I bet £20K on Norwich being relegated – but NatWest delayed it and I lost money


I wonder if you can help me with what I am sure you will agree is an unusual case.

In November 2021, I visited a William Hill shop to place a £20,000 bet on Norwich City to be relegated. When I put my card into the machine, it was knocked back, even though there was £38,000 available.

The cashier was ready for this and told me that because I do not often spend this kind of money, the transaction had been blocked to protect me from scammers.

High stakes: A gambler, who wagered £20,000 on a football bet, had to settle for lower odds than he’d first been shown, after his bank’s fraud team held up the payment

I went to NatWest the next day to have my card cleared. But by this time, all the odds had changed from 3-10 to 2-7.

While it was good of NatWest to look after its customer, I did not ask it to do this and it has cost me £285.71. I requested compensation, but it turned me down.

Can you bring any leverage on NatWest to compensate me for this loss? I am very careful where I keep my cards and do not let them fall into the hands of anyone but myself, so feel that on this occasion the bank was being too uniform in automatically blocking the transaction. W. L., York.

Sally Hamilton replies: You can bet that I have never come across such a case previously. And it gave me a wry smile to read what your £20,000 wager had been placed on.

My predecessor, Tony Hazell, who retired from the readers’ champion role earlier this year, often referred to his passion for Norwich City football club. 

I suspect he’d have been mortally offended by anyone placing a bet on his beloved team’s relegation to a lower division.

While I don’t have that particular sporting allegiance (indeed, my husband is an Ipswich Town supporter — sorry, Tony, if you are reading this), and so take no offence, I am minded not to chase NatWest for your refund for the difference between the two stakes.

 Am I being harsh or fair? Readers, let me know who you think is right

On rejecting your claim, NatWest pointed to its terms and conditions, which include the fact that the bank may need to protect its customers and their money by requesting additional information before accepting a transaction.

Making such an unusually large payment to a betting firm will have raised a big red flag. I can understand the bank’s caution.

In April, Norwich City were indeed relegated from the Premier League and you won your bet. Even though the odds had shortened, William Hill paid you £25,714 — a profit to you of £5,714.

You feel hard done by because the delay in placing the bet cost you money. I don’t suppose I would have heard from you if the odds had gone the other way by the time your card was unblocked.

Am I being harsh or fair? Readers, let me know who you think is right.

W. L. has a few more weeks to take his case to the ombudsman before his complaint has timed out, if he still believes he has been wronged by NatWest.

Can’t get power of attorney for a business account

I am writing to you in desperation as I have run out of ideas as to where to turn next.

I have power of attorney (POA) for my brother, who has suffered a number of strokes and also has dementia. I tried to register the POA with his bank, Lloyds, and I did everything asked of me.

Scam Watch  

Beware fraudsters who are cold-calling pensioners to persuade them to transfer their retirement savings.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) warns that these scammers can be financially knowledgeable, with credible-looking websites.

They try to lure retirees into transferring their entire pension pots by making tempting promises. 

But the funds are often kept in high-risk investments, such as overseas property.

Sam Richardson, deputy editor at consumer champion Which? Money, says: ‘Consumers should be wary of being contacted out of the blue. 

If you have received a cold-call, hang up and report the number to the Information Commissioner’s Office.’

However, after speaking to three different departments I was finally informed that, because it is a business account, Lloyds couldn’t accept the POA.

I was advised to close the account and open my brother a personal one, which would accept me as attorney. 

The money would then be transferred to this account.

Weeks later, this still hadn’t happened, so I chased, only to be told the bank wasn’t happy with my brother’s signature.

My reply was that it has been 25 years since his original signature was recorded, and after his strokes and dementia I was surprised that he could write at all. 

I have spoken to the bank’s POA, complaints and business accounts departments, all of which promised to deal with the matter — but nothing has been done.

In the meantime, my brother’s money — about £15,000 — is trapped in the business account he can no longer access to purchase food or settle any of his bills.

He is getting by on the generosity of friends, and I have transferred £1,200 into his new personal account. It has brought me to my limit. All we are asking for is access to his own money.

R. A., Royston, Herts.

Sally Hamilton replies: By the time you got in touch, about 12 weeks had passed with no progress in transferring your brother’s £15,000 into his new account for his own use.

This is simply not acceptable. I gave Lloyds Bank a serious prod, as I was appalled that you and your brother’s friends have had to come to his financial aid when it’s clear he has plenty of his own money just waiting to be used. You could well do without the stress of this on top of worrying about your poor brother’s health and wellbeing.

A few days later, Lloyds came back to me and admitted it had given you incorrect information at the outset, regarding your brother’s arrangements and the POA, which had contributed to the delays.

It apologised and paid you £77 for the costs you incurred travelling from your home in Hertfordshire to your brother’s bank branch in Middlesex when trying to sort out the muddle, plus an additional £500 for the distress and inconvenience.

A spokesman says: ‘We are very sorry for the experience R. A. had when setting up a POA to support his brother.

‘The arrangements are now set up and we’ve contacted him to say sorry and made a payment in recognition that we should have provided better service.’

Straight to the point 

In January, Barclaycard wrote to tell me that I had been overcharged interest on two cards I have not used for more than 12 years, and was owed £714.76 and £294.77. 

I filled in the forms provided, but I’ve only received the latter sum.

I’ve spent hours on the phone to Barclaycard without success. I’m 85 years old and feel I am being treated as a fool.

J. C-M., Birmingham.

A spokesman apologises for the delay in processing the second refund. This has now been issued, along with an extra £50 as a goodwill gesture.

*** 

My wife and I booked a trip to Zante with TUI to attend our granddaughter’s wedding in March. 

Sadly, the relationship ended and the wedding was called off. When I tried to cancel, I was told my £740.06 deposit was non-refundable. 

We were offered an alternative trip, but we’re in our 80s and do not want to go on another beach holiday.

A. R., Milton Keynes.

As your flights were booked with easyJet, Tui says it is bound by the third-party carrier’s terms and conditions, which state that the deposit is non-refundable. 

Despite my best efforts, it refused to budge on this.

*** 

There was a month when my buy-to-let property was unoccupied. The new tenants received a £192 energy bill for that period, which they ignored.

I paid this but was later told the provider, Bulb, owed me £140. That was in April and I’ve not heard anything since.

L. W., Tyldesley.

Bulb apologises for the delay, which it says was because its system rejected the payment. You have now received the £140, plus a £60 gesture of goodwill.

  • Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email sally@dailymail.co.uk — include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to talk to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given. 

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