What does direct debit fraud mean

Direct debit authorizations, direct debit orders & revocation

No obligation to check for direct debit authorizations

There is no protection against unauthorized withdrawals. The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection: “It is a problem that the institutes do not check direct debit authorizations - that invites abuse”. The OLG Celle (Ref .: 3 U 198/06) had decided that direct debits may only be made after the direct debit authorization has been issued.

The banks are only allowed to withdraw money if the customer has given the company a direct debit authorization. However, the bank does not have to check whether this is present or not, this is covered by the contract. The banks don't even check whether the name and number belong together at all. As the spokeswoman for the banking association explains, such a check is not possible for more than seven billion transactions.


New European regulations: Moving in only with written approval

The European Directive for Payment Services will be transferred into German law on October 31, 2009. This regulates the new SEPA direct debit procedure and thus also the direct debit authorization. In the future, a provider will no longer be able to rely on a direct debit authorization that was only given verbally, for example over the phone, but basically requires written consent. Fraudulent advertisers can then no longer claim that the customer has given his consent to the debit by telephone.

Revocation in the European direct debit procedure:

The deadline for the right to object to a wrong booking (right of return) has been shortened; in future it will only be 8 more weeks from the day of booking.

In the case of an incorrectly authorized SEPA direct debit, the deadline is 13 months.

Revocation of fraudulent charges

If there is no direct debit and a direct debit has been issued with the consumer's account details, this is fraud. Those affected should therefore file a criminal complaint.

You can still revoke a fraudulent debit after 6 weeks (judgment of the BGH of 06.06.2000, Az. XI ZR 258/99). However, to do this, you must have complied with your duty to regularly check your bank statements. Otherwise, the bank can blame you for contributory negligence (source: consumer advice center Schleswig-Holstein from 11.08.08)

Despite timely cancellation of direct debit, no money from the bank

The Federal Court of Justice decided on June 6th, 2000 that the holder of a current account can object to a direct debit for an unlimited period of time

The banks then stipulated in their terms and conditions that the direct debit must be revoked immediately. If the customer fails to raise an objection immediately, this can give rise to a claim for damages by the bank against the customer. The approval of the direct debit booking is deemed to have been granted if the customer does not revoke it within 6 weeks of the quarterly closing.

A bank customer had issued a direct debit authorization, but revoked the direct debit on June 1st, 2003 within 6 weeks of closing the invoice. The customer had knowledge of the booking through the account statement and the statement of account, delivered on 04/25/03. The collecting bank refused to pay when the recipient bank did not return the amount 6 weeks after the booking.

The district court Munich I Az: 4 O 15810/03 decided on November 13th, 2003 that the collecting bank does not have to post the amount back. The objection to the debit entry was raised in good time, but since this did not happen immediately, the bank was entitled to a claim for damages. The customer is obliged to check account statements for correctness immediately and to raise objections immediately. Otherwise, the plaintiff could stick to the recipient of the money who collected the amount

A debit order is not a direct debit order

With the direct debit procedure, e.g. for rent, electricity insurance, GEZ etc., the customer grants the company a direct debit authorization, i.e. permission to debit the amounts due from the account. Incorrect debits can be reversed.

In the case of a direct debit order, the account holder gives his bank a written declaration that a specific company may debit his account. In contrast to direct debit orders, direct debit orders cannot be reversed.

Of course, you can also delete debit orders and revoke them at the bank. Once transferred, money will not be booked back.