CHOICE membership

EFTPOS transaction and incorrect vendor trading name

On 16 Dec 2020 I noted a transaction on my debit card which neither I or my wife had any knowledge of transacting. I have copied the relevant parts of emails that have subsequently ensued.

An internal message was sent to bank regarding concerns about this transaction, and, from my recollection somewhere between 2.00 and 4.00 am (?) the following day, an additional paragraph was added to this message. Two phone calls were also had with my bank, resulting in the cancellation of my debit card.

I was concerned about the security of our account and was unable to sleep.

The advertised phone number for <inserted: the apparent vendor> was disconnected and it was only after extensive searching, that an email contact identified.

The reply took more than 24 hours.

It now transpires that and . I confirm that my wife and I had a coffee at . I am advised that as the EFTPOS machine for had broken down, they had substituted this machine for the inserted <other business, completely different name> EFTPOS machine.

As a result of their decision to substitute EFTPOS machines, I have been occasioned considerable anxiety, lost sleep, cancelled my debit card with my bank (with immediate payment issues with Medadvisor and Paypal), and had a third party check their own card transactions in the belief that a “scam” was being undertaken by an organisation of which we are both members.”

The substance of the above was sent by email to the vendor and in particular, the question raised of whether the substitution of EFTPOS machines, with completely different trading names, was OK as far as the Australian Tax Office and the vendor’s supplier of EFTPOS services were concerned.

The response received?

I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.

is a legitimate company registered with the ATO with ABN number

and we operate 3 businesses under the same ABN which is completely legal.

We have EFPOST documantation and video camera record on the date of 13/12/2020 for your purchases at …

You have complete legal rights to dispute this transaction with your bank which you are welcome to do so.

We are very happy to provide our record to the bank regarding this transation.

Please feel free to contact us if you need futher information”

(Spelling is as received)

My response:

The purchase is not in dispute, and in fact my bank was yesterday (Friday) requested to reverse the previous re-credit to my account once the circumstances of why appeared on my bank statement.

You clearly fail to understand what my concerns are. A charge appears in my bank account of which I have no knowledge of incurring and endeavour to phone only to find the phone number disconnected. I find an email contact but do not receive any response with 24 hours.I acted upon my bank’s advice and cancelled my debit card.

I would expect that your clientele has a reasonable expectation that any EFTPOS transactions with the are identified as such in their bank accounts. Anything otherwise immediately causes unnecessary anxiety and, as acknowledged, inconvenience.”

What, and have the legal obligations of this vendor been met?

4 Likes

I understand your concern. I have often looked at credit card receipts to find a different name on the receipt to the name of the business.

It is now my habit to immediately write onto the receipt what it is for, if it has a different name appearing. Occassionally I do forget. and when I am reconciling my statement have to trawl the internet to find where it was we actually spent the money vs the name which appears on the receipt.

As far as I know, the name on the receipt reflects the bank account name which may be completely different from the business’ trading name.

I am sorry it caused you upset, but I do not believe they have done anything wrong.

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I had a similar circumstances, but perhaps 8-10 years ago. When checking the monthly statement sent by post I noted an odd transaction against my partners card. The transaction was a relatively small amount of less than $50. The business details per the internet related to a business operating in Melbourne. 2,400km distant and two states removed. Amex the card provider when contacted said the transaction had been validly transacted, but offered without being asked to reverse the charge until resolved. Fortunately we have seperate card numbers on the same account. My partner had no recollection of the amount.

It took several weeks for American Express to resolve. In this instance the explanation offered, was that a store in our immediate area had received a replacement electronic credit card machine from their banking provider. The machine was not new and had been issued previously to a business in Melbourne. The details attached to the replacement machine had not been updated. Whose fault that was Amex did not detail. It was outside the control of Amex.

Amex did point out that we could have made it easier to resolve if we had a copy of all electronic payment receipts to check the amount. The receipt would have shown the amount in dispute on the statement and the business details recorded, although not the real business.

It turned out to be a local business and my partner was able to verify had been used, about the same time as the record. There was no paper receipt to hand and no clear recollection of whether the transaction was cash or card.

While this did get sorted and Amex were very polite, it demonstrated that all electronic payment systems are open to errors. It also reflected an expectation that as customers the system expects us to verify every time we use a card or contactless payment system all details and amounts are correct at the time. We now always ask for a printed receipt. It is common for many to report a business name and NBN that is very different to the trading name. Some politely have the business name and trading as details on the one record. Others might provide a cash register docket with trading name and credit card payment receipt with the business name and ABN.

In respect of the ATO and correct business details American Express did not see that as an issue. At least in respect of their needs.

It would be useful to have a view from those who use contactless devices EG a Smart Watch or Fitness tracker as to whether the types of errors being discussed should remain a concern, and customers insist on a correct paper receipt at every transaction. I’m sometimes a pest in asking the counter staff why the name on the card machine receipt is not the same. Some know, some do not!

Just one more clerical task the banks have made the customer responsible for. :rage:

2 Likes

I pay using my phone as a contactless method. I too always ask for the cc & cash register receipt and file them to reconcile with the statements.

I have only once had a problem with this, when an over exhuberant staff member at Harris-Scarfe would not provide a refund because the card number didn’t match my cc. She would not believe that the phone has a different card number (which I didn’t know at the time), and would only allow us to do an exchange to the same value. Other than that, no problems at all.

I agree and have similar situations…restaurants and independent retailers/store holders where business name is different to the trading name (sign on the street)…

This is why it is important to keep credit/debit card receipts so that one can reconcile against a statement. These receipts will have the same high level business details as one sees on the statement…rather than one relying on one’s memory and try to recall payments which appear on a statement.

Business names can be very different to trading names and using business names to try to remember if one has a purchase with them is fought with danger, and likely to lead to confusion. Even our own business and trading names are very different and have no obvious connection.

The date and time of transactions appearing on a statement are also unreliable, as often the transaction is shown days after the actual date the transaction. I understand transactions can be held in bulk and processed at one time. Some supermarkets seem to do this. This is another reason why receipts and reconciliation is important action to take every time a statement is issued. It might be a pain to do these, but is good financial practice.

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Thanks all, I have learnt to now request a receipt every time.

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Irrespective it does not excuse a business issuing a receipt that has the details of an unrelated business, and making claim through the credit card payment system with the incorrect attributes.

I suspect that in the banking and CC fine print these other details are redundant, assuming the account number is correct. Similar to an EFT record where the BSB and account number are absolute. The detail of account name, invoice number, payee, purpose etc are not relevant. At least as far as the bank is concerned.

I never worried about the business name since I always keep records of transactions and can thus match them. I long ago realised the company name and business name can vary. A chicken shop we purchase from most every week for more than a decade issues a register receipt as the chicken shop, but the card receipt has always been under the name of a construction company.

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Goes towards explaining some of the outcomes discussed in ‘Building Oversight Failures’.

What came first, the chicken shop or the builders license? :rofl:

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In this case, it doesn’t seem to be but one of the three trading names under the registered business.

Having different details used to be reasonably common for fax machines were businesses hadn’t set up/changed the ID header information. This was particularly the case for second hand fax machines or businesses that operated with multiple trading names/used shared office resources. When fax scams (fake invoices etc) started in the late 1990s, we used to get someone from the office to contact the business sending the fax, where the header information was wrong, to check they had in fact sent the fax in question and politely ask for them to check the fax setup. Technology changed, but the problem stays the same.

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I carefully reconcile all our bank and credit card statements every month. I have noticed over the years that it is common for a business name to not match the vendor name on the statement. I have always understood that the EFTPOS machines get handed around from business to business yet for some reason the banks don’t seem to return each machine to its factory default setting before passing it on to a new store.

It should be a very simple thing for them to do.

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Seems to me that the details on an Eftpos payment as on my bank statement are more often than not different to the name of the place I used my card. So I always get a receipt to help in reconcilliation.

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From memory of a business I had years ago I believe it is often the bank who determines the name on the EFTPOS receipt (and subsequently on the CC statement). This means they might use ABC Pty Ltd rather then Sue’s Coffee Shop. It should be so easy for the banks to change this approach (or at least offer a choice of Company Name or Registered Business Name). Come on, banks, help out poor consumers who are getting confused, resulting sometimes in stress, increased transaction queries and even card cancellation due to suspected fraud. In this (almost) cashless society, you can improve efficiency by one simple change.

In defence of banks (ouch - it even hurt to say that!) I have to thank both Westpac and Suncorp for being so quick to pick up suspected (and actual) fraud on my accounts on more than one occasion. We’ve be notified almost instantly of any dodgy dealings.

But that doesn’t let them off from a simple change needed at point-of-sale! :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Assuming ABC Pty Ltd are correctly associated with Sue’s Coffee Shop.

Printing ‘ABC Pty Ltd t/a Sue’s Coffee Shop’ as I’ve sometimes seen might keep all happy.

Although some who trade through family trusts or complex business arrangements to redistribute risk or funds might prefer to be less transparent to the customer.

The full story may be best for the consumer. A new banking and financial services standard, if only! eierkuchen-clipart-48

1 Like

This is only small proportion of businesses. There are three other business structures which are just as or more common.

Many will have a company (partnership or sole trader) name and a different trading. And example may be a company/partnership/sole trader that trades as Green Lawns mowing service and Healthy hair dog wash.

The bank account will be in the company/partnership/sole trader ABN name, while the trading name is what customers are familiar.

Sole traders and partnerships the name is often in the name of the sole trader/partners (e.g John and Jane Citizen) which is very different and hates no relationship to the trading name.

Likewise company names. It could be any name the owners think is a good name and registered for tax and business purposes. Many companies are conglomerates where there are multiple trading names under the one company name. This links responsibility (both legal, financial, tax, safety, environmental etc) to the one company and its registered directors/owners. Having every trading name attached to a separate company with the same name would cause a significant blowout in number of companies and potentially the ability to separate one trading business from another when someone knocks on the door.

Also if the trading name and company/partnership/sole trader name had to be the same, the name would not have any resemblance of what the business does.

Doesn’t ensuring both are legally required to be provided ensure all customer needs are met?

My original observation has not changed. The banks can and do occasionally issue card machines programmed with incorrect business details. IE Set with details of someone else’s business, and the trader for convenience ignores the error that the business name printed on the card record is not theirs to use. The banks, card providers and businesses have a responsibility to ensure reliable and correct details are provided.

I know how it is now.
I doubt I will ever accept any alternate view on this to leave the system broken as is.
That’s how we encourage change for better outcomes for consumers. Businesses need to ensure what is on the credit card statement as the provider name is the same name as is on the front of the store as you walk in.

Paper receipts and tax invoices are here until the card issuer statements and business service details are assured of being complete and reliable. Which they are not.

P.S.
I do like how Square delivers in respect of emailed or SMS receipts on completion of each payment. Although privacy and data tracking concerns are alike for all electronic payment providers.

No, legally they can be different to that outlined above.

If they had to be the same, there would be significant additional impost and cost to business which would be passed onto the consumer.

An example would be that each and every trading name where the company was the same would have to do separate BAS, Tax/company reporting, insurances, bank accounts etc. This would create a mess to manage especially those small to medium businesses without internal personal to manage.

An entry from my MasterCard for a new tyre I had fitted at Jax Tyres Cairns last Saturday.

19 Dec 2020 [Open transaction detailsCATE NOMINEES PTY LT CAIRNS QLD](javascript:void(0)) - $ 289 .00
Purchased on Saturday 19 December 2020
Time purchased 11.45AM (Sydney/Melbourne time)
Card used MasterCard
(In-store)
Listed as Automotive services
Is this business name confusing?

Some businesses have names which appear on your statement that are different to their trading name.

Search the internet for this business

You can suggest another name for this business so it’s clearer in the future.

Suggested Name

Submit

This form collects business name suggestions only. If you think this is an unauthorised transaction, go to our Dispute a transaction page and follow a few steps to notify us.|

Something’s not right|
|19 Dec 2020||||

I have clicked on a link I had never noticed before “Is this business name confusing?”

In this case I remembered who Cate Nominees would be but often it is not as easy.

The “Search the internet for this business” does actually find them.

Back to my original issue. This business deliberately substituted their EFTPOS machine with the correct business identifier to another machine with an identifier for another business altogether. (though both owned by the same company).
Did the owners give one moment’s consideration to the potential outcomes this may have for customers such as myself.
When I was finally able to speak by phone to the business owners I was quickly asked did I live in Wagga Wagga. The coffee shop is in Wagga Wagga, the Farm stay location is elsewhere. I assumed therefore that I was not the first person to chase up the transaction.
The owners response which I quoted in my original post demonstrates that the owners only concern was that I was trying to dodge payment.

1 Like

The reply from them didn’t indicate that this was the case.

I read the response that it could have been the company with the ABN and not the trading name of the business which was on the Efptos machine. If this was the case, what they have done is correct, legal and also what is required by law. A tax invoice/receipt issued must show the company name and and the ABN, as well as the purchase total and the GST provided. If they use the Eftpos slip as their tax invoice (especially for purchases less than $82.50), then they are required to use the company name and not the trading name.