Talk of the devil, the day my Blog appeared a week back denouncing online scam victims for blaming their banks for making payments they’d authorised them to do, a British Supreme Court verdict was announced on this very issue.
A British woman lost NZ$1.4m to scammers after she instructed her bank to transfer the money to an account in the United Arab Emirates. She alleged the bank had a duty of care to (my words) nurse-maid her.
The five Supreme Court judges unanimously overthrew an earlier Court of Appeal verdict in her favour which was being challenged by the bank, the previous High Court original case having been decided in the bank’s favour.
Let’s get into the guts of the issue. A bank’s primary function is as an on-call depository for people’s money. It provides other ancillary services such as money-lending and making payments instructed by its clients. Nothing more.
No-one is forced to use banks, but if one does so, then don’t blame them for following the account-holder’s instructions.
I deplore the very New Zealand practise of slamming them and their alleged excessive profits but most of all I find appalling the blaming of them for one’s own self-inflicted misjudgements. As said, it’s so very contemporary New Zealand in too many ways, whether the 300lb solo mom of six children claiming working New Zealanders aren’t giving her enough money to survive, and without irony and contrary to the photographic evidence, how she is going without food so her children can eat. Or on the other side of the ledger, the privately-owned businesses with their hands in the public pocket in a rich diversity of ways.
One interesting revelation from this Supreme Court verdict was the report that authorised bank payment scams cost Brits NZ1.2 billion dollars annually. Compare that to New Zealand’s current bank scam losses of circa $200 million.
In other words Kiwis statistically are twice as gullible as Brits on a population basis. A nicer interpretation is they’re more trusting. Take your pick.