Customers that see dodgy transactions on their cards and want to get their money back from the bank should skip the usual complaints procedure and sue, according to renowned Cambridge payments security expert Ross Anderson.
Anderson's advice, proffered on a Cambridge University technical blog, comes on the back of his own experience with NatWest. The professor says a debit of £126.51 to "Ian Travel Services" on a credit card used by his wife mysteriously appeared last June.
After calls to NatWest proved fruitless, Anderson wrote to the bank asking to reverse the transaction or provide evidence "that it was made with our mandate".
Following protracted discussion over several months, detailed on the blog, Anderson decided to change tack and sue NatWest in the small claims court.
The bank settled at once.
Anderson says this may be "entirely rational behaviour" from the bank, with many customers simply giving up on their attempts to get refunds.
"So now you know - suing the bank is the fastest, simplest and least-hassle way of getting your money back," although he also warns disgruntled customers to ensure their cases remains on the small claims track and not allow then to be moved to fast track, as happened in the Alain Job case, costing him £15,000.