Prostate pills purchase from China sees Fareham man's credit card cloned in fraud raid
Tony Lawson had developed a recurring bladder problem so he decided to buy a wonder prostate pill remedy he saw advertised online.
Prostavox pills are one of hundreds of DIY remedies for men who would prefer to give home remedies a try rather than consult their GP about accidental incontinence and frequent embarrassing trips to the toilet.
Tony, from Fareham contacted Streetwise to warn readers about his experience of buying medications online after he ended up paying over the odds.
To add insult to injury he was compelled to stump up yet more cash to get them delivered, and his credit card was fraudulently debited with an additional unauthorised purchase.
The 69-year-old retired plasterer admitted he’d kept his prostate problems to himself for a number of years, and had not even discussed it with Elaine, his wife.
‘It’s just not something men really want to talk about,’ he said. ‘I just went out of my way to reduce my liquid intake, especially in the evenings so that my bladder wasn’t feeling as if I needed to make an excessive number of night-time visits to the bathroom.
‘Then I developed a recurring problem in that after I went to the toilet I hadn’t quite finished going. It caused me numerous embarrassing moments when I was out and about, which is why it’s hardly the sort of thing I wanted to discuss with my mates while having a pint in the pub.
‘When I did an internet search it became obvious, I was spoilt for choice. I thought I’d give it a try and ended up paying what I understood to be a London firm £52 for a month’s supply of pills.’
After placing the order he was confident the medication would arrive within a few days. But when nothing turned up after a fortnight he decided it was high time he set about finding out what was happening.
‘I can’t remember whether I was more shocked than angry when I discovered my credit card had been charged with a whopping £157, three times more than I expected,’ he said.
‘When I looked to contact them online, I discovered the London address was just a front and the company, Herbal Treatments, was based in China.
‘They said that the extra cost was down to import tax and customs duties, which was why the cost had shot up. If I’d known that in the first place, I’d have given them a wide berth.
‘There was no tracking information, but they confirmed they’d dispatched the pills three days after they’d received the order but because the package was in transit they weren’t prepared to take them back for a full refund.’
However, yet more bad news was in the pipeline. Tony received an email from a courier, who confirmed the package had arrived at a Gatwick hub but there was a further delivery charge of £18 which he just wasn’t prepared to stump up.
Furious he got back onto the firm to tell them where they could stuff their pills and repeated his demand for a refund.
It came as no surprise when they stopped replying to his emails, his phone calls went unanswered, and the consignment remained undelivered.
A few days later another nasty surprise turned up in the post. On checking his credit card statement there was an unauthorised charge of £140 for Adidas Ultraboot trainers, which had been fraudulently bought online from JD Sports.
When he got onto his bank TSB, they promptly cancelled his card and stopped payments for a further three attempted ‘cardholder not present’ pipeline transactions totalling £547.
Fuming, and not knowing where to next to turn he emailed Streetwise for help and advice.
We first advised him to report the fraudulent card attempts to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting service.
When we attempted to speak to Herbal Treatments and intervene directly on his behalf, we were promptly cold shouldered, and the phone put down.
As a result, we then set about advising him on how to draw up a section 75 claim with his bank to recover the initial £157 he’d paid for the pills.
Section 75 refers to the 1974 Consumer Credit Act which provides buyers with a right to claim a refund or damages from the credit card provider rather than the supplier for a breach of contract or misrepresentation.
This means the card issuer is just as responsible as a retailer or trader for goods or services when goods are not delivered, the supplier goes bust, or a service has been sold under false pretences.
It’s particularly useful when a trader refuses to respond to emails, letter, or phone calls. It covers purchases costing more than £100 up to £30,000 and applies to foreign transactions as well as goods, bought online, by phone or mail order for delivery to the UK from overseas suppliers.
Tony was relieved just two weeks later when good news was finally on its way and his section 75 claim was accepted by his bank. He was particularly impressed when they also refunded the £140 Adidas fraudulent purchase putting him right back to square one.
He said: ‘I can’t even begin to tell you the frustration and anger I experienced over what appeared to be a genuine and simple discreet online purchase of a carton of prostate pills. It turned an already embarrassing situation into a nightmare I’ll not be repeating in a hurry.
‘I just wanted to warn people that buying over the internet can be a very risky business unless it’s from well-known reputable sources. The only good thing to come out of it is I’ve finally plucked up the courage to book an appointment with my GP about my bladder problems.
‘Streetwise gave me the opportunity and information to deal with the situation. I can’t thank you enough for all the sound help and advice you gave me.’