Non-reimbursement of bank fraud: UFC-Que Choisir files a complaint

The consumer protection association UFC-Que Choisir has filed a complaint against 12 banks for deceptive commercial practices, following the non-reimbursement of customers who were victims of fraud. Since 2019, UFC-Que Choisir has analyzed several thousand reports of refund refusals.

4,300 reports of reimbursement refusals

Between 2019 and 2022, the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir analyzed almost 4,300 reports of bank fraud refusals. 60% of these reports concern fraud involving amounts in excess of €4,000, sometimes up to several tens of thousands of euros.

Customers of traditional banks are just as concerned as those of online banks, neobanks and credit institutions. UFC-Que Choisir has filed a complaint for misleading commercial practices. The complaint targets 12 banks: Banque Populaire, La Banque Postale, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Boursorama, Floa Banque, CIC, Nickel, LCL, ING and Cetelem.

At the same time, the consumer association has also called on the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR) and the French Ministry of the Economy and Finance to step up controls and take measures to ensure that customers who have fallen victim to bank fraud are reimbursed.

A "real strategy" to prevent bank fraud

According to UFC-Que Choisir, the non-reimbursement of fraud has become a " real strategy " for banks, which are normally obliged to prove their customers' " personal negligence " to avoid having to reimburse them, as stipulated in the French Monetary and Financial Code.

According to the consumer association, " the most widespread method is to accuse victims of negligence ", " an alibi that is not acceptable, and even less so when the transaction has been validated by SMS alone ".

Another method used by banks is to refuse reimbursement when the transaction has been subject to strong authentication, an identity verification system that combines at least 2 security features, including a biometric characteristic (fingerprint, voice recognition), the cell phone or bank card, and a password or secret question.

However, banks that refuse to reimburse their customers who have been victims of fraud in the case of strong authentication do not provide proof that these same customers are the originators of the transaction. Some banks also justify non-reimbursement by refusing to cover their own insurance.

According to UFC-Que Choisir, banks are leading customers to believe that they have no right to be reimbursed, which the association describes as a misleading commercial practice.

According to data from the French Banking Federation reported by UFC-Que Choisir, one fraud in six is not reimbursed, and according to the latest Banque de France report, the amount of fraud has reached 1.2 billion euros. In 2020, 1.3 million households were victims of fraud, a figure that has risen by 161% in 10 years.

UFC-Que Choisir describes the non-reimbursement of bank fraud as a " drain on consumer purchasing power ", and is hoping for strong measures and " truly dissuasive penalties to counter the banks' maneuvers ".