Unauthorised card payments a worry for businesses

Telephone orders raised with MP Neil Parish after Honiton business stung for �7,000.

Honiton businesses accepting bank card payments over the telephone have been stung for thousands of pounds, local MP Neil Parish has been told.

Liz Chilcott, of Chilcotts Auctioneers, told the MP and business leaders at a breakfast meeting that she was nervous about accepting telephone bids, particularly those placed from abroad.

It was not unusual, she said, for such bids not to be honoured and claimed Chinese bidders are among the worst offenders.

Mrs Chilcott revealed a High Street business was forced to repay �7,000 when a bank decided a card payment made over the telephone was not authorised.

She said the cash was clawed back months after the transaction had taken place, leaving the business owner out of pocket.

“Our export business is based on trust,” she told members of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “But the Chinese don’t always seem to want to honour their bills.”

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She called on Mr Parish to urge the Government to set up an agency to ensure orders placed over the telephone are honoured.

And she pointed out that card transactions made over the telephone are not always guaranteed, depending on checks put in place by individual banks.

“The money, if it is paid, can be clawed back up to six months later after being deemed an unauthorised transaction,” she said.

Mr Parish said it was a matter he could take to a minister, possibly Vince Cable.

“We don’t want to be seen as a soft touch,” he said. “It is an interesting one.”

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