Author Topic: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)  (Read 893 times)

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272
Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« on: May 01, 2019, 02:16:33 PM »
The kids and I are heading back to Scotland this summer with our electric campervan. But we have run into a major problem:
1) to use the speed chargers in Scotland, we need a RFID card from ChargePlaceScotland.
2) They won't accept payment in any other form than Direct Debit (no VISA, no MasterCard, no cash in a white envelope).
3) I can't set up Direct Debit unless I have a UK bank account.
4) I can't get a UK bank account unless I live in the UK (and can prove it with a paid electricity bill or similar).

I have tried talking to them nicely, and I have tried contacting the top management. Nothing works. Last year, I talked a car rental company into renting me a RFID card, but it was not something they wanted to do very often, and it was a big hassle to get hold of it and sent it back.

Do any of you have any idea what I could do to solve this?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 04:02:11 PM by gaja »

reeshau

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 615
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2019, 03:34:25 PM »
I ran into a similar issue booking a Swiss mountain hotel years ago.  From a US account, just look into an international wire transfer.  They should have an IBAN number, which is a standard account number to send to.  It's the same thing.

If your bank won't do an international wire, you can sign up with a foreign exchange company like OFX to do it.  You may find more hassle in this, since you are sending to someone other than yourself.  (they are very sensitive to fraud)  This may take more time than from your home bank.  It may be a lot cheaper, though, too: $35 is a pretty standard bank fee for this.

You don't really need a UK account; really, anyplace other than the US, and this would be fairly routine.  It's kind of like the metric system, but for bank accounts.  I say this, but for a US citizen or permanent resident, foreign accounts can be a hassle.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 03:37:48 PM by reeshau »

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2019, 04:06:54 PM »
I've used IBAN and SWIFT for other transfers, but the problem this time is that this is more like a membership fee system, so they need the Direct Debit number of my bank account to set pull money once a month (depending on how much I use). That won't work with IBAN, since they can't pull money from abroad.

I'm in Norway, so I'm usually covered by EU/EEA laws. Often it makes it easier, but this time not.

What is a direct debit mandate?
It is a Direct Debit Instruction authorising GoCardless to collect future payments from your bank or building society on your behalf.

reeshau

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 615
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2019, 12:04:02 AM »
Will they let you carry a positive balance on the account?  Could you prepay it manually for the duration of your trip?

Clearly you aren't working within their pre-determined process, but perhaps they could find a way.  I would also ask to speak with a supervisor; a person on the front line might not be authorized to get creative.  And getting any remaining balance back may be just as hard, if not worse--be prepared to write it off.

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2019, 12:36:52 PM »
Will they let you carry a positive balance on the account?  Could you prepay it manually for the duration of your trip?

Clearly you aren't working within their pre-determined process, but perhaps they could find a way.  I would also ask to speak with a supervisor; a person on the front line might not be authorized to get creative.  And getting any remaining balance back may be just as hard, if not worse--be prepared to write it off.

Last I offered to prepay, I was declined. But maybe I didn't offer enough money. I will try again - thanks!

afterthedark

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 02:36:23 AM »
Point 11.6 of their scheme terms https://chargeplacescotland.org/scheme-terms/ says you can pay by debit or credit card, no mention at all that I could see of direct debits. Are you being told that when you go through the registration process?

daverobev

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3375
  • Location: France
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2019, 09:29:03 AM »
Can you get an account with Starling, or one of the other 'challenger' banks?

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2019, 10:38:33 AM »
Point 11.6 of their scheme terms https://chargeplacescotland.org/scheme-terms/ says you can pay by debit or credit card, no mention at all that I could see of direct debits. Are you being told that when you go through the registration process?

After registering, I'm met with a page where I can click to order a RFID card or download the app. From there, it goes to a page that tells me I need to register a payment method. And that is where I get stuck in the Direct Debit loop.

I also tried to download the app, but I can't register. I think the problem is with my non UK phone number and address, because it keeps telling me there are errors in the form.

Thanks for the link to the terms, I will try to use them to convince some managers they should let me pay via credit card.

Can you get an account with Starling, or one of the other 'challenger' banks?
Starling don't accept foreigners (according to their FAQ). I have registered with Revolut, and had high hopes since the data seemed to fit the form, but a few hours later I got a mail they were unable to pull any money. And that was confirmed by the helpline. But if you know any other places like that, I would be happy to try them out!

jim555

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2072
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2019, 12:44:49 PM »
Maybe check with HSBC or Barclays.  They could set you up, I would think.

daverobev

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3375
  • Location: France
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2019, 12:46:28 PM »
https://chargeplacescotland.org/helpcentre/

I am a member of another network. Can I access the ChargePlace Scotland network?

If you are a member of Charge Your Car you will be able to access the ChargePlace Scotland network with your chosen access method.

https://secure.chargeyourcar.org.uk/weblink-signup?scheme=cyc

Maybe you can sign up to this lot and use their mobile app? Edit - the sign up form has country, so...

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2019, 03:14:20 PM »
https://chargeplacescotland.org/helpcentre/

I am a member of another network. Can I access the ChargePlace Scotland network?

If you are a member of Charge Your Car you will be able to access the ChargePlace Scotland network with your chosen access method.

https://secure.chargeyourcar.org.uk/weblink-signup?scheme=cyc

Maybe you can sign up to this lot and use their mobile app? Edit - the sign up form has country, so...

Unfortunately not, I still end up back in the direct debit loop...

The contact pages look very similar, so I've been sort of assuming they were the same. But there are different phone numbers. I'll try calling them both to see if I can get a different answer from one of them. Thanks!
https://secure.chargeplacescotland.org/weblink-contactus?purpose=enquire&scheme=cps
https://secure.chargeyourcar.org.uk/weblink-contactus?purpose=enquire&scheme=cyc

Maybe check with HSBC or Barclays.  They could set you up, I would think.
HSBC said they required a UK adress, and according to my Norwegian bank, that is a quite strict international rule that has been set in place to avoid fraud.

Barclays could almost help me, but not quite. They have a basic account for EU citizens, but it excludes EEA countries like Norway. I could get an international account if I transfer 25 000£, but that feels a bit steep...

jim555

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2072
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2019, 03:18:18 PM »
Maybe check with HSBC or Barclays.  They could set you up, I would think.
HSBC said they required a UK adress, and according to my Norwegian bank, that is a quite strict international rule that has been set in place to avoid fraud.

Barclays could almost help me, but not quite. They have a basic account for EU citizens, but it excludes EEA countries like Norway. I could get an international account if I transfer 25 000£, but that feels a bit steep...
EU citizens have it easier.  Maybe try Isle of Man banks??

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2019, 04:41:00 PM »
Thank you all for helpful input. In the end, the app Monese turned out to be the solution.

afterthedark

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Please take my money! (UK Direct Debit issue)
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2019, 12:46:30 AM »
Thanks for the update, I was only wondering recently if you’d managed to sort something out. It is generally so easy nowadays to buy or organise stuff online etc. However when there is a problem it can suck up so much time and energy because systems (both the technology and business process type) can be too rigid and people aren’t always empowered to deal with anything outside the rigid sets of situations they expect.

I hope you enjoyed Scotland and managed to avoid the midges.