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Non-Bonus Complaint Betfair took 60k EUR from my account

Discussion in 'Sportsbook Complaints' started by therock, Mar 13, 2012.

    Mar 13, 2012
  1. therock

    therock Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Sales Consultant
    Location:
    Asia
    Hi all,

    I know that this is not the most appropriate forum but I'm hoping that I can get some insights from highly knowledgeable forum members here.

    So here is the story:
    I've been betting for more than 5 years, mostly with Pinnacle and very rarely with Bet365/WH. I prefer very few bets with high stakes and with its high limits, Pinnacle actually suits my needs very well. Around July 2011, I started trying Betfair and it gave me another alternative to Pinnacle. At the end of 2011, I bet in 28 markets (only) raking in 105k GBP in winning, I know the figure seems big but it's mostly because of two big wins and some of the bets are actually hedges for my Pinnacle bets (full betting history available below).

    Then in Jan 2012, Betfair suspended my account out of the blue for "premium charge avoidance" and then 2 weeks later they linked my accounts with a some other accounts and charged me almost 50k GBP because, allegedly, "the accounts is the distribution of a single betting strategy". They also mentioned their T&C (You must register/login in order to see the link.
    "Accounts that relate to one person, entity, API subscription or a Master account (Trading version only) with related Sub accounts are treated as one customer for the purposes of transaction charging."
    This surprised me because basically Betfair used a single clause that seems to be constructed vaguely and ambiguously enough to give an all-purpose magical weapon for them to link accounts for the purpose of PC calculation. It's not obvious to me how they are supposed to relate multiple accounts to one person, how does it work? If there is any relationship between two accounts, Betfair can link them together?

    I know some cynics will just reply:
    "Rubbish.........if Betfair suspended, linked your account, and took the money, they must have a very good reason."
    Yeah, yeah, I'm pretty sure the police must have good reasons when arresting someone and the court must have good reasons when they sent someone to prison. Ever heard of a false arrest and wrong verdict?
    Now suppose that Betfair is actually very good and gets 90-95% correct all the time, so how about the 1 out of 10 or 20? What would you say to them? "Whooppps.... sorry, you must be unlucky that you belong to the 5-10%, I suggest you just accept your fate then."
    So even though you may not believe that I'm in the 5-10%, I hope that you can provide some suggestions about what I can and should do if I'm in the 5-10%.

    So here's what I have done after that:
    - Asked an independent third-party reputable website that is highly experienced in handling sportsbook dispute. I am extremely grateful that he has been very helpful, believes and stands by me since the beginning of the case. However, we are currently stuck waiting at the gambling commission's decision since Betfair refused any attempt for mediation and did not wish to disclose any information whatsoever regarding this case to us even when I specifically waive my right with regard to the Data Protections Act.
    - Filed a complaint to LGA Malta, however after their initial standard reply acknowledging the receipt of my complaint, their silence has been total despite weekly attempt to email them asking about the progress update of my case. This is not surprising since it's actually already published in this website and several others as well:
    http://www.casinomeister.com/bestworst2008.php#disappoint
    You must register/login in order to see the link.
    You must register/login in order to see the link.
    - Contacted a law firm in UK for a lawsuit. For me, UK is an obvious choice because it has arguably the most complete betting regulations thanks to its long history with traditional bookmakers such as WH, Ladbrokes, Bet365, etc. It also has good legal system with lawyers/solicitors specializing and experienced in sportsbook dispute. However, jurisdiction is an issue since as an international customer, my account is with Betfair International Plc, which do not reside, do business, nor have assets in the UK. Betfair does their business in UK via another company, TSE LP. Both these companies are subsidiaries of Betfair Group Plc, however parent group and all their subsidiaries are all separate entities. So, the only way I can sue in UK is if I include the parent company, Betfair Group Plc, which means that I need to have a case against Betfair Group Plc, which probably means that I need a lawsuit on the legality of the premium charge itself, a substantially much bigger case than mine right now.
    - Tried to find a law firm in Malta, however most actually specialize in helping sportsbook move their gambling license to Malta so I have my doubt about their integrity since there may be a conflict of interest for them.

    With regard to this case, I am willing to share:
    * My full complaint to the gambling authority, provided that you agree not to disclose it (since I'm not sure about the sensitivity of this, I'll choose only a select few with whom I can share this). This includes full correspondence with Betfair since the beginning of the case.
    * My betting history since the opening of my account and premium charge statement (I don't think this is sensitive, so I can share it with almost whoever that asks).

    Those are all the available information that I have since in my case Betfair basically investigated, judged the case, then simply confiscated the money without disclosing ANY evidence whatsoever.

    So I'm stuck and feel really powerless now because there doesn't seem to be anything else that I can do besides waiting a year for LGA to suddenly wake up and make its decision.

    All opinions, suggestions, and feedbacks are welcome and highly appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Mar 13, 2012
  3. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    The nasty premium charge is in their terms, so it would probably be valid as part of the contract. Rather than contesting the legality of the charge, contest the accuracy of the account linkage. What they have done is to confiscate from one account based on the activities of others. If these other accounts belong to different people, and have absolutely nothing to do with you, they have effectively charged you for someone else's debt, a violation of the law irrespective of the terms and conditions.

    Betfair have fallen from grace in a big way, and have endured two scandals in the last year that got considerable media coverage here in the UK sporting press, and even the financial press. They partially backed down after the media coverage of their voiding of all bets in a horse race after claiming "technical issues" caused massively inflated odds to be available.

    The premium charge itself has created the problem, as big punters DO take avoidance action. Betfair always risk going too far when they arbitrarily claim accounts are linked, and treated as one. If challenged in court, they would have to prove it, or suffer a humiliating defeat that could open the floodgates to further claims from big punters.

    They have been very clever in structuring their business so as to avoid the UK courts having jurisdiction in all but UK cases. You would have to take them to court in Malta, unless you can show evidence that the parent company is jointly responsible, and thus include them in a UK suit.

    There is rumour that some players HAVE taken the legal route over some issues, but as yet no substantive information as to progress has appeared, and probably won't for some while, as legal proceedings can drag on.
     
  4. Mar 13, 2012
  5. threescatters

    threescatters Dormant account PABnonaccred

    Occupation:
    .
    Location:
    UK
    I wish you good luck in your quest therock. I have no doubt betfair are an extremely poor company these days.
     
  6. Mar 23, 2012
  7. Przecinek

    Przecinek Dormant account

    Occupation:
    CSA
    Location:
    Respect-land
    Not so long time ago I would be in total shock.

    After happy hours fiasco and slow payment of 3 mil. $ to some poor guy I'm just sad... (these guys are literally having cashflow problems !)

    Betfair turned out to be one of the biggest hypocrites in the market. I remember few years back when they've started their buisness and literally overtook sportsbook industry. All the billboards on the strees of UK etc.

    One of the things that they were quite proud of, was that there's no need for any dogdy or predatory T&C. After all...it's just a "player 2 player" platform where punters make bets against each other. We can now see how it all developed... Betfair isn't any better that any other outfit ...quite often it's actually way worse.

    I can just use common sense here (I'm not a sportsbook expert) ... but if you had two BIG wins that made a significant portion of your winnings then how the hell did they come up with "distribution of a single betting strategy" ?
    Take them to court if you feel your case is strong.
     
  8. Mar 27, 2012
  9. therock

    therock Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Sales Consultant
    Location:
    Asia
    Yeah, it seems that legal process is my only remaining viable option. The questions are:

    1. Do I need to wait for LGA Malta to make its decision first (which can take a year based on the links I posted above)?
    2. Considering that Betfair International Plc is regulated by LGA and is under the jurisdiction of Maltese law, should I file it in:
    a. Malta: How is this country's legal system? Is it clean and fair enough to make a just decision considering that:
    * The country thrives on remote gaming industry which is dedicated to attract offshore gaming body there.
    * Its gaming regulatory body (LGA) is practically defunct and non-existent.
    b. Another country. Since Malta is a member of EU, can I file it somewhere else? Which country SHOULD be my best option?
     
  10. Mar 27, 2012
  11. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I think this only extends to customers in other EU countries, and is designed as a consumer protection measure to stop businesses manipulating the legal system in order to make court action effectively out of reach of regular consumers. As you are in Asia, you will probably find you have to take action in Malta, and rely on the laws in Malta with regard to consumer protection. It will be the Maltese courts, not the LGA, that decide such a case. The courts have to be independent of the government, and fairly enforce laws made by the government, rather than enforce policy intended by the government. The UK government, for example, has had a number of defeats in the UK courts for trying to apply laws unfairly through the bureaucratic systems, proof that the UK courts look at the laws themselves, not the intent behind them. There have even been some laws made by the government ruled to be illegal in themselves because they fail to meet consititutional or EU treaty agreements. Notable government defeats have arisen as a result of the EU wide "human rights act".

    You will need a lawyer familiar with Maltese law, and these are best found in Malta itself. Legal action is only worthwhile over a substantial amount, and 60K probably meets this requirement. The real problem is finding the best lawyer, and consulting with them over the case. Being physically present yourself in Malta would be a significant, but potentially expensive, advantage.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. Sep 18, 2012
  13. jackpotchecker

    jackpotchecker Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Painter
    Location:
    London
    Hi therock,

    Have you tried contacting You must register/login in order to see the link.? They are a registered operator with them: You must register/login in order to see the link. but strangely do not advertise this fact on their website any more.

    Jack
     

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