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Mina Counsel
Mina Counsel, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 755
Experience:  Barrister
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Last year our son posed as my wife to access his O2 mobile

Customer Question

last year our son posed as my wife to access his O2 mobile phone account using the o2 chat room to add credit to his phone, he then used this credit to fund his gambling addiction. The O2 account was paid for by us and we didn't notice the transactions until I noticed odd amounts being paid to O2, when checking the account I discovered £3500 had been taken. We contacted O2 who were less than helpful stating that as he is known to us they consider this a civil matter and not fraud. The Ombudsmen also agreed with O2 stating that this is not a criminal offence. We reported this to the Police who then arrested him and he went to court and was found guilty under the fraud act. The court case took a long time due to covid etc. We contacted O2 to tell them that they were wrong in their decision to claim this was not a criminal offense and are standing by their original decision. The ombudsmen are saying that as this is a duplicate case they will not re open it. With this information in hand, were do we stand legally with the fact that we are the victims of fraud and are out of pocket by £3500
JA: What was the conviction for exactly? Have all appeals been exhausted?
Customer: All appeals have been exhausted to our knowledge. He was charged for making dishonestly made a false representation intending to make a gain namely obtaining funds for online gambling and purchases contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the fraud act 2006
JA: Where did the fraud occur?
Customer: at his home in Poole Dorset
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: he has been found guilty and ordered to pay £10 every 2 weeks.. however, we do feel that O2 could have done more to protect our account, the ombudsman also agreed with this too
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Mina Counsel replied 9 days ago.

Hello, welcome to Just Answer! My name is ***** ***** I am a London based practising barrister with over 15 years experience. I am happy to assist you today. I may need to ask you some questions in order to determine your legal position and I will provide you with an email advice on the same day. Thank you.

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Expert:  Mina Counsel replied 9 days ago.

I am sorry to hear about your experiences.

Have you tried to contact your bank about the unauthorised transactions? Your bank should have been the first people you approached at the outset as it was not for O2 to investigate the matter at the time.

Given your son has now been ordered to pay back to sum, what are you ideally hoping to achieve in the circumstances?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
We didn't think to contact the bank as we thought that this would be dealt with by O2 as they were the company who so easily allowed our son to defraud us and them by using the chat room service claiming to be my wife. We do think that O2 should be accountable and responsible for if not all then part of the loss. We can if you need send you a copy of the chat room transcripts, the O2 complaint emails and the Ombudsman complaint final decision.
Our son is deeply remorseful of his actions and did offer the court to repay more than £10 every 2 weeks as this meant it will take 13 years to repay, however, the court declined his offer. We do feel that O2 should refund all or part of the loss.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
we didn't think that the bank would be responsible for O2's loss.
Expert:  Mina Counsel replied 9 days ago.

Sorry could you please clarify the position as you first said your son was ordered to pay £10 every 2 weeks but you later said the offer was rejected by the court?

Unfortunately, in this case, the liability falls entirely on your son for committing the fraudulent act. Had you gone to the bank they would have a duty by law to refund you the money as these were unauthorised transactions.

O2 might be criticised for not handling their security check properly however they have not committed anything legally wrong in my opinion. You need to go after the bank, not O2.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Hi, sorry yes the court ordered him to pay £10 every 2 weeks, however, he said to the court v=can he pay a higher amount but the court rejected his offer and ordered him to pay just £10 every 2 weeks.
Are we still able at this time to claim against the bank?
Expert:  Mina Counsel replied 9 days ago.

Legally speaking, the law says you must be refunded by the bank immediately if you have had money taken from your account without your permission. However, it might be too late for you I am afraid as it will be seen as double recovery if you are getting a refund from the bank as well as payment from your son.

I am sorry if this is not the answer you were hoping for.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Oks thanks for the advice today, very helpful. Shame we did not know about the banks position in this. Had we known this earlier we would have taken that action. We just thought why should the bank pay for O2's mistakes.
Again thanks for all your help today.
Expert:  Mina Counsel replied 9 days ago.

For future references, you are protected under the Payment Services Regulations and the Consumer Credit Act meaning the bank has a legal duty to refund.

Take care.