Refund scheme by banks for scam victims begins
The new voluntary Code for banks to refund “authorised push payment” scam victims has come into effect, but not all banks are signed up to the scheme. These scams could involve impersonating someone, such as a homebuyer’s solicitor or a builder, whom the individual was expecting to pay or the sale of non-existent goods online. In all these cases, the individual authorises the payment. In the past banks have often refused to refund these frauds but under the voluntary code, the banks have a set of criteria to judge whether the customer should get their money back. The person scammed must report it to their bank as soon as they realise they are a victim of fraud. A decision on whether someone is refunded should be taken within three weeks, or within seven weeks for complicated cases. Disputed cases can be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service. If the bank proves a victim has been “grossly negligent” they will not be reimbursed.
The refund will come from a central pot, to which all the banks signed up to the code will contribute. A long term funding solution is still being discussed and should be agreed by the start of next year.
Co-op and Virgin, who were not involved in drawing up the rules, have not signed up yet to the voluntary code.
A separate scheme to ensure a recipient’s name is as important as the bank account number and sort code when payments are made – designed to eliminate a lot of this kind of fraud – has been delayed until the end of March next year.
Energy network firms told by Ofgem to reduce their profits
Energy network firms, such as National Grid, who provide the infrastructure for delivering gas and electricity to homes and businesses, have been told by Ofgem to halve the level of profit they make on their investments. In 2017 around £290 of a typical bill went to the energy network firms, of which £96 was pure profit.