Andrew and Vicki were travelling around Europe. They had been to France, and had just arrived in London. Andrew described themselves as ‘naïve Kiwis’.
Card stolen in a pub
On Andrew and Vicki’s first night in London they went to a pub for dinner. After enjoying their meal, Vicki checked her handbag and discovered her wallet, containing a number of credit and debit cards, including Andrew’s supplementary travel card (Andrew had two cards on his account), was missing. Andrew and Vicki returned to their hotel and cancelled all the cards they recalled being in the wallet. Unfortunately, they did not remember the travel card was in the wallet, and forgot to cancel it.
Card stolen at an ATM
The next day, while attempting to withdraw cash from an ATM, Andrew was targeted by a pickpocket, who distracted Andrew long enough to grab the card when it was ejected from the ATM. Andrew believed the ATM was malfunctioning and went inside the bank associated with the ATM.
Bank staff reviewed the security camera footage and saw the pickpocket steal Andrew’s card from the ATM. The bank staff helped Andrew cancel the travel card. While talking to the travel card staff member, Andrew discovered a large number of transactions had been made using his supplementary card and realised his card had been in Vicki’s wallet when it was stolen the night before. Andrew immediately cancelled the supplementary card as well.
Andrew complained to the travel card provider about the unauthorised transactions made using both cards.
The travel card provider’s view
The travel card provider offered to refund the transactions made after Andrew’s card was stolen from the ATM, but declined to reimburse the transactions on the card stolen in the pub.
The travel card provider referred to its conditions of use, saying that Andrew’s delay in reporting the supplementary card as stolen caused the loss.
Andrew did not accept the travel card provider’s view. Andrew explained that he and Vicki were very stressed following the theft of her wallet and, because the card was not usually Vicki’s wallet, they had simply forgotten it was there. Andrew said they could not have reported the card as stolen any earlier because they did not know it was missing.
Andrew also queried how the transactions could have happened, because the thief would not have had his PIN. Andrew suspected the transactions may have been paywave transactions, if this was the case he considered the travel card provider should reimburse his loss. Andrew felt they had taken reasonable care of the card and PIN, and the travel card provider was obliged to refund their loss.
Andrew complained to FSCL.
We advised Andrew to accept the settlement offered by the travel card provider.
Delay notifying card provider that card had been stolen
We explained to Andrew we were unlikely to be able to uphold his complaint about the transactions made using the card stolen in the pub because he did not immediately tell the travel card provider his card had been stolen.
Although Andrew and Vicki had forgotten the card was in Vicki’s wallet, we considered Andrew was obliged to know where both cards were at all times. If he had reported the card stolen that night he would have lost, at most, about $250. Because the transactions were all paywave transactions they were of low value. Because of the length of time it took to report the card as stolen, the thief had been able to steal a total of about $1,500 from Andrew’s account.
Because the terms and conditions required Andrew to notify the travel card provider immediately about a lost card, we would be unlikely to uphold a complaint about the transactions relating to the card stolen in the pub. We encouraged Andrew to accept the travel card provider’s offer to reimburse the transactions relating to the card stolen from the ATM in full and final resolution of his complaint.
Andrew took our advice and accepted the refund of $2,000.
Key insights for the complainant
It is very important to know where all your credit and debit cards are at all times, and notify your card provider as soon as you think a card might have been stolen. Especially with paywave transactions, which do not require a PIN, immediate notification is the best way to avoid loss.