Adrian believed his girlfriend, purportedly a member of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Nigeria, was sick and needed $100 transferred to her to pay for her medication. Previously, Adrian had sent money to intermediaries through a money transfer company. These intermediaries picked up the money on his girlfriend’s behalf due to logistical issues to do with her job.
The money transfer company blocked Adrian’s transaction and asked for more details surrounding proof of income and Adrian’s source of funds. Adrian was not able to provide the necessary verification information. According to the money transfer company’s terms and conditions, Adrian was not able to send money through its money transfer system because he needed to complete a reinstatement form.
The transferrer also enquired as to why he was sending money to people he had never met before. Transfer companies are obliged to ensure that funds are coming from a legitimate source in order to fulfil anti-money laundering requirements.
As a result, Adrian complained to FSCL.
Filling out forms was an issue for Adrian because he had no computer. Because Adrian’s girlfriend was sick, time was of the essence. Adrian believed his girlfriend was on a UN peacekeeping mission in Nigeria. Because she could not leave the base, she used Nigerian agents to pick up the transfer.
The money transfer company suspected that Adrian had been the victim of a scam and they were acting in his best interests by preventing him from continuing to transfer money. Adrian was unable to provide any information to show that the transaction was legitimate. Nor could he show the money transfer company any evidence that he was in a ‘relationship’ with his girlfriend, who wasn’t the initial recipient of the money.
Upon investigation, we determined that there was no UN peacekeeping mission currently active in Nigeria. This, combined with the fact that Adrian was not able to provide any of the documentation which the money transfer company had requested, meant we also believed Adrian had been the victim of fraud.
We decided not to further investigate the complaint because Adrian’s issue related to the money transfer company’s practice or policy. We may refuse to consider a complaint if we consider the transfer company was acting in accordance with its standard practice and that practice did not breach any obligation the transfer company owed to its client.
The money transfer company’s terms and conditions allowed it to terminate a user’s rights of transfer if it suspected the user has been a victim of fraud.
We wrote to Adrian explaining our reasons for declining jurisdiction and gave him a chance to respond. When Adrian did not do so in a timely manner, we closed his file.
Key insight for consumers
FSCL can use its discretion to exclude a complaint where the action taken by the scheme participant relates to the participant’s standard practice or policy.