Giffgaff have taken unauthorised money from my bank account.

Whilst checking my bank account on Wednesday I found a top up payment for Giffgaff for the amount of £23.78.  Now I'm with O2 so it isn't my phone and I'm on a contract and don't require top-ups.  As the payment was "pending" I contacted my bank to stop it as an unauthorised payment. They advised that they couldn't do anything until the payment had cleared. When it had I tried again to be told that they still couldn't do anything and to contact the retailer.  It appears that Giffgaff only supply their contact details if you are a customer (member). 

By coincidence I was playing cards with my son and he was complaining that when he went to top-up his phone, Giffgaff had debited his bank 3X.  This is when we looked into the payment that had left my account.  Well, wouldn't you know it, it was for my son's phone.  Top-up £20 + £3.78 service fee!  I topped his phone up from my account a few months ago when he was struggling but I have never given any authority for any further payments to be deducted.

I don't know what to do.  I can't get any sense from the bank and I can't get hold of Giffgaff.  I'm hoping someone on this forum might have a solution as I can't afford for random payments to disappear into the ether.  My son has also tried contacting them but they will only deal with his payments and not the one from my account.
I prefer rogues to imbeciles, they sometimes take a rest (Alexander Dumas)


  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,013
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    If your son is a customer and the issue is linked to his account I don't understand how you cannot contact them?

    when you say you toped up his phone from your account, how was that physically done and by whom? 
    How reliable are you and/or your son at reading/listening to all the T&Cs when you click I Agree or say to proceed?
  • PHK
    PHK Posts: 1,133
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    With giff gaff, you add a payment card to the account.  Not a one off payment. This is used to pay for top-ups, extra credit and to purchase packs.

    I think what's happened  is that your son has taken out a gold goody bag (paid by DD from his account) the payment has failed so they've taken it from the alternative payment method.

    Is it possible your son is struggling again but too embarrassed to let you know?
  • Kim_13
    Kim_13 Posts: 2,206
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Photogenic
    edited 20 October 2023 at 8:10PM
    giffgaff don’t do Direct Debit - recurring card payment or payment from airtime balance (depending on the bundle) only. I’ve never come across a service fee before - though they have recently introduced 18 month contracts, seemingly with no credit check or age restriction. They allow switching up and down between bundles within the 18 months but the minimum term is binding - has he perhaps signed up for the minimum term and failed to pay on time? 

    It looks as though a plan can be on hold for a maximum of 3 months before they cancel it and charge 50% of the remaining commitment cost, based on the most recent plan selected - so he’ll need to be careful not to trigger this.

    If giffgaff will deal with the payments from his card, it doesn’t seem like any duplicates would be outstanding, unless I’m misunderstanding. If he can get those refunded, he’d simply need to reimburse you for the money taken from your account and make sure that your card is removed from his account so that this can’t happen again. giffgaff top up vouchers are available, so you might wish to buy him one of those should you agree to help him in the future.

    You could set up an account on giffgaff’s community without buying anything - they’re likely to be more clued up on how giffgaff operate, as customers themselves. giffgaff staff (known as agents) can be contacted via online form, but I suspect this is what your son has already been doing.

    Having googled giffgaff top up, I found what looked like a shyster site, so this might also explain the service charge (perhaps similar to those sites that do actually get you your driving licence, GHIC etc but charge a fee on top for doing it.)
  • Adamskiodp
    Adamskiodp Posts: 16
    First Post First Anniversary
    edited 27 October 2023 at 10:09AM
    Giffgaff do not charge service fees. Has your son used a third party company to buy a top up voucher?
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