I used to have a credit card with MBNA. I closed the account with them in September 2004, as I got a better deal with another provider. I had an impeccable record with MBNA, having always paid my bill in full at the end of each month, as I do with all my credit cards. I received a letter from MBNA confirming the account had been closed, that thankfully, I have retained.
Since September 2004, I have moved house and now live in France.
This week, a threatening letter was sent by them to my mother's house back in the UK (who is well into her sixties) saying that they had tried to contact me on numerous occasions, but without success, and would next week be OK for them to send round the heavies?
This was the first I was aware of any problem, because as far as I was concerned my account was closed several years ago. When I called them, they said the reason for the letter was that an annual subscription to the AA breakdown service had been posted to the account in January 2007 (2.5 years after the account was closed), this had since accrued interest and they wanted this to be paid off - or else.
I had no idea whatsoever that this transaction had taken place - no statements, letters or anything. Just a threat of the balliffs next week if I didn't pay up.
MBNA claim that they processed this transaction as it was a "standing order" type transaction and therefore that I am liable for both the principal amount and the interest. They claimed that Visa and Mastercard rules meant that they had no choice but to process it.
Surely, this can't be right?
Plus, if they had to process the transaction this year (i.e. in 2007), why didn't they process it in 2005 and 2006 (which they didn't)? As an annual subscription, somebody at MBNA must have declined it for the first two years after the account was closed.
As far as I can see, the AA shouldn't have requested payment from a closed account, but more importantly, MBNA shouldn't have paid it.
Sorting out the AA side of things is easy - I'll just give them an updated credit card number.
But where do I stand legally, as far as MBNA is concerned? Fine, I'll pay the principal amount - MBNA shouldn't have authorised the transaction it seems to me - but it sticks in my craw to have to pay interest on a transaction I didn't even know had happened. Why would I? The account had been closed as far as I was concerned and that was that.
How can I be sure this sorry episode hasn't affected my credit rating, and just as importantly, my mother's credit rating, as the letter had her address on it? As far as MBNA are concerned, the big men are coming next week - presumably to take some of her possessions away!! Nice!!
Aside from this being a shockingly poor example of "customer care" that I want as many people as possible to be aware of, I would appreciate any advice you could give me. Many thanks!