Letter before Action (Service Provider or Level 1 provider)

Here is a template for a letter before action. This letter assumes that you are seeking a refund either from the Service provider (for example SB7 Mobile Ltd or Bodyin8 Ltd) or from the Level 1 provider which handled the payment (Tap2Bill, mGage or similar). It should not be used if you are pursuing your network for your losses.

Dear Sir or Madam

Letter Before Action

You took £xx.xx from my phone account 07nnn nnnnnn on various dates between [date] and [date] without my permission. I enclose evidence of these deductions.

I repudiate any suggestion that I ever entered into a lawful contract with you. I insist on the return of the £xx.xx taken from my account and that you explain how you came to have my phone number in order to claim such a payment.

I also enclose copies of reports on internet forums, between the dates of [date] and [date], showing that large numbers of consumers experienced the same unauthorised deductions as me. These will be presented to the court to establish that it is highly improbable that I entered into a contract with you other than as a result of a fraudulent website or a fraudulent App.

Should the matter go to court, I will introduce evidence to refute any suggestion that I consented to these charges, regardless of any ‘evidence’ you may have.

Para 6.78 of the Ofcom 2012 review of PRS services states:

6.78 This scam demonstrates how a fragmented supply chain, with separation between the service provider and the billing party, can be exploited in an (unlawfully) opportunistic way. The greater transparency of PFI services would not prevent this harm. Rogue software can be embedded in such a way as to circumvent any verifiable method of consumer consent to charges (like a PFI checkout).

Furthermore, I will introduce as evidence reports from reputable antivirus companies, highlighting the fact that these subscriptions can be started by Android malware without any awareness of the user.

I note that your service fails to use the two step authorisation with PIN which is required by the Phone-paid Services Authority for all services costing more than £4.50 per week, and recommended for all subscription services. As your service costs less than £4.50 per week, you are not in breach of the regulations, but you are not following the PSA recommendation which is designed to prevent fraudulent subscriptions.

I maintain that I never used the service you have charged me for and would like to see any evidence you can provide that I did.

I would like a reply as soon as possible so that I know you have received this letter. A simple acknowledgement will suffice, if you wish to take  few days to consider your position. If you don’t agree to the refund, could you please then send me a detailed response, saying why you don’t agree, and provide evidence of the contract which you claim existed between us and evidence of my usage of your service. Failure to provide this evidence at this stage will be brought to the attention of the court should I decide to proceed with this action.

To avoid taking court action, I am willing to use Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve this matter.

If I do not receive a satisfactory response from you by  [date], I intend to issue proceedings against you in the county court without further notice. This may increase your liability for costs.

I refer you to the Practice Direction on pre-action conduct under the Civil Procedure Rules, and in particular to paragraph 4 which sets out the sanctions the court may impose if you fail to comply with the Practice Direction.

I look forward to your acknowledgement.

Yours faithfully