Instead of taking just one direct debit a year, money was being taken on ‘a fairly arbitrary basis’. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
I have taken over the financial affairs of an elderly dementia sufferer. In March 2013, he signed up with Money Club and paid an annual fee of £98. At that time he had just started losing his memory and he does not own a computer or have the mental capacity to use the service, so I’m baffled as to how it sold him the membership. Another £98 was taken in March 2014 and since then a further 20 payments have been taken by direct debit totalling £2,148. I have attempted to contact Money Club without success. He should only have been charged three payments of £98 from 2013 to 2016. JS, Manchester
The Money Club has a habit of cold calling with the offer of a free trial, then committing householders to an annual subscription without them being fully aware of what they are signing up to. Calling itself “the UK’s premier shopping club”, it runs a discount and cashback website. Several Cash readers have found themselves paying way over the odds as the annual £98 subscription is randomly debited. One reader recently told me an account had been debited 29 times in five years.
The Money Club blames a computer upgrade. “The frequency of his payments, which should have been set to annually, was left blank and, as a result, collections have been made on a fairly arbitrary basis,” it says. “We can find no trace of him using the club, which is probably why the error has not been picked up.”
It is refunding all the payments, but you should make sure the direct debit is cancelled.
If you need help email Anna Tims at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number.