Fraudulent Travel Agency- Small Claims

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  • SandtreeSandtree Forumite
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    martindow said:
    Sandtree said:
    Who do you bank with?

    Since the CoP process came in then almost all banks will check the name of the account holder for any new PAYEE that you set up against the name on the receiving account. This clearly should identified that the account was a private individual's and not in the travel agent's name.
    The OP sent the money internationally it seems, so there was probably no check.  Not sending to a UK account would have rung alarm bells for me, especially where a large sum of money is concerned.

    Just a thought, is the OP sure they are really contacting the travel agent?  Presumably the contact details were spoofed as part of this fraud, so they may be complaining to the fraudster.

    Didnt spot that bit... international bank transfers are a pain to do for most people and incur fees. This would not only be an alarm bell unless I knew the travel agent was overseas based (though if its Southall Travel then they are clearly in Southall, London) but also be a reason to push to pay by another mechanism where its not me directly paying the fees for payment. 
  • rigolithrigolith Forumite
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    Let's look at this from a legal point of view as the judge in Small Claims Court likely would.

    Normally the employer is liable for the actions of their employees, so that's a good start. They may argue that you were negligent in not picking up on the obvious warning signs, like it being a foreign bank account and not in the company's name, but ultimately they were the ones who gave this person a job and allowed them to use their good name to scam you.

    So I think you have a decent chance of recovering your loss of £2.5k via SCC.

    As for the other £2.5k, the difference between the cost then and the cost now, that's going to be hard to win. You could avoid losing money by not taking the tip and instead going some other time. Unless there is some incredibly good reason, more than just you really wanted to go at this time, why you can't delay the trip then it will be hard to convince a judge that they are liable for that.
  • jamesbundjamesbund Forumite
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    Thank you everyone for your kind responses.

    This is recent email response I have received https://ibb.co/zHRMjjH

    I have checked the source of the email and it's definitely not a spoofed email so they are clearly trying to wash their Hands off their responsibility.

    Their employee who I spoke to are all based in India, infact their entire call centre is based in India and I did not doubt for a second when the employee emailed me their false Bank account details on their company email with the employee's company signature.
    They even gave me the itinerary and Flight booking reference which I was able to check on the Airlines website itself which confirmed all the names of the passengers travelling and dates etc.

    I may need to expose them to media if they don't pull their act together.

  • SandtreeSandtree Forumite
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    They say ex-employee... where they still an employee at the time? Is it possible they were sacked during your discussions, retained your contact details and then concluded their fraud after already being sacked spoofing the email address etc (which most 12 year olds can do)?
  • jamesbundjamesbund Forumite
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    Sandtree said:
    They say ex-employee... where they still an employee at the time? Is it possible they were sacked during your discussions, retained your contact details and then concluded their fraud after already being sacked spoofing the email address etc (which most 12 year olds can do)?
    Most worrying bit is that the email was not spoofed, It was sent from their domain and server directly, was able to verify this on the actual email header and source code.
  • rigolithrigolith Forumite
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    jamesbund said:
    Thank you everyone for your kind responses.

    This is recent email response I have received https://ibb.co/zHRMjjH

    I have checked the source of the email and it's definitely not a spoofed email so they are clearly trying to wash their Hands off their responsibility.

    Their employee who I spoke to are all based in India, infact their entire call centre is based in India and I did not doubt for a second when the employee emailed me their false Bank account details on their company email with the employee's company signature.
    They even gave me the itinerary and Flight booking reference which I was able to check on the Airlines website itself which confirmed all the names of the passengers travelling and dates etc.

    I may need to expose them to media if they don't pull their act together.

    I think you are going to have to accept some of the blame here. Any reasonable person would have questioned why the payment needed to be made to a) a foreign account and b) a personal account rather than a corporate one.

    Did your bank not contact you to verify the transaction? Should really have tripped their fraud prevention system.

    The problem you are going to have is proving that they were negligent. With Small Claims Court you don't get to demand evidence from them, and they will only supply stuff that shows they did their due diligence.

    Do you have legal assistance on your home insurance? Have you contacted Action Fraud, for all the good it will do?
  • jamesbundjamesbund Forumite
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    rigolith said:


    I think you are going to have to accept some of the blame here. Any reasonable person would have questioned why the payment needed to be made to a) a foreign account and b) a personal account rather than a corporate one. 
    Did your bank not contact you to verify the transaction? Should really have tripped their fraud prevention system.

    The problem you are going to have is proving that they were negligent. With Small Claims Court you don't get to demand evidence from them, and they will only supply stuff that shows they did their due diligence.

    Do you have legal assistance on your home insurance? Have you contacted Action Fraud, for all the good it will do?


    Of course, I am not proud to be a victim of a scam and you are right that I should have questioned it but considering their reputation and an official email (did check if it was spoofed before transfer) and urgency to book the ticket when the agent offered a limited timed discounted flight ticket as prices do tend to go off the roof during December.

    My bank did not contact me and just so you be aware bank account verification system does not always guaranteed to work even within U.K transfers.

    The problem you are going to have is proving that they were negligent. With Small Claims Court you don't get to demand evidence from them, and they will only supply stuff that shows they did their due diligence.
    What could possibility be their counter argument ? 
    After several phone calls,they gave me a quote in writing and demanded payment through their official email and following which I was presented with  booking reference which I can verify and manage booking on the Airlines website, although now that booking has been cancelled.

    As far as I can see contract was formed and they have not honored their side of contract!

    If their ex-employee allegedly acted maliciously don't think any business can penalize their customers in this day and age without any  accountability on their side.

    I have registered this with Action Fraud already and I do not have any legal assistance.

    Thanks

  • jamesbundjamesbund Forumite
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    I have received  further advise from CAB that

    'Employers' are liable for their 'Employee's' act under Vicarious Liability (Respondeat superior doctrine)   however, onus is on the claimant to prove that the 'employee' was working for the 'employer' at the time of committing the fraud and it was within their scope of  employment.
  • Alan_BowenAlan_Bowen Forumite
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    I mentioned vicarious liability in an earlier post, booking flight tickets was clearly within their job description, stealing your money was not! The real issue is whether they were working with Southall at the time of your booking, did you telephone the number on the screen for Southall? If you did then the second part of the question is answered as well
  • jamesbundjamesbund Forumite
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    Ninth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I mentioned vicarious liability in an earlier post, booking flight tickets was clearly within their job description, stealing your money was not! The real issue is whether they were working with Southall at the time of your booking, did you telephone the number on the screen for Southall? If you did then the second part of the question is answered as well
    For some reasons I missed it, anyway I wasn't even aware of this until today.. lol :)

    And yes, I did call their Website main number after getting few quotes from Skyscanner.net



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