Suspicious that bank e-mail notice is a scam

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Each week former trading standards officer Richard Thomson answers your questions.

Q I’ve just received via e-mail a notification which purports to come from Halifax Banking. It claims I have a money transfer pending and to confirm it I have to enter a code. I suspect it’s a scam. Can you advise me and other readers who may have received the same mailing please?

DA (internet)

A For some unknown reason the Halifax and Barclays are a favourite of international online scammers. The online page certainly looks like a dead ringer for the genuine Halifax online banking page, but you’re right, it’s a scam. Don’t retain it on your machine. Zap it with the delete facility and then empty your ‘deleted items’ box for good measure.

If you get any more don’t be tempted to open anything, just repeat the junking process immediately.

Q My wife recently ordered two items from an online clothing retailer called Boo Hoo Ltd. On opening the package only one of the two items was enclosed. We queried the delivery within the required timescale but have only received automated responses saying they will look into the query. There is no phone number detailed on the website so no way of calling them to get a response. What are our rights please?

RB (internet)

A The short answer to your question is a refund if you can prove Boo Hoo are in breach of contract, which in your case they surely are.

Don’t hold your breath though. As countless customers have discovered before you, Boo Hoo are a bit of a basket case when it comes to customer service.

Their service mantra appears to be ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you,’ which as you’ve discovered to your cost, they rarely do.

You can only contact them via e-mail, or snail mail, and it seems if you can’t get a reply then it’s just Boo Hoo.

Angry customers’ complaints about their attitude to countless delivery and returns problems are a legend. Just Google ‘Boo Hoo complaints’ and you’ll see what I mean.

Hundreds of customer ratings range from disgusting to the incandescently unprintable. ‘Farce, awful, shocking, shouldn’t be allowed to trade’ are in the top category for politeness.

My advice is just to contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 and register a complaint for forwarding on to Manchester trading standards.

You might find it useful if you decide to shop speculatively online in future to remember to do the Google customer retailer ratings test.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Q I’ve just had my car insurance renewal and the premium has rocketed in price. Should I stay loyal to my existing insurer, or switch? What do you recommend?

GT (internet)

A Just go online, use one of the price comparison websites, and switch. In the commercial world, loyalty is for mugs.


Richard Thomson is a former trading standards officer with many years experience. If you have a question, e-mail him at and wherever possible he will try to provide practical assistance. Unfortunately he cannot guarantee to respond to every letter or e-mail. Richard Thomson welcomes letters from readers on consumer issues. Replies are intended to give general help or advice, not a complete statement of law.