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7 Feb 2022

'Santander won't refund my 17-year old after she was scammed'

Why vulnerability matters when it comes to getting your money back from a scam
Teen using phone

Do you have an issue you need to put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted.

Dear Which?,

My 17-year-old daughter was contacted by what she thought was her bank's fraud team.

They warned her of suspicious activity on her account and persuaded her to transfer money to the bank's 'holding account'.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a sophisticated scam. Worse still, her bank - Santander - is still refusing to refund her. Does this not seem unfair?

Name and address supplied

Put to Rights

Simon Dicey, Which? Money Helpline adviser, says:

Yes, we would have expected Santander to show more sympathy and to deal with your daughter as a potentially vulnerable customer.

The Financial Conduct Authority stated that one of the four factors that drive potential vulnerability is 'capability', i.e. having little knowledge of financial matters.

This would apply in your daughter's case, given her age. As a vulnerable customer, she should be reimbursed under the voluntary Authorised Push Payment Scams code, to which Santander is a signatory.

Signatories to the code are required to educate their customers about scams and refund losses if victims have done nothing wrong, or are vulnerable.

After speaking to the Which? Money Helpline, you took our advice and your daughter made a formal complaint to the bank.

The complaint was rejected and she then opened a case with the Financial Ombudsman Service. A day after we asked Santander to comment on the case, it contacted your daughter and refunded her money in full.

The continued failure of banks to treat victims of bank transfer scams fairly - or follow their own voluntary code - has led the government to announce that reimbursement will be made mandatory. But until new rules are in place, fraud victims should be aware of their rights.

Need to know

Get in touch. If you've got a consumer rights problem you need put right, email us at yourstory@which.co.uk.

Please be aware that we can't help with, or respond to, every email that we receive. The inbox is monitored periodically during office hours, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

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