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Setanta sports / Fraud?

1 United Kingdom
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I was round my daughters house in September (Monday 15th) and wanted to watch a football match on Setanta. I have Setanta at my own house, but as we were having a meal, I didn't want to spoil the night by rushing off to get home to watch the match, so I asked her to subscribe for one month at £12.99 as advertised on the TV (as long as her TV could be switched on in time to watch the match).

She phoned Setanta, they assured her we would get the signal in time, so I gave her my bank card for them to take payment. She explained that we only wanted to watch the match that night, to which they replied that they don't do individual matches and that you have to have the minimum of a months subscription at 12.99, to which we agreed.

Nothing else was mentioned, the payment details were taken and that was that. Now as this was a phone transaction I would expect that the sales person should give any other information required, cancelation polices etc at that time, but no other details were exchanged. At this point we were under the total impression that we had bought a months viewing for £12.99 and then the service would cease, as this is the service my daughter had requested, and was not told anything about having to cancel (as she had only requested the month and wasn't told anything else) nor was she told anything about any admin/set up fees.

I didn't keep checking my bank account, why should I? I didn't expect that anything more that £12.99 would have been deducted and just assumed I was dealing with a reputable company and didn't expect any wrong doing. It was only when returning from holiday in mid October that I was going through my bank statements to see that I had been debited £27.98 for the original payment, and a further £12.99 for the next months payment in October.

I telephoned customer services about this and they insisted first of all that this had been an order placed over the internet and we should have read the terms and conditions. She would not believe me when I was telling her that it was placed over the telephone, and this went on for 10 - 15 minutes before she went to check with her supervisor, to see if what she was reading on her screen could have been changed. Of course she came back and apologised when her supervisor had explained how this order had been taken by phone for a special event (not that I understand what all that was about, as I was told Setanta don't just take payments for an event and it had to be a month subscription)? I told her that as it was a telephone order it was down to the tele sales representative to have explained the terms and conditions, and I suggested they dig out the recording of the order being placed as this is the only form of contract there could possibly be. I was told to email my complaint in, and was given 2 email addresses

I emailed Setanta on the 22nd of October, demanded an explanation and a refund, and made it blatantly clear that I don't authorise any more debits from my account and I hadn't authorised anymore than £12.99 in the first place. I received the automated email stating that I would have a reply within 5 working days. Of course I didn't receive any sort of reply (I say of course, because it has become apparent that I'm not the only one receiving this sort of treatment from Setanta). Before I knew it another payment had been taken from my account in November. I called my bank and demanded that no more payments to Setanta were to be made. But because this was not set up as a direct debit, it was some sort of telephone authorisation mandate they said they would write to Setanta telling them that they can't take anymore money from my account, but apparently this can only take effect after 31 days, which could mean Setanta could pull another payment in December. I got on to Setanta again, this time they told me only my daughter could authorise a cancellation as the account was in her name (or she could call them to give permission for them to accept instruction from me). Why hadn't they answered answered my email to mention this in October (let alone not being told any of this in September). I explained that although the account was in her name, they were taking payment from my account, and as I don't/hadn't authorised this they should take instruction from me in respect of not taking money from my account, and then if they needed to contact her asking for fresh payment details thats down to them. When asked why they hadn't responded to my email correspondence I was informed the email address had changed. This turns out to be totally untrue and does not explain that I sent the email to 2 addresses and of course even if a company did change an email address, the old address would still be monitored (especially as it was the address on all there correspondence and web site. It was just a blatant lie).

My daughter then had several phone calls trying to cancel this subscription, again mainly concerning why nobody had responded to her emails. She was always told someone would call her back, but off course in the beginning never did. Although she did have one call returned eventually. Just somebody expressing regret that she wanted to cancel, nothing was mentioned about the complaint, and the person said they had no knowledge of it. This story could just run and run, so its time to sum up.

When ordering by telephone it must be down to the tele sales representative to explain the terms and conditions. As there is no signed document if a customers says cancel something then surely it should be cancelled there and then unless the phone recording is there as proof that the terms and conditions were correctly explained. I suggest Setanta dig out this recording to show it was clearly explained that it was going to cost us a minimum of £40.97 for something that was advertised to give the impression that it would cost £12.99. (if they can't produce this proof I expect a full refund of all monies payed barring the £12.99 of service requested).

Since I sent an email saying I do not authorise anymore payments to be debited to my account there has been another debited in November and another expected for December. This is a further £25.98 totaling £66.95 for an order we were led to believe would cost £12.99.
We have at last received a confirmation email from Setanta that the sevice will cease 30 days after the next payment is taken on the 15th of December.

I am sure that Setanta intentionally use this tactic, as stalling a few months before customers eventually cancel via their bank, gives them a lot of extra revenue, and as it is such a relatively small amount, they rely that not many people will actually take this further.

I intend to take this further and send to as many bodies of authorities that I can. If anyone can give my any advice I would be very grateful.

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