Last week it was reported that French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir has initiated legal action against 12 banks which it accuses of refusing to reimburse people who have money stolen from their account through no fault of their own.
The banks included in the case are: La Banque Postale, Crédit Agricole, Banque Populaire, BNP Paribas, Société Générale, CIC, LCL, Boursorama, ING, Nickel, Cetelem and Floa Bank.
“The law says that a consumer who is the victim of fraud must be reimbursed immediately. And when [the account holder] has been negligent, the bank must prove this if it is to avoid reimbursing them,” UFC-Que Choisir said.
“Unfortunately, too often this is not the case,” and banks either automatically place the blame on account holders or claim that their insurance will not allow for reimbursement, the consumer group states.
We asked Connexion readers who had encountered bank scams in France how their bank responded to the issue.
‘Boursorama could not have been more helpful’
Kevin Perkins, a retiree who lives in Calvados, said: “I have twice had my Boursorama credit card scammed in the last 10 years.
“On both occasions, Boursorama could not have been more helpful.
“The first scam took place while I was temporarily distracted and my card was copied - my error; I've learnt since, and now of course, rarely use my card in shop terminals.
“The second occasion remains a mystery; I used the card in an ATM and the problems occurred afterwards, although there was a gap of about two weeks before they started.
“All was dealt with courteously and speedily. The losses were refunded in full. I have nothing but praise for [Boursorama’s] efficiency.”
‘I recommend Crédit Agricole 100%’
“I belong to Crédit Agricole, and have done for 20 years,” said Ruth Wybrow, who lives in Épiniac (Ille-et-Vilaine). “Amazon e-mailed me a few years ago and said they were closing my account with them as they thought it was being used by other people. Toys were being purchased on my card and as I am 80 years old [they] thought I was a little old for the toys.
“I do not know how my card number was found but thank Amazon for noting it – well spotted Amazon! Crédit Agricole paid back to me all the money that had been taken with no bother. I recommend them 100%.”
‘Crédit Agricole refused any reimbursement’
Retiree Paul Leyland told The Connexion: “In June 2021, I was expecting a parcel delivery from La Poste: an aluminium greenhouse, an online special offer.
“I had paid for the item and received an email saying a payment of €23.55 had been paid to Chronopost.
“I then received an email from what I believed to be from La Poste/Colissimo stating they had received a parcel which is in transit on their 'plate-forme logistique' .
“I would need to pay €2,99 for the delivery to be completed. I thought this was unusual so did some online checks re the La Poste email address. It stated that any email sent by them would have 'laposte.fr.info' in the sender information. My email had this ‘laposte.fr.info(firstname.lastname@example.org)’ so I assumed it was a genuine email.
“Unfortunately I paid the requested amount by Mastercard but the transaction was interrupted by the message ‘invalid or expired security code’.
“I re-entered the information and new code which was successful. I took a screenshot of the payment identification transactions. I immediately received a message from Crédit Agricole stating my Mastercard had been added to Samsung Pay. I had never heard of Samsung Pay and as far as I was concerned I did not give my permission for Samsung Pay to be activated on my Mastercard.
“We had storms for the next few days so our Orange Livebox was disconnected, because if the Livebox was damaged as a result of the storms we would not be entitled to a replacement box, so I was unable to consult the bank account online and I had no reason to go to the ATM.
“I first realised fraudulent transactions had been made using my Mastercard on June 22. The first fraudulent payment had been on June 18, with several payments over the following two days, totalling €480. I went to the bank and informed them of the actions and had my card cancelled.
“I reported the fraudulent payments to my bank and requested reimbursement. Because I had unwittingly and unknowingly sanctioned the initial payment they refused any reimbursement.”
Since Mr Leyland had authorised the initial payment, it appears that the bank judged his actions to be ‘negligent’, even though he was not initially aware that it could be a scam.
“My only income is my UK state pension so to lose this amount of money was a devastating issue to me,” Mr Leyland added.
“At least this made me very dubious about purchasing goods online unless it is a reputable company.”
‘I can’t praise Crédit Mutuel enough’
Geoffrey Godfrey, a retired psychiatric nurse who lives in Deux-Sèvres, said: “I discovered about six weeks ago that money was being skimmed off my account.
“The amounts were relatively small (around €40 at a time). However, when I checked I found that this had been going on for at least five months.
“I immediately contacted my bank and cancelled my bank card. The assistant cancelled my card and did a further check and found the skimming had been going on for about six months but the frequency was accelerating. He discovered €480 had been fraudulently taken out of my account.
“The bank did not make it known to me who had been stealing our money and all it said on the transactions was ‘payroll payment’.
“I'm not sure how [these payments] bypassed the bank security system because whenever I make an internet payment I am usually asked to include a security code which has been sent via text to my telephone.
However, “within five days I had a new bank card and within two weeks the total amount had been refunded. I can't praise enough the speed and efficiency of my bank: Crédit Mutuel at the branch in L'Absie.”