"When my quarterly bank statements came in December for my personal bank account, I noticed that €12 had been transferred from my account to Completesave.ie on the 7th of each month since August 2013, a Dublin reader writes. "I had never heard of the company, and visited the website and phoned their 1800 number."
She listened to the menu of options and held for an operator, before eventually being connected to a human voice. “I explained that I had just viewed the transactions on my bank statement but had no idea what it was relating to. I had given him my name and he asked for my postal address. I pleasantly refused to share any personal information on the basis that I had no idea what this company was or why they have been taking money from my account without my permission. He then threatened to ‘cut the line’ and was clearly annoyed. I calmly requested to speak to a supervisor.”
She then explained the situation to a supervisor and asked for an explanation, cancellation and full refund of the money transferred to date. “In order to get a full explanation I gave him my name and email address. He then confirmed the first two numbers of my postal address and I confirmed the 3rd. He said he understood my reluctance to share personal information.”
She was told that, following a purchase on Ticketmaster. ie on July 8th, she was sent to a partner page, which offered €10 saving on her next booking. "I had a vague recollection of this and said so, but added that I did not authorise any standing order from my account for €12 a month, as I have enough monthly bills to pay. He said he totally understood and assured me that he had immediately cancelled this and would arrange the refund today from the transactions starting in August and it would hit my account in five working days."
She says she does not understand what Ticketmaster is playing at.
“Surely they are not entitled to share my personal bank account details with a third party without my knowledge or any confirmation that €12 would be deducted monthly. To add insult to injury, to avail of the €10 discount on the next purchase, one must purchase through the Completesave.ie website, which I had no knowledge of as there was no instruction of this.
“I found the whole thing so frustrating and it left a really bad taste in my mouth. I would be really interested to hear what Ticketmaster has to say about this.”
A second case
We then got another mail from a different reader but about the same company. "While reviewing my bank statements last week, I noticed payments going out to Complete Savings. The amount was for about €12 but there were four payments of the same amount being paid to the company," she writes. "I racked my brain, trying to figure out what those payments were for. I immediately thought they were fraudulent payments until I saw an email in my junk folder from Complete Savings."
She searched online and found a connection between Irish Rail and Complete Savings, "and true enough, I booked with Irish Rail last October online, and ever since then the payments have been going out of my account.
“I do remember seeing something while booking my train tickets that made me think I could sign up for discounts on my train ticket.”
When she contacted Complete Savings, she was told she must have manually signed up and agreed to the service. “If I was the only person talking about it I may have thought I signed up unknowingly, but from searching Twitter it looks like so many people got caught out.”
The company agreed to give her a full refund. “I still have no clue what I was supposedly paying for.”
We contacted Ticketmaster and Irish Rail. Both told us they did not pass on financial details to Complete Savings, which is an entirely separate company. Then we contacted Complete Savings, to be told that anyone who was being billed had agreed to give over their financial details. We asked if it would comment about the striking similarity between the two cases, and why the company appears to give people who complain about its service full refunds without a quibble. It seems like an odd business practice.
We were told that, in order to sign up, a customer “must enter their name, email address, postal address and their credit or debit card details on the online sign-up page”, and at no point “is any data transferred to the Complete Savings sign-up form from their previous purchase.”
A spokesman said the company “want all of our members to be happy with the service they receive, and it is not our intention to keep members who do not wish to belong to the programme. In both the cases you highlight, we were happy to offer a full refund as the members had not made use of the benefits of the programme.”