A customer complains he’s been scammed into signing up to a CPA and his card provider won’t help him to cancel it properly

Banking Continuous Payment Authorities

Scott complained to us that he'd been scammed into signing up to a continuous payment authority (CPA) and his card provider won't help him to cancel it.

What happened

Scott signed up to a trial of some slimming pills with an online diet business. He selected a box of 50 pills, paying £1 for postage and packaging. He then entered his card details and ticked a box to say he agreed to the terms and conditions. There was a link to read these on a separate web page, but he didn’t click on it.

After a month, Scott received another box of pills. He assumed these were part of the trial offer, so he kept taking them. The same thing happened again next month.

But when Scott checked his bank statements, he found he'd been charged £89.99 for the second and third box. He tried contacting the business to cancel his payments, but they didn’t respond.

He then complained to his card provider, saying he'd been scammed. But the card provider said that it was a matter between him and the diet business.

What we said

We disagreed with the card provider they’re responsible for the unauthorised payments, so it was appropriate for Scott to complain to them. And as he’d taken reasonable steps to cancel the CPA with the merchant, we told the card provider to stop the CPA as soon as possible.

We also thought that, although the merchant had described the CPA in the terms and conditions, people don't typically read through these for every purchase they make. The website gave the impression the offer would only involve a £1 payment. So we felt the CPA was unauthorised.

However, Scott had finished all three boxes of pills, so we thought it wouldn't be fair for his card provider to pay him back for goods he'd already had the full benefit of.

In the end, we told the card provider to cancel the CPA and pay Scott a small amount of compensation for handling the matter badly – but we didn't say it had to refund the payments.