Banks ‘blame’ customers for fraud
29 April 2005
BRUSSELS – Belgian banks are putting too much responsibility on customers to protect themselves against fraud, according to the country’s leading watchdog.
Test-Achats said on Friday that most leading banks had unfair general conditions on credit and debit card abuse.
The law requires customers to take a reasonable amount of care over their bank cards in order to prevent them from being used by criminals. If a customer loses her card, for instance, or has it stolen, she must report it promptly.
Any transactions after that moment should then be paid by the card issuer.
If a bank can prove someone has been negligent in protecting his card or details, then the customer could find himself footing a bill.
However, Test-Achats stressed there was a limit of EUR 150.
The watchdog said many banks were sneaking extra rules on negligence into conditions sent to the customer with his card. Spokesman Ivo Mechels told the news agency Belga those rules largely exceed the spirit of Belgian law.
Only Argenta, Axa and the Test-Achats Visa offered by Banque de la Poste respected the rules, he added.
Test-Achats wants other banks to rewrite their conditions by 30 June. It has pledged to ask the Commerce Tribunal to step in if banks don’t heed its warning.
The banking community reacted stridently to the 30 June deadline, with the Belgian Association of Banks stating it was up to individual banks whether they wanted to make any changes.
Spokesman Jacques Zeegers said fraud was a huge problem and banks needed to act to ensure the cost of fraud did not continue to escalate. “The more fraud there is, the more costs increase for the banks, which means costs must be passed on to all customers, including those who’ve been careful,” he said.
He said banks were right to consider it “seriously negligent” if customers used pin codes which were their dates of births, especially when their banks warned them not to.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news