Lim owned a shop selling baby related products. In 2015 Lim opened an account with a payment provider. By 2017 Lim was not satisfied with the service he received and decided to close his account. When Lim had difficulty closing the account, he complained to the payment provider.
Lim complained that Jian, his account manager:
- had told him when he opened the account he would be able to trade credit in his account for New Zealand dollars
- arranged a trade in late 2015, but Lim only received half the value he expected
- stole a cot from his shop in 2015
- stole a baby stroller in late 2016, although paid for it later
- was unhelpful when Lim wanted to close the account in early 2017.
The payment provider investigated Lim’s complaint and was satisfied that there was no substance to Lim’s complaints.
Lim did not accept the response and referred the complaint to FSCL, claiming:
- $1,100 for the trade
- $699 for the stolen cot
- an amount for inconvenience and embarrassment caused when the account was closed. Although Lim had asked for the account to be closed, he thought he would be able to continue spending the balance in the account and was embarrassed when a transaction was declined.
In reviewing this complaint, we had a sense that there had been a relationship between Lim and Jian that had soured, and that neither party was giving us all the relevant information.
Trading account balance for cash
The contract between Lim and the payment provider prohibited trading an account balance for cash, but there was insufficient evidence to decide what Jian told Lim when Lim opened the account.
We were also unable to establish whether or not Jian was involved in the trade from Lim’s account. However, the trade occurred about 18 months before Lim made his complaint. If Lim was dissatisfied with the terms of the trade, we would have expected him to complain to the payment provider at the time.
Cot a gift
Instead, within days of the trade Jian collected a cot from Lim, believing it to be a gift. Although Lim now claimed Jian had stolen the cot, the text messages between Lim and Jian at the time indicated the cot was a gift, and Lim expected Jian’s wife to advertise his shop to her coffee group friends.
Stroller paid for
While there might have been some confusion about payment for the stroller the matter was resolved within a couple of days.
We then turned our attention to the closure of the account. We were satisfied from the payment provider’s diary notes and text messages, between Lim and the payment provider’s staff, that he knew his account was about to be closed. While there was a short delay in closing the account, staff had explained that, in accordance with the contract between Lim and the payment provider, he would need to pay fees in cash before being able to use the balance of his account. We found that the payment provider was not responsible for the embarrassment Lim experienced when trying to use the account to pay for a service.
We suggested to Lim that he discontinue his complaint and Lim advised that he did not wish to take the complaint any further.
The embarrassment of a declined transaction appeared to have reignited Lim’s dissatisfaction about events that had occurred 18 months earlier. We encourage people to deal with dissatisfaction at the time it arises. By waiting for so long to complain about the short-changed trade we were unable to get to the bottom of Lim’s complaint.