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About Wilderbird

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  1. The last time I was in court (for an options hearing) the sheriff said to my solicitor 'but she sent the email' which seemed to say that he was siding with the window company. My solicitor explained to him that when there are 2 innocent parties the courts have the difficult job of deciding who facilitated the fraud. She had hoped that he would choose to opt for 'Proof with answer' which is a mixture of actual evidence and a debate. The sheriff decided to go for a legal debate only, scheduled for the 22nd October. So is the law on my side? Am I protected because this company sent me an invoice asking me to pay immediately but not telling me how? Aren't the company supposed to put bank details on the invoice if they accept electronic payments? Was the invoice sent deliberately to make me contact them and lead me into a trap? If they had given me the fraudulent information over the phone I would have no proof. And what of data protection? Who now knows my email address?
  2. Hi honeybee13, the debt amount involved is £6,087. The bank have to pay this plus my costs and the window company costs so we could be talking anything up to £18k at this stage if I am forced to pull out now. The police are still investigating. I sent them a copy of the report showing that the fraudulent email came through the company's email server. They told me they have put it on file but will not be investigating it at this stage.
  3. Hi steampowered, both sides have accepted the fos and it is now legally binding. It is worded thus - 1) that the bank are to indemnify me against paying £6,087 to window company if asked to by court 2) indemnify me in case I am asked to pay window company costs 3) reimburse my own legal costs, based on appropriate invoices, and 4) pay me £200 for the inconvenience caused. I will therefore not be able to profit from the situation. The bank are aware that if I pull out now they will have to pay my legal costs to date, the debt of £6,087 and the window company costs to date. They are all for this. There is also the danger that if I win the window company may deliberately fold in order to avoid paying costs. The bank would then lose out. Whichever way it goes it will not cost me a penny. The only thing I will lose out on if I pull out or if I lose the case is being able to sue the windows company for damages. This is a very small community and people have seen my name on the court rolls.
  4. Thank you steampowered. I don't think the outcome will be what I want it to be. Thank you for the link, that's really interesting. The main difference in my case is that it was the windows company who sent me their bank details via email not the other way around. To answer your questions. I am litigating against the window company. I also made a complaint to the bank because they led me to believe (in their security call) that they were sending my money to the window company when in fact they sent it to a fraudulent account. And they didn't give me any warnings whatsoever, anywhere on any of the payment screens to tell me I wasn't protected at all by using the Faster Payments System or that they only check the sort code and account number. I use the FPS a lot and don't have a credit card. After many appeals the FOS upheld my complaint. So the bank are now having to pay for all my litigation with the window company. The problem now is that the bank have got cold feet. They are trying to force me to settle out of court because of the uncertainty of the costs involved to them. My solicitor has reminded them that I have a legally binding fos. I don't like the way the bank are treating me, it's a little scary. They didn't tell me the truth the other day when they told me they were pulling the plug. They said the Ombudsman had agreed to them doing that and they were removing the indemnity that day (22nd). What she actually said was this - 'I spoke to Santander earlier this week as they were concerned they were obliged to pay a never-ending commitment when they weren’t sure what your (and the other party) court costs would end up at. They wondered what I thought if they were to suggest paying the money the company is claiming and bringing this all to an end and paying costs up to that stage. I said, in principle, I felt this was fair. What I don’t know is whether there is any other aspect of the court case that would still exist after that but if there was, that’s not been mentioned before so I don’t think there is. If Santander had thought about this logically when I first completed the provisional decision (and when you raised this with them in August), they’d have come back and said they’d pay and bring everything to an end then. Actually that’s what I expected them to do and I mentioned this to them when I spoke earlier this week. They’re now realising that would be the best thing to do. I’ve said, however, the final decision exists and I can’t change what it says. However if you agree with their proposal, then I’d see no reason why we’d disagree with that because we’ve no interest in doing so. But I did stress they need to agree this with you. I did tell them I felt this was a fair solution and would be happy to tell you that as long as you’re not out of pocket.' What I don't know now is whether or not I can choose to continue with the case if I want to. I am very upset that I mayl not have my day in court. As for the window company, their argument is that they don't have a 'duty of care' towards me. I would love to name and shame them but I know that they would probably sue me for damages if I did. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
  5. Hi Everyone, I'm going to tell you my experience to date so that others may learn from it. It's not quite over yet but I think it will be by next week. Feel free to ask me any questions. I live in SW Scotland and in Feb 2014 I approached a local family run company to quote for double glazed replacement windows. The sales director sent me the quote from his email address. I responded with a query and then accepted the quote by email. His email address was then automatically added to my Outlook email address book. The work was carried out in May 2014. The fitters did a really good job and I love the windows so there's no problem there. The problem started on 2nd June 2014. I received an invoice from the company asking me for immediate payment but that invoice didn't give me one jot of information on how to pay them. In fact it was very poor, it had no company reg number and no T & Cs either. I sent a quick email to the sales director (using the address already stored in Outlook) asking for payment details. I got a response which mentioned 'New bank account' signed by the director from the sales director's email address. I logged onto my bank account (Cahoot) and setup the payment online. This all happened early afternoon. Then around 4:30pm I received a second email from the sales director's email address but signed by the girl in the office. It gave me different bank details. I presumed that the company were in the process of changing bank accounts and that maybe the directors hadn't communicated it yet to the staff. It was too late in the day to check with them when I picked up the email. At about 7:30 that night Cahoot performed a security call. In it they asked me if the payment was going to the windows company to which I said yes. The next day I received an email from the sales director asking me where the money was because they hadn't received it. I was given the run around until the 11th June when I had become very suspicious and stopped communicating with him. In the meantime the bank were trying to trace where the money had gone. They sent me the necessary proof on the 20th June. I then got in touch with the company and sent the document to them on a different email address. I told them they could now put pressure on Barclays bank because they had definitely received the money. They instantly replied asking why Barclays when they were with Bank of Scotland. I sent them all the previous emails and the girl in the office phoned me and said they had never sent the emails to me. She asked me what I intended to do and I said I was going to phone the police, which I did. The police investigation is ongoing and there are now 8 other victims none of them to do with the windows company. Not once did this company try to talk to me or investigate the circumstances. Their first response was when I was on the phone to the office girl and the sales director was asking in the background if I was insured. The next thing they did was get a solicitor involved and sent me a demand to pay up. I went to my own solicitor and showed her the email. She told me I have paid. The company did a few things that made me very suspicious about them. They never chased me for the payment when I had told them they should received my payment by 3rd June at the latest and they deleted all their emails which were police evidence. I had my computer checked to ensure I hadn't been hacked which I hadn't. I then had the email headers looked at by a computer expert and they have shown that the so called fraudulent email was sent to me via the window company's server. It looks as if someone within the company logged onto a google email account (which is largely anonymous) and somehow intercepted my email but not quickly enough to stop another person in the company from also seeing my email. My next step was to complain to my bank. There had been no warnings on their screens to tell me that I wasn't protected by the Faster Payments System or that they don't check the account name. The bank's response was to tell me they didn't want the criminals to know this! I said if that was the case they could have told me during the security call. They dismissed my complaint. I went to the Financial Ombudsman. The adjudicator also dismissed my complaint twice but I appealed and it finally reached the Financial Ombudsman. The bank had very conveniently lost the recording of the security call but somehow the FO managed to get them to find it. It was because of that security call that she upheld my complaint. She says that the bank led me to believe that they checked the account name. She also said that the bank had authorised the payment and not me. She ruled that the bank should re-imburse me for all my legal costs, the debt owed to the window company and any other costs so that I am not out of pocket. This decision was made in May 2015 from my initial complaint in Aug 2014. My solicitor was amazed at what I had achieved. I would say that the Faster Payments System is not secure enough. The customer has no way of checking that the bank details provided by a company actually belong to that company. Criminals are now putting people into companies to spot loopholes in their security/admin procedures in order to send out fraudulent bank details to unsuspecting victims like me. You could ring a company to ask them for their bank details and the person you were speaking to could give you their personal information and you would be none the wiser. There is nowhere to verify that an account belongs to a company. Once you have paid the money it is impossible to get it back unless the bank made the error. I believe that in other countries they use a third check like the company reg number or an NI number. When the bank finally got in touch with me in August this year I asked them who makes the decisions on the court case if they are now paying. They said that I do no matter what the cost! They also said that they didn't want me to settle out of court and they wanted the hearing to go ahead. I have put in endless hourss of work on this and accumulated some very good evidence to defend my case. A legal debate is scheduled for 22nd October but my solicitor wants to use Counsel for the debate. They are saying they have struggled to find anything in law to help them and have had to go right back to Victorian law. They say the contract was formed via email and the company should have ensured that their email system was secure because I had relied on it. At the mention of Counsel the bank have started squirming. They rang me on the 22nd and said they were refusing to indemnify me after that date. I went back to the Financial Ombudsman with this information and she told me that wasn't quite what had been discussed. So everything is currently up in the air with the case. It looks very much like I will have to settle out of court because I cannot afford to fund this on my own. If the criminals are part of the company they will receive the money twice. I had hoped that the bank would help me see this case through to its conclusion so that I could have possibly had an outcome good enough to help others that follow in my footsteps. I may never know who was responsible for sending me that email because the police are just following the money. I now have a lovely set of windows with no guarantee.
  6. I was sent bank details recently by email and I sent the payment (£6k) based on that information but also specifying the company name that I thought it was going to. The money went to a fraudulent account. I didn't make an error and the police tell me the emails weren't hacked but the sender denied sending me that email. I complained to the Financial Ombudsman because guidance says that the banks should warn you that they only check the sort code and account number. It's not mentioned at all, anywhere on my bank's website. His decision is that the banks have done nothing wrong, it is purely guidance. I now have until 7th November to provide him with further evidence to back up my complaint. Why do they ask you to specify the account name if they don't use it? It is impossible for us to check that information, only the banks can see this. It should be relatively easy for them to add the account name into their payment verification system. My bank told me they don't put the warnings on the screen because they don't want fraudsters to know they only check 2 unique identifiers. Too late, they already know. The Faster Payments System is now protecting the fraudster and the customer is in a no win situation. I don't expect to ever get my money back. In the meantime the company (who are possible involved in this fraud) are taking me to court for the outstanding debt (breach of contract).
  7. Another aspect of this fraud is that the banks have failed to protect me but are denying all responsibility. Trading Standards pointed out this statement on the Financial Ombudsman's website - "The Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS), now called UK Payments Administration, published some best practice guidelines in 2007. These say that businesses should make it clear to consumers that the sort code and account number ("unique identifiers") are used to process the payment, rather than the name of the payee, which most businesses do not check. This may be done by a short prominent warning: - • on the payment form; • on the screen for electronic payments; or • another method according to the institution's risk policy." I complained to my bank but they refuse to accept responsibility even though there were no warnings at all. I have now escalated the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. I also reported the fraud to the receiving bank's fraud squad. I received this reply yesterday - "We're sorry that you've had to contact us about a transfer made to a Barclay's account. We apologise for the delay in responding however we have now completed our investigation and so can provide you with our full response. We take any allegation of fraud very seriously, and where fraud is confirmed or highly suspected on the part of our account holders, the relevant accounts are subject to immediate closure and funds removal. What this means for you. At the time your funds were received into this account, we had no knowledge or suspicions that this was anything other than a legitimate account. Although we can confirm that the account into which you transferred money has now been closed, no funds were remaining at the time that we were made aware of your situation. For this reason Barclays is unable to return any money to you. We appreciate that this is not the outcome which you will have wanted. We can confirm that in opening and managing accounts, it complies with all regulatory requirements including in respect of identification and verification. However, we have no way of knowing that an account holder will be using the account for fraudulent purposes. Barclays does regularly review and adapt its processes in order to minimise these risks in the future. Please accept this as our final findings based on all the information we have relating to your claim." What they fail to mention is that they didn't check the account name I specified. If they had they would've discovered an error and my money would've been returned.
  8. No. The original quote was provided to me via email from the sales director. I used this trusted email address to get the bank details. I have forwarded this email (plus the quote email) to the solicitor to show that the email addresses are exactly the same, along with screenshots of the bank payment screen and my bank statement.
  9. Yes. The company is a Ltd company and the email was from the sales director who would be on the directors payroll and an employee of the company. He is denying all knowledge of the email containing the bank details. The problem is that it is a family company and they are going to be supportive of him and believe what he says. I have been told by the police that they have checked the company's computers and they haven't been hacked. But this man also uses an iPhone (as stated on the emails re the original quotes) and probably has a computer at home. I don't think these have been checked. The only difference between the quote emails and the bank emails is the font. This tells me it has come from a different computer. I have been told about 'spoofing' which I need to research to see if there are any clues. I don't know if the police will investigate or if they will just go after whoever owns that bank account without checking if they have any links to the company. Thank you so much BazzaS for your reply. At least I know how to argue back now and they are good strong arguments. This is so different from just being told that I haven't completed the contract with the company and I will have to pay up. Your reply has given me some peace of mind and I actually managed to get a good nights sleep last night. Today I am ready to fight.
  10. Yes I've checked the email headers. They're complicated but the IP address is the same and the email address is the same. The police have traced the bank account to Blackpool and they have seen that my money was received into that account the day after I sent it. I haven't been told who the account belongs to. Do I need to contact action fraud as well as the Scottish police (who have already provided me with a case number? The police files are currently being sent to Blackpool police who will take over the case. I'm told it may take months before they contact me. I phoned my insurance to ask to speak to solicitors for free legal advice and all they told me was that the money is still owing to the company and I will have to pay it. Doesn't the contract become null and void if there is fraud involved?
  11. Hi Everyone, I hope someone can help me. I have found myself caught up in events through no fault of my own. I will try to keep the facts brief but there is a lot going on. Back in February I contacted a local company (in Scotland) that had been recommended to me and asked them to quote for replacement double glazed windows. The sales director provided the quotes to me by email. I accepted them. The work was carried out at the end of May and I was very please with the results. I received the invoice on 2nd June asking me for immediate payment unless I was a trade member. The invoice didn't give me any details as to how I could pay and there were no terms and conditions on the back. I sent an email to the sales director using the email address he had sent the quotes to me on. I received a response from him giving me the bank details and I went online and paid using the faster payments system. The next day I received an email from him telling me the payment had not been received. I was then led a merry dance between him and the banks trying to find out where my money had gone. My bank did a faster payment trace which I received on 20th June. In the meantime I had become suspicious of the emails and I phoned the company to ask for the best email address to send the faster payment trace to them on. They gave me their office email address and I sent the trace through telling them they could now put pressure on Barclays. The immediately replied asking me why they should do this when their bank was Bank of Scotland. I forwarded the emails from the sales director and they denied all knowledge of them. I have looked and looked at the emails and the addresses are exactly the same. So either someone is lying or someone has been very clever. I reported the matter to the police immediately. I have now received a letter from the company's solicitors asking me to pay up, even though I have already paid. They are saying that the company are not at fault for this fraud. But what if the fraud is being committed by someone within the company? I feel I have been let down by the banks, who only check two unique identifiers and didn't check the account name I had provided and had also opened and operated a fraudulent account. And that surely this company should have ensured that their security systems protected me. But it seems that I have not been protected at all and I am told that my contract is with the company and I still owe them that money. If it was a small amount of money I would pay it just to get relief from all the stress but double glazed windows don't come cheap and I can't see how it can possibly be right that I should be made to pay again when this is not my fault. I am at my wits end and the whole thing is making me ill. Any advice would be very gratefully appreciated.
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