Avoiding/Cancelling Continuous Payment Authorities

Avoiding a CPA

  • Be aware that any time you give out the long number of your card, the company you are giving it to can use it set up a CPA.
  • When paying for goods or services online or over the phone, be cautious about giving out the long number unless it is a very reputable company.  You may want to consider having a pre-paid card and only loading on enough credit for the purchase you wish to make.
  • Be particularly cautious about entering card details if:
    • It is to a company that you have never heard of.
    • It is for a “free trial” or “free sample” – such offers are often only a way of trying to get your card details to set up a CPA.
  • Even if dealing with a well known company, make it clear that you are providing the card details solely for a one-off purchase – or 1-year subscription – and that you are not entering into auto-renewal and you deny consent for those details to be used to set up a CPA.

Unsure if You Have a CPA?

If you think that you may have a CPA but are not sure, here are some ways you can check:

  • Check your bank and credit card statements for any unexpected transactions.
  • If you signed up to a service/product for a year, e.g. insurance, check with that company whether they have signed you up to auto-renewal.
  • Check with your bank / credit card provider whether there are any CPAs against your account.  In particular get them to check out any particular company you suspect may have set one up.

Cancelling a CPA

If you find out you have a CPA, here are the steps to take:

  1. Contact the company in question and instruct them to cancel the CPA.  You are entitled to do so under clause 3 of Regulation 55 of the Payment Services Regulations 2009.  [But note that if you are in a contract with the company, e.g. a 24-month mobile phone contract, you are still obliged to settle any money you still owe.]
  2. Instruct your bank / credit card provider to cancel the CPA.  They are obliged to do so under the same regulation.
  3. You must then allow 8 weeks for them to do so.
  4. If they fail to comply after 8 weeks, contact the Financial Ombudsman to adjudicate on the matter.
  5. Claim back any payments that were taken after you asked for the CPA to be cancelled.  These are unauthorised transactions and the money must be refunded to you.

A much more detail guide can be found on the MoneySavingExpert site.