Customer unknowingly charged £800 in ‘dormancy’ fees by Ladbrokes
A customer of the online gambling operator Ladbrokes has been left furious after finding out the bookmaker has charged him over £800 in so-called monthly dormancy fees.
The customer, who reported his story to the Guardian on the promise of anonymity, had been trying to withdraw a balance of almost £1,300 since 2014, but was repeatedly barred access from his account or his attempts to withdraw the funds were denied. After repeated unsuccessful withdrawal attempts, the customer was told his account would be closed as a result of a ‘business decision’ made by the operator.
The punter had initially funded the account by UKash, a service that enables customers to fund online gambling sites via vouchers bought for cash. The company is now defunct.
Ladbrokes had denied the withdrawal attempts made by the customer due to the deposits being made via UKash. Despite previously recommending UKash as a deposit method, the bookmaker requested receipts from UKash voucher purchases, something which was not mentioned in the operator’s terms and conditions.
The charges began in March 2016 when Ladbrokes introduced a new policy for inactive accounts. The policy stated that inactive accounts would be charged 5% of the total balance each month in dormancy fees. By November 2017, £827.11 had been taken from the customer’s account in these dormancy fees, leaving just £512.12. Since then, the punter has not been able to login to the account and can only assume that these deductions continue to be made.
Speaking about the incident, the customer said:
I think it is incredible that something like this can happen in the UK. I am an ordinary punter, some of my bets were as small as five pounds. It feels like a robbery. It’s like going to a bank and depositing your money and then they say, thank you very much but you can’t have it any more. It doesn’t make sense.– Anonymous, Ladbrokes customer
Ladbrokes reacted to the Guardian’s inquiry into the issue with an initial investigation, after which they refunded the dormancy fees taken from the customer.
However, this is just one of many cases where customers feel operators are setting their own rules free from regulation when it comes to how they are handling the accounts and money of normal customers.
The issue is not a new one though. Back in 2010, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport conducted a review into the use of dormant betting accounts and unclaimed winnings. Ladbroke’s policy on dormant accounts also existed as far back as 2010, with fees being introduced more recently.
In 2018, all major operators have policies towards inactive accounts, with most charging fees on dormant accounts.