The main winners from signing up for this syndicate program appeared to be Lotto Social itself and your bank, Santander. The first one did well, because overall you spent more than you earned. Although the unions – which split customer contributions across different lotteries – had multiple wins, these typically did not exceed Â£ 25 and were split between up to 50 players.
You estimate that you only personally earned Â£ 30, but have now closed your account, preferring not to have anything to do with the business anymore.
As for Santander, by the time you noticed what was going on he had made around Â£ 145 on his fees. The bank takes a minimum of Â£ 3 for any cash advance on their credit card, and because you unintentionally set up two separate payments as cash advances, you faced a double charge – adding 60pc at the cost of your payments. Ouch! If you had known the consequences, you would never have allowed Lotto Social payouts to be set up this way.
I have asked Santander to review your complaint. This prompted a senior manager to call you and, bingo, the next day he agreed to reimburse all of your fees and interest charged. Finally, a decent financial victory for you.
A Santander spokesperson said: “We understand the customer was unaware that the third party company had set up the recurring payment on their credit card as a cash advance, and we agreed to reimburse the Â£ 145 that he paid in fees as a result. “
Your experience serves as a warning to others about these continuous payment authorizations, especially those involving a cash advance on a credit card which may incur additional charges.
Consumer expert Martyn James of the complaints website Resolver said your bank should have asked you for authorization, given the regular nature of the payment. He suggested that people often don’t realize that they have such arrangements in place, having unintentionally done so when signing up for a free trial that they then forget to cancel.
Mr James added: âContinuous payment authorities were designed with the best of intentions – to speed up regular purchasing transactions. But instead, they’ve been used extensively as a way to slip sneaky debits into people’s accounts in the hope that they won’t notice. This is why it is essential to regularly check bank and card accounts and to claim any unauthorized payments.