MSE News: Had a flutter on the Grand National? Beware you're not charged an inactivit

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
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Former_MSE_HelenFormer_MSE_Helen
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
Withdraw cash in a bookies account as soon as possible as you could be charged a monthly inactivity fee...
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Had a flutter on the Grand National? Beware you're not charged an inactivity fee

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  • VT82VT82 Forumite
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    Surely if you only open it for the Grand National, if you lose, your account balance is zero, and if you win, you take out your winnings, and hence will have a zero balance account? So no inactivity fee to pay?

    Sounds like 'Beth Burling' won something on the National, and forgot to take out her winnings, probably because she was just too lazy to check if she'd won. And then instead of being grateful for the warning that she had old winnings she could withdraw, she went on the internet to b*tch about a company trying to 'scam' her.

    Same old, same old.
  • thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    A timely thread, as I just emailed the UK Gambling Commission on this matter.

    The UK Gambling Commission is supposed to regulate gambling in the UK.

    According to their Code of Practice,

    "7.1 – Licensees must satisfy themselves that the terms on which gambling is offered are not unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and, where applicable, meet the reasonableness test under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and must comply with those terms"

    One UK-licensed operator (Mansion Group, ex-sponsors of Tottenham, now I believe partner with Man City) provides that where no bets are placed for six months, they will confiscate 5% of the balance every month, and after 12 months the entire balance. They are supposed to send an email (not a reliable means of communication), but in my case I didn't receive one from them, and I had £1,273 confiscated over three months.

    I complained to the UKGC about this, on the basis that if fees are appropriate at all, they should be at most £1 or £2/month, not hundreds of pounds, and that the term was blatantly unfair within the Unfair Contract Terms regulations, and therefore contrary to their Code of Practice, and that the UKGC should instruct Mansion to remove it.

    The UKGC responded, only after four weeks, saying

    "The Commission does not specify whether or not an operator may charge admin fees.

    However it does require that all terms and conditions must meet the requirements of the Unfair Contract Terms Act., whether a term is acceptable is something that only the courts can decide.

    Mansion Group have clearly presented the terms on which a player transacts with them and ultimately the choice whether to accept these terms lies with the individual player."

    In other words 'Go away, we don't care, we don't provide any protection'

    Now it's worth noting that they don't really seem to know the law very well, as they cite the Unfair Contract Terms Act, but the relevant legislation is actually the Unfair Contract Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations. And furthermore, where they claim that you must go to court to test this - this is not true. In fact, the Competition and Markets Authority has legal authority under the Regulations, and under EU law, to specify which terms are unfair. Other regulatory bodies also have this power, although the UKGC is not on the list.

    I contacted the CMA, and they sent a standard response saying 'We don't normally do anything about individual complaints from consumers (but we might from another body [such as the Gambling Commission or MSE?]), but if we get a lot of them we might look into it.'

    So basically the UKGC don't care, and if I take Mansion to court, then even if I win, no precedent would be set (as it would be a Small Claim) and they have zero incentive to change their terms
  • davethorpdavethorp Forumite
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    I'm sure the 1 person who hasn't already withdrawn their winnings and wasn't planning on doing within the next 12 months is really benefiting from this article

  • thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    VT82 wrote: »
    Surely if you only open it for the Grand National, if you lose, your account balance is zero, and if you win, you take out your winnings, and hence will have a zero balance account? So no inactivity fee to pay?

    People don't necessarily take out their winnings.

    You might leave the winnings there to bet with another time. Sometimes there are offers involving placing more than one bet over a period of time. Sometimes the gambling firm is in a different currency ($, perhaps), and you would prefer not to pay currency fees every time you play.

    Bet365 encourage you to keep a balance on the account, by offering free sports streaming if you have a balance.
    Sounds like 'Beth Burling' won something on the National, and forgot to take out her winnings, probably because she was just too lazy to check if she'd won. And then instead of being grateful for the warning that she had old winnings she could withdraw, she went on the internet to b*tch about a company trying to 'scam' her.

    No, the Grand National was last week, it doesn't sound like she won something on that at all, the account wouldn't be dormant yet.
  • thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    davethorp wrote: »
    I'm sure the 1 person who hasn't already withdrawn their winnings and wasn't planning on doing within the next 12 months is really benefiting from this article

    Lots of people have been charged these fees, it's not 1 person.

    Example: http://www.casinomeister.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25173

    This guy was charged over £2,000 by Ladbrokes: http://forum.punterslounge.com/threads/134046-Ladbrokes-Check-out-this-screenshot-I-feel-absolutely-robbed!-Anything-I-can-do

    You might as well ask why there are dormant bank accounts, or unclaimed Premium Bond prizes, or anything else.

    It's a non-trivial amount of money, and with gambling firms supposedly now regulated, respectable members of the business community, allowed to advertise on TV, they should behave that way and not impose illegal charges on their users - the banks were clamped down on; betting firms may be next.
  • davethorpdavethorp Forumite
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    thelawnet wrote: »
    Lots of people have been charged these fees, it's not 1 person

    From the grand national? This year? After leaving their account dormant for 6 days?

    Nope didn't think so!

  • thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    davethorp wrote: »
    From the grand national? This year? After leaving their account dormant for 6 days?

    Nope didn't think so!

    I don't think you are getting the point. The article is timely because at this time of year more people than usual place bets, because of the Grand National.

    Some of these people who placed those seasonal National bets will, not today, but in future, at a time varying according to the gambling firm, be charged a dormancy fee. So the purpose of the article is to draw people's attention to that fact.

    The issue of dormancy fees applies 365 days a year, but from a consumer perspective, now, when all the National bets have been resolved, is a good time to address it and warn people that their bookies cash is not safe - leave £50 in Lloyds and it will still be there in a year's time, leave £50 in a supposedly reputable bookies like Mansion, and in 12 months time they will have confiscated it all.
  • davethorpdavethorp Forumite
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    thelawnet wrote: »
    I don't think you are getting the point.

    I don't think you are getting the point? Why would anyone leave money in a bookmakers online account having won? Especially for a year as they would have to do to fall foul of the issues highlighted by the article. At which point there would be another grand national and presumably the punter would log in to their account, discover the money and bet it on the subsequent year.

    A none story from MSE which isn't exactly unusual these days

  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    I withdrawn my winnings late on Sat evening.
  • thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    davethorp wrote: »
    I don't think you are getting the point? Why would anyone leave money in a bookmakers online account having won?

    I already explained:
    thelawnet wrote:
    You might leave the winnings there to bet with another time. Sometimes there are offers involving placing more than one bet over a period of time. Sometimes the gambling firm is in a different currency ($, perhaps), and you would prefer not to pay currency fees every time you play.

    Bet365 encourage you to keep a balance on the account, by offering free sports streaming if you have a balance.

    There are also voided bets, which you might not be aware of.
    A none story from MSE which isn't exactly unusual these days

    No, it's not a non-story. Many people have been charged these fees, which appear to be illegal under UK law.

    You saying 'why would you leave your money in there' is not the point. The fact is people DO leave their money in there, and they HAVE been charged fees by the gambling firms. You might as well ask why people take out PPI or why they go to loan sharks or whatever. No, it's not a good idea, but yes, the law in this country does protect them.
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