Banks were ordered to refund thousands of pounds to two men whose accounts were raided when their drinks were spiked.
The separate incidents – both at strip clubs – saw the men wake up to find scammers had cleaned out their accounts. When they contacted the banks to say what had happened, officials told them it was tough luck as their PIN numbers had been used to make the payments.
But both men appealed to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) who ruled in favour of the unfortunate fellas and ordered the bank to pay back the missing cash. In the first case a man – identified only as Mr M – went to a club in Spain where he paid for “services” at the club for him and a friend costing £1,300.
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But he said that when he returned home later, he found more than £5,000 extra had vanished from his account. He claimed his drink was spiked and he was left “dazed and confused” and that staff at the venue must have seen him enter his PIN.
A ruling by the FOS said the bank, Cashplus, should have done more to check the extra payments were valid. It ordered the bank to pay back the missing £5,500 from Mr M’s account and pay him another £150 to make up for his distress and inconvenience.
In the second case a visitor to an adult club – who was identified only as Mr H – says he was given a “free shot” of booze which left him feeling “strange and euphoric”. He was then ushered into a private room where he was pressured to make a purchase using his bank card and was separated from his friends who he had gone out with.
At one point during the evening he sent his pals a desperate text message plea saying he was being held prisoner at the club and asking for help. Local police were called to try to find Mr H, who was eventually found hours later in the streets near the club.
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When he recovered from his ordeal he found that £8,000 had been drained from his bank account, including maxing out his £2,000 overdraft limit. His bank, Smile, refused to refund the cash saying all the payments had been correctly verified but the FOS ruled with Mr H, believing his story that he had been drugged and then scammed.
It also revealed that there had been a string of similar fraud claims in the past made by other customers who had visited the foreign club.
A spokesperson for the Financial Ombudsman Service said: “Being the victim of a fraud or a scam can be a terrible experience – both financially and emotionally – but support is available. In recent years, we have investigated thousands of cases, returning more than £150m to those who have fallen victim to fraud and scams.
“Consumers should raise any suspicious card transactions with their bank as soon as possible. If people don’t feel their bank is treating them fairly, they can contact our free, independent service and we’ll see if we can help. Each week we resolve hundreds of financial disputes efficiently and without bias.”
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