Paying fees for no service

Bradley and Susie decided to load their prepaid travel card with $2000 before their trip to Europe. Bradley tried to load some more money on their travel card a few days later, but the money was refunded to their bank account.

When Bradley and Susie went to Europe, they tried to access the $2000 they had loaded on the travel card from an ATM. Despite trying numerous times, the card didn’t work. Bradley then had to withdraw money from his own bank account

When Bradley and Susie returned to New Zealand, they were exasperated to discover that not only had the travel card company applied various currency conversation fees to their account, it has also charged them with inactivity fees.

Bradley thought the fees charged were unfair as the travel company had failed to provide any service. Bradley wanted the travel card company to refund the $2000 he had loaded on to the travel card but could not use.

The travel card company explained that Bradley had entered the incorrect PIN at the ATM, and supplied an incorrect bank account number for the second load, which is why he could not access his funds in Europe. Bradley had not used his card in four years, and the travel card company was entitled to apply the inactivity fees.

Bradley did not agree and complained to FSCL.



We discussed this case with travel card company who felt satisfied that it had applied the default fees correctly in accordance with the card’s terms and conditions.

However, as Bradley and Susie were simply seeking a reversal of the $2000 load, and had not been able to use the travel card, the travel card company agreed to refund $2000 in the interests of resolving Bradley and Susie’s complaint. As a sign of goodwill, the travel card company also agreed to reverse the inactivity fees of $25.



Bradley and Susie accepted the offer and their complaint was settled.


Insights for the consumer

In this instance, while the travel card company took a pragmatic approach, it would have been entitled to charge the fees according to its terms and conditions. It is important for a consumer to read the terms and conditions of their travel card and familiarise themselves with the fees that may be charged.