz raised a complaint with us that he couldn’t access the money in his e-money account.

What happened

Luiz sold a number of separate items on an online auction website within a few days. The payments were credited to his e-money account and he thought he’d leave the money there for a while. Then, a couple of weeks later, he decided to withdraw it instead.

But Luiz was surprised to find he couldn’t access his account. The e-money business told him its automatic security system had flagged his account as a potential risk. This was because he only had a limited account history and there’d been a sudden increase in the number of high-value transactions going through his account. The business said it had restricted access to his account for up to 180 days while it carried out security checks.

Luiz thought this was unacceptable and said he wanted to withdraw his funds immediately. The business told him it would only release the money if he answered some questions about the recent transactions, and provided a copy of his driving licence or passport as proof of his address and identity.

Luiz referred his complaint to us, saying the business had no right to withhold his money and cross-examine him in this way.

What we said

We asked the e-money business for a copy of its terms and conditions for Luiz’s account. These clearly stated that the business could restrict access to accounts where it considered this appropriate – “to help safeguard the interests of sellers”.

We noted that the e-money issuer had acted within these terms and conditions when it restricted Luiz’s access. We also thought it had acted reasonably in asking Luiz for details of the recent transactions and proof of his identity, so that it could validate the information registered on his account.

We didn’t uphold Luiz’s complaint.