Trading account balance eventually paid

Lucas was a client of an online trading platform. He was successful with his trades and wanted to withdraw the funds he had accumulated in his trading account, around USD41,000.

Lucas was unable to get his funds. He thought the company had run out of money. However, the company explained to Lucas there had been a misunderstanding. His trading account was blocked because his trading tactics abused their system.

The company told Lucas they would pay his account balance in four monthly instalments. Lucas did not accept this. He wanted to be paid in one or two payments, preferably one.

The company then offered to pay in two instalments. Lucas was concerned about this. He was worried the company were going to close, and that they would not pay the full amount.

Lucas wanted to be paid in one lump sum. He asked FSCL for help.

Dispute

The parties had not reached an agreement about when Lucas would be paid.

They had also not agreed on the currency for payment. Lucas lived overseas so payment was not a straightforward matter.

Resolution

We negotiated payment terms both parties were prepared to accept. The terms included that Lucas would be paid in one lump sum, on a specified date. We closed our case file when the parties signed a settlement agreement.

However, Lucas later complained to us that he had not been paid so we reopened our case file. Despite our efforts to encourage the company to pay Lucas, they did not.

We eventually issued a recommendation on the case. We recommended that the company pay Lucas the amount they were supposed to pay him under the settlement agreement, which was around USD41,000.

We also recommended that the company should pay Lucas an additional USD500 to recognise his inconvenience. Lucas had experienced ongoing stress and worry about whether he would be paid. This was exacerbated by poor communications from the company about payment.

Lucas accepted our recommendation, and the company paid him the recommended compensation on the deadline we had given them to pay him.

Insights for participants

Under our rules, the consumer has one month to tell us whether they accept our recommendation (which is now called a final decision). The recommendation is binding on the scheme member if the consumer accepts it in full and final settlement of their complaint.

If a scheme member does not comply with a recommendation (which has been accepted by the complainant), FSCL may terminate their membership. The scheme member cannot apply to join another approved dispute resolution scheme if they have not complied with a recommendation.