Fraud rules halt troops family gifts

#1
Another debacle that lowers morale :roll:

British soldiers serving abroad are being prevented by anti-fraud rules from sending Christmas presents home to their families.

Thousands of soldiers posted to Iraq and Afghanistan had hoped to use the internet to order gifts and to arrange their delivery. But credit card payments have been rejected because sites do not recognise the billing details.


The British Forces Post Office (BFPO), which is used as an address for troops, is not recognised as legitimate under anti-fraud rules introduced earlier this year.

Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green, has asked John Reid, the Defence Secretary, to ensure that credit card companies recognise the BFPO address for transactions.

"I just cannot understand how this has been allowed to happen," he said. "It's cruel and heartless."

A spokesman for Apacs, the UK banking association, said: "We can correct it but unfortunately we don't think that will be possible before Christmas."
[c]Telegraph
 
#2
Quote: "Thousands of soldiers posted to Iraq and Afghanistan had hoped to use the internet to order gifts and to arrange their deliver..."

cnuts

.........just think how many families are going to miss out on their 100,000 Malbro Lights this year? ;-)
 
#3
This is crap. I've ordered internet stuff while in theatre.

The required address is the billing address. ie the HOME address. Unless you register for a credit card while in theatre (which is just stuuuuuuupid).

Yet more Govt bashing, for no reason.
 
#4
Yet again, a longstanding problem seems to have taken the government by surprise.

StabTiffy - what of those of us who are in, for example, NI? We can use security spoof addresses, but I've found that they get rejected by the software too, because so many people are using the same address. Parcels also take much longer to get here with the spoof addresses. If you are in Germany (or other overseas posts), your home address is the BFPO address. Get some in, then you can tell us about it.
 
#5
StabTiffy2B said:
This is crap. I've ordered internet stuff while in theatre.

The required address is the billing address. ie the HOME address. Unless you register for a credit card while in theatre (which is just stuuuuuuupid).

Yet more Govt bashing, for no reason.
This is quite correct, however for those in static BFPO locations e.g. this may be a problem, but again only if the billing address for the card is the BFPO address.

Anyone in the military should always keep billing addresses in UK...this way they build a credit rating and do not suffer at a later date.
 
#6
ViroBono said:
Yet again, a longstanding problem seems to have taken the government by surprise.

StabTiffy - what of those of us who are in, for example, NI? We can use security spoof addresses, but I've found that they get rejected by the software too, because so many people are using the same address. Parcels also take much longer to get here with the spoof addresses. If you are in Germany (or other overseas posts), your home address is the BFPO address. Get some in, then you can tell us about it.
Read Postie's comment. If you don't have the common sense to get around these problems, the you shouldn't have the cheek to lecture me.
 
#7
Postie said:
Anyone in the military should always keep billing addresses in UK...this way they build a credit rating and do not suffer at a later date.
That's all very well - provided you have somewhere. I have, but find that Royal Mail's forwarding service (which I have to pay for) is hopelessly unreliable (30+ pieces of mail not forwarded in a 2 month period, on average), so I don't use it for anything financial. Some companies will only send to the billing address - if it needs to be signed for, a UK billing address isn't much use if no-one's at home. You can still maintain a credit record with a BFPO address.

In any case, why shouldn't the system be able to accommodate service personnel with BFPO addresses?
 
#9
StabTiffy2B said:
I've ordered internet stuff while in theatre.
That'd be my experiance. Like I said, this is based on idiots, who can't think for themselves. The rest of us would find a solution instead of blaming the Govt for everything.
 
#10
Stabtiffy and Postie have got it about right.

I took a walk down the corridor to discuss this. As ever with press reporting there is an element of truth but not the whole truth.

The vast majority will not have a problem. If however, you have no UK bank account, no credit history and try to use an op BFPO number for credit then you'll have problems.

I would contenence against using the spoof address in NI (I did it once for a driving licence and it caused me all sorts of problems). I have used BFPO numbers for credit card addresses and other uses. There are some firms who do not understand what BFPO is all about (they are reasonably rare); more irritating is when you get a telephone operator who does not understand the issues (or does not want to) and doesn't know how to do manual inputs instead of UK postcodes.
 
#11
You can't even spell experience. If you read the OP you will see that the current difficulty is due to newly-introduced anti-fraud measures, so I'm still not clear why you think that the fact that you were able to successfully order things in theatre means that nothing has changed. Unless, of course, you are just being deliberately ill-mannered and vexatious. In any case, it seems that the banks agree that the situation needs to be changed, so the sooner they do it the better.
 
#12
I think there is probably a difference between being a sprog and still having your home and billing address for your "abbey national young starters credit card" address as "Mum and dads"
and being an old sweat with family moving from pillar to post every X number of years.

On a similer note, I couldn't get interest free credit on a sofa this year because my CC wasn't registered to the delivery address (I hadn't moved in yet)

I've never experienced delivery issues to a BFPO address, but have always had a UK registered address, never experienced BFG and its admin complexities

theGimp
 
#13
MODBloke - I have a UK bank account, a credit history and tried unsuccessfully to use an op BFPO number only last week. The company (Hawkshead) told me that my order was rejected because the postcode automatically triggered a fraud warning - they were aware that this was not a fraud attempt, and took the order manually. There is a wider problem here, which is the incompatibility of the BFPO postcode format with the software used by many internet suppliers. PayPal, for example, won't allow BFPO addresses.
 
#14
ViroBono said:
You can't even spell experience.
Good spot :wink:

ViroBono said:
If you read the OP you will see that the current difficulty is due to newly-introduced anti-fraud measures, so I'm still not clear why you think that the fact that you were able to successfully order things in theatre means that nothing has changed. Unless, of course, you are just being deliberately ill-mannered and vexatious. In any case, it seems that the banks agree that the situation needs to be changed, so the sooner they do it the better.
MoD bloke implies that he is in an area which has more information available, Postie's name implies knowledge and I have access to additional information on the subject.

This, combined knowledge, is better than a bloke who "once ordered a kettle while in Germany".

I admit that there are areas where the Govt needs to improve with regards to the forces. However, people need to learn to wipe their own arrses. Can't get credit? Tough t1tty.

It's called planning ahead.
 
#15
StabTiffy2B said:
MoD bloke implies that he is in an area which has more information available, Postie's name implies knowledge and I have access to additional information on the subject.

This, combined knowledge, is better than a bloke who "once ordered a kettle while in Germany".
The 'combined knowledge' is meaningless unless the information is qualified.


However, people need to learn to wipe their own arrses. Can't get credit? Tough t1tty.

It's called planning ahead.
I was right. You are ill-mannered and vexatious.
 
#16
ViroBono said:
MODBloke - The company (Hawkshead) told me that my order was rejected because the postcode automatically triggered a fraud warning - they were aware that this was not a fraud attempt, and took the order manually. There is a wider problem here, which is the incompatibility of the BFPO postcode format with the software used by many internet suppliers. PayPal, for example, won't allow BFPO addresses.
The anti fraud legislation is not that new, it has been around for a while. I don't deny that there is an issue with BFPO numbers but you agree that you managed a manual workaround with the company (which is what most good firms do). I have had similar problems but oddly the biggest problem I ever had was trying to get a mobile phone contract when I was living in a mess in the UK - and this was entirely down to lack of credit history at that address. Because I had kept up postal registration for voting at an alternative UK address the problem was solved. I suspect that the originator the letter to the MP was one of those people who had closed his UK Bank Acc (even though you are advised not to) and tried to register an op BFPO address for his credit card billing address (though you can probably do this if you are not opening an account from scratch).

The underlying problem is that UK Postcodes have now become integral to so many different areas for instance ordnance survey use them as well as credit companies.

This is a private view and not the party line but it strikes me that instead of bringing the mountain to Mohammed we ought to look at changing the BFPO system so that BFPO numbers are allocated a UK postcode (I am probably being simplistic because experience tells me that nothing can be that simple - but it's worth thinking about).

Back to the original point. The newspaper article is flawed; there are many issues with BFPO (delivery of large parcels from commercial firms is another issue) but there is a workaround for most of them.
 
#17
You can be declared a vexatious ligtant (If I've spelt that right!) by the Courts.

The small point burried under the mountain of comments is that NOBODY noticed that a good number of chaps have BFPO address as their permanent address and that current Postal code software does not understand BFPO codes. Someone failed to remember the Seven P's of planning.

And this does link in with the continuing problem with overseas postings f**king up credit ratings. This problem has got worse over the last 10 years with Banks moving from using a brain cell to using a chip. NOBODY in MOD has had the brain cells to tell the banks to wise up and adjust their collections of programming code writen by fools and used by morons to accept Soldiers confused credit History. Soldiers with overseas bank accounts (Germany, BATUS) should also be given a bit more advice than the deafening silence that seems to exist at the moment.

And, If I've left home, joined the army, remained single and done 10 years service, why the hell should I still ahve to put My parents address as a home address? What am I? A Boarding School brat?
 
#18
Kitmarlowe said:
You can be declared a vexatious ligtant (If I've spelt that right!) by the Courts.

NOBODY in MOD has had the brain cells to tell the banks to wise up and adjust their collections of programming code writen by fools and used by morons to accept Soldiers confused credit History. Soldiers with overseas bank accounts (Germany, BATUS) should also be given a bit more advice than the deafening silence that seems to exist at the moment.
The MOD can't tell any commercial organisation what to do (unless there is a contract involved). From a commercial viewpoint we represent a couple of hundred thousand (+wives/husbands) individuals in a massive pool of millions - any change to commercial procedures has got to be financially worthwhile from the firm's point of view. What the MOD does do is liaise with other Government Depts to try and put pressure on; but ultimately, if it is a commercial decision that doesn't break the law then credit companies are going to do what they want.

The MOD advice regarding bank accounts has always been that you should not close your UK account when posted abroad. In my (German) experience; the units have a joined up system that allows you to open up an account at the local Sparkasse without too much of a problem and they always advise going down the allotment route rather than having all your cash paid into the German account.
 
#19
Just heard on the J Vine show in good'ol Radio 2, that soldiers operating abroad are unable to shop on t'internet at Xmas due to most internet companies not recognising BFPO addresses.
The US forces have special rates for soldiers abroad, nearly every US company will ship to US forces all over the world at a discount rate.
Surely not too much to ask for the Brits/BFPO? :?
 
#20

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