How do I stop Direct Debits being taken from my account?

A company I once gave my sort and account number to now claims that this entitles them to setting up an annual direct debit - even though I was not aware they would take it EVERY YEAR.

They've recently tried taking money out of my account recently which means they've pushed me into overdraft so I've been charged.

When I phoned them, they reckoned that - despite me not signing a piece of paper - it is the very fact that I phoned them up and gave them my bank account details is enough???

I've looked on MoneySavingExpert and other forums and half the people say not to ever give your details out and the other half say it's perfectly safe because it's no more info than they'd have on your cheque. BUT no one has mentioned it in regard to setting up a direct debit without your permission.

Help please!!
13:08 Wed 26th May 2010
 
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themas
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I think there is confusion here. A direct debit (which the OP said it was) should result in confirmation being sent - including a "Direct Debit guarantee". It can be cancelled at any time by giving an instruction to the bank - whether the firm in whose favour it was given agrees or not (they may not even know it has been cancelled).

A continuous authority is...
09:08 Thu 27th May 2010 Go To Best Answer

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if i need to cancel a d.debit I do it online or just phone my bank and ask them to cancel it.
what did you giove them the details for in the first place?
Question Author
The RAC - I had to give them my bank sort code and account numbers by telephone last year to pay them for a years subscription. I didn't realise that they would use these details to take a direct debit EVERY YEAR until I told them not to!

I gave them my bank details as at the time I didn't want to pay it by credit card and I don't have debit card.
They should not have set up a direct debit without sending you some confirmation that they had done so. Cancel it with your bank & ask for a refund under the direct debit compensation provisions. Your bank should be able to give you details about this.

Also use RAC's complaints procedure to make a formal complaint about what happened & ask for compensation for the overdraft charges.
-- answer removed --
Yes, it's becoming common for insurers and breakdown firms to have automatic renewal unless you cancel it. It would have been in the initial Ts and Cs. They will argue it's for your benefit to stop you forgetting to renew.
Question Author
Thanks to all - guess I will just have to suck up the bank charges!
Cancel the account and open another under a different suffix for your ongoing use.
I think there is confusion here. A direct debit (which the OP said it was) should result in confirmation being sent - including a "Direct Debit guarantee". It can be cancelled at any time by giving an instruction to the bank - whether the firm in whose favour it was given agrees or not (they may not even know it has been cancelled).

A continuous authority is something different. It has to be honoured by the bank (or the credit card company if it is given on a credit card) & can only be cancelled by instructing the firm holding the authority to cancel it.

It seems likely the OP did not set up a direct debit, but had unknowingly given a continuous authority. This should not happen - the firm taking it should make it clear at the time that the details will create a continuous authority. If that was not done, I suggest the OP uses RAC complaints procedure to try & get the bank charges refunded.

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