Tesco Bank has apologised after wrongly refusing to cancel a customer’s recurring payment – and giving out incorrect information on its website and social media channels.
The bank had refused to cancel customer Lee Beaumont’s recurring payment on his debit card, which he had set up for his ITV Hub+ subscription, despite being obliged to do so.
These recurring payments, often called a continuous payment authority (CPA), are used for things such as payday loans or gym memberships and allow a company to take money from you when it needs to. The company will ask for the long number on your debit or credit card rather than for your sort code and account number.
In most cases, you should be able to cancel by contacting the company taking the payment, but if you’re having trouble, you do have the right to cancel directly with your card issuer.
For full information on CPAs, including how to cancel them and reclaim cash, see our guide.
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Lee contacted Tesco Bank to ask it to cancel his payment, but when it refused he took to Twitter to complain:
Hello Lee, sorry to hear you’re having trouble with this. I’m afraid the information on our website is correct, and we’re unable to cancel this for you. I’m sorry we’re not able to be more help – Caroline
Tesco Bank Help (@tescobankhelp) April 3, 2018
And even when he linked to the rules on our website, Tesco Bank insisted it couldn’t cancel the payment – it was only after we contacted it, that it apologised to Lee, agreed to give him a goodwill gesture, and cancelled his payment.
It also agreed to change the incorrect information on its website.
How can I cancel a recurring payment?
If you want to cancel a CPA, you can contact the retailer or your bank. In reality though, unless it’s proving difficult, it’s usually easier to go to the company as it’s the company that your arrangement is with, and it will know more specific details about your situation.
Be careful if you’re locked into a contract, as if you cancel and don’t have an alternative way to pay your balance, you may find yourself in breach of contract and owing the company money.
The Financial Conduct Authority has stated banks MUST cancel a continuous payment authority when asked. It also says that if further payments are taken in error after you ask for a cancellation, the bank must refund them.
See our Beware recurring payments guide for full details on how to cancel.
My bank is refusing to cancel my CPA – what should I do?
The first stage would be to complain to your bank. Generally these things are best done in writing, but most will accept a call. Just ask they note it down as a formal complaint, and ask for written confirmation.
Don’t feel you have to be formal. Just explain the point clearly, concisely and honestly as if you were explaining to a friend why you’ve been wronged. Explain what you were trying to cancel, and what happened when you asked the bank to stop this payment.
Use our template letter if you’re struggling.
The next stage, if the situation isn’t resolved, would be to go to the Financial Ombudsman. See our help making an official complaint section for more on how to do this.
What does Tesco say?
A spokesperson said: “We always strive to offer our customers great service and on this occasion we recognise that we have fallen short of our high standards.
“We have apologised to the customer and have cancelled his payment. To ensure that this does not happen again, we have reminded our customer service team of our policy and will be making changes to our website.”