by Homer Insider*
Check your entire PayPal account history and determine whether you have been charged twice in any year or charged for both the Gold Club and Silver and Insider at the same time.
If so, note the amounts involved and the dates when money was debited. Total the money owed to you. If you have any letters or e-mails from Koptalk or Oldham asking for payment related to any subscription, dig these out.
Ask for a refund.
Past experience shows that Oldham will prefer to settle directly, rather than risk court proceedings. And he knows he is being monitored by a Trading Standards Officer in North Tyneside. So it may save you a lot of hassle if you simply demand your money back from him. You can do this by email to Oldham firstname.lastname@example.org or by opening a support ticket, if you are a current member.
State what he owes you and ask for a full refund to your PayPal account within three days.
The weakness of this approach is that he can string you out to delay you and then fail to pay. And you may have no record of your request.
If you are successful with this approach, please let us know.
If you use the courts it is important that you can demonstrate that you first requested a refund from Oldham and warned him that if he did not pay you will commence legal proceedings. Its normal to give 14 days notice.
So, if you have followed Step 3 and he has not paid you within three days, its best to make a new demand by letter.
I have prepared a model letter for you, below, Template 1. You can modify it to reflect your unique situation.
You should send one copy of your letter to Oldham and keep one for yourself. It is good to be able to prove to the court that the letter was delivered. You can do that by sending it recorded delivery. This should cost under £1 within the UK. It will prevent Oldham from delaying matters by pretending not to have received it. Retain your proof of postage, in case it is needed later
You might also cut and paste your letter into an email format and send that to Oldham. You should guard the “sent” copy and all headings.
Hopefully, he will offer to pay up immediately so that legal proceedings would not be necessary. But he may ask you to correspond by e-mail or MSN Messenger or, if you are a current member, by inviting you to open a support ticket.
This may be a delaying tactic and you do not have to respond to it. However, it is best that you are seen to have given him an opportunity to explain himself and to settle with you.
If you do correspond with him, keep copies of everything you send and receive including transcripts of any online communications.
If he agrees to pay insist that he refunds directly to your PayPal account, in full, and within 3 working days. Reiterate clearly that if he does not do so, you intend to commence legal proceedings immediately after the original period of 14 days notice expires.
Whether you are successful or unsuccessful with this approach, please let us know.
Should Oldham fail to respond, or refuse to pay, or go back on a promise to do so, you should start legal proceedings. To do this you have to obtain the claim form.
By far the simplest way to issue a claim is through the government site: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
Or you can download a form from: http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/claims/howclaim/forms.htm
Alternatively, you can call at your local county court and pick up a form there.
The online method is the quickest and simplest and the one I would recommend.
To access it you need a credit or debit card to pay the court fee. But I assume this isn’t a problem for you, since you probably used one to pay into PayPal for Koptalk in the first place.
Court fees typically vary from £30 to £120, but I expect them to be £30 in your case because the sums at stake are relatively small. (But note that you can claim for sums up to £5,000 in the small claims court).
The court refunds your fees in full when you win your case. The court may also order Oldham to pay certain other expenses you may have.
And don’t worry too much about being forced to pay Oldham’s legal costs if you lose.
First, your claim is about as open-and-shut a claim as you can imagine. You will win.
Second, it is very unusual in the small claims court that losing claimants are ordered to pay the defendant’s costs and then only where the claimant has not acted in good faith such as when he has sued the wrong person or lied about evidence. So going the small claims route is very low risk.
The law permits you to claim Oldham-Koptalk overcharges dating back 6 years in England and Wales and 5 years in Scotland.
So depending in which country you file your claim, your should adjust it to reflect these limits.
In the proceedings you are the “Claimant” and Oldham is the “Defendant”. Your claim should be against “Duncan Oldham” but you may also wish to add “carrying on business as Koptalk.com”
Below, I have prepared a template that you can use to enter the particulars of your claim. Template 2
On the form, it is important to be brief. At this stage you are not in a trial. You are not being asked to present hard evidence.
You can, however, attach to your initial claim printouts of statements from PayPal that show the double-dipping. It would be helpful for the court if you were to highlight the PayPal payments so that they stood out from the other items.
If your claim does eventually go to trial then you will be asked to present your evidence in court. But hopefully Oldham will pay before it ever comes to that.
When you have completed the form follow the instructions on how to submit it.
It takes 5 days for the claim to be ‘serviced’. After this time, Oldham has 14 days to acknowledge it.
If he doesn’t respond within the 14 days you can ask the court to give you judgment by default.
If you submitted the claim online, you can make this request as soon as the 14 days deadline passes. That would automatically be a victory for you.
But Oldham may acknowledge the claim, giving himself another 14 days to enter a defence. But if he fails to enter a defence in that time, you can apply for another judgment by default – that would be 28 days after Oldham was originally served with the claim.
Oldham also has the option of settling your claim in full. If he does you would be notified by the court. This is quicker and easier if you have filed the claim online. You can file your response to the court online.
Oldham also has the right to contest the claim and defend himself. This is very unlikely, as your evidence should be ample proof of his wrongdoing and he would know that he is certain to lose, risking another judgment on his record. But if he insists on a trial, the case would be heard in the small claims section of the country court.
You would need to prepare evidence, which would consist of full PayPal statements proving the double-dipping, including all dates and amounts, and copies of all correspondence between you and him, including any demands for payment you may have.
You can find official guidance on the process here:
Check your PayPal account to see if it has an automated renewal order for Koptalk. Cancel it now.
Even if you intend to renew your membership in Koptalk you do not need the automated renewal mechanism on your account. You can pay when you receive notice from Koptalk or when you discover you membership has expired. If and when you buy another membership make sure that at that time Oldham has not caused yet placed yet another annual renewal notice on your account.
To check for the automated renewal order and cancel it now, use the blog’s step-by-step guide, HERE.
Claimants Not Resident in the UK
Everything said above applies to you.
As a non-resident you can use the UK small claims court but you must inform the court of an address in the UK where it can serve you with papers. This could be the address of a solicitor, a company or friend.
(Those wishing to help overseas claimants can notify the blog – watch the Comments below).
When you send Oldham Letter 1 you will have to use a delivery service in your country which will provide you with proof of delivery. Alternatively, you can get your UK contact to send it for you by UK recorded delivery.
If your claim goes to trial you can bring a solicitor or friend to help you. But it may be that you, yourself will have to attend. I am seeking advice on that point. It may also be that if you win a judgment the court will order Oldham to pay your travel expenses to the court and the cost of your accommodations. This is another point on which I am seeking guidance.
Irish and other European claimants can use their own small claims system. But it may be that Oldham will not respond because he is not a resident of your country, although he is obliged by European law. I suggest that you research that point in your own countries.
If you decide to use the UK courts it may be an idea to select a location which is most convenient for you e.g. Liverpool for Irish residents.
Subject: Formal Demand to Oldham with Notice of Legal Proceedings in 14 days if he does not. To be sent by recorded delivery and email.
[Insert your name and address and date ][State method of delivery such as “By RECORDED DELIVERY and Email”]
5 Swan Avenue,
Off Bede Crescent,
Tyne and Wear,
Dear Mr. Oldham,
Demand for repayment of your overcharges for access to Koptalk.com
I refer you to payments you caused to be debited from my PayPal account when you submitted double invoices for the annual fee for membership or access to your website, Koptalk.com.
My user name on the Koptalk.com website is/was [Insert User Name or Names]
My PayPal account name and number is: [Insert your PayPal account name and number]
As you know, my PayPal account had an automated payment mechanism that was designed to respond to your automated invoice for the annual membership fee when it became due.
But approximately one month before the membership fee was due you sent me an email invoice and a demand for payment. I responded with prompt payment from my PayPal account. I assumed in good faith that you would not submit a duplicate invoice to the automatic payment system one month later. But you did.
Without my being aware, the automated renewal mechanism on my PayPal account responded to your duplicate invoice by making the payment again. You did not inform me that you had demanded and received double payments nor did you repay them, nor did you change your practice of double invoicing after the first instance.
You overcharged on the following occasions: [Insert the dates and individual amounts]
I demand that you refund immediately the total amount [insert the total claimed] to my above-referenced PayPal account.
I hereby give you notice that if I do not receive payment in fourteen calendar days from today’s date, I intend to commence legal proceedings through a country court to seek a judgment against you, personally, for the full amount, together with interest up to the date of judgment, court fees and any other expenses and costs the court will allow.
If you do not repay promptly and in full, I must conclude that your practice of overcharging in this way is systemic to your business and, as such, should be reported to Trading Standards in your region.
Govern yourself accordingly.
I am attaching a schedule of my claims. [Include a list of Paypal overcharges with dates and amounts. Be sure to include any charges made after you had quit Koptalk, or any charges for the Insider and Silver Club after you had transferred to the Gold Club. If you have copies of his email invoices, include them].
[Your printed name]
This is part of the claim form that you will download. It is intended to help you complete it correctly. It refers to the section of the form that asks for “Particulars of the Claim”
Particulars of the Claim
1. Between [insert date of first overcharge] and [insert date of last overcharge] , the Defendant caused double charges to be debited from the Claimant’s PayPal account in relation to the annual membership or access fee to the Koptalk.com website of which the Defendant is the sole owner.
2. The Defendant submitted to the Claimant an email invoice one month before the membership was due which the Claimant paid by PayPal. The Defendant sent a duplicate invoice designed to activate the automatic renewal mechanism on the Claimant’s PayPal account and by that means the Defendant obtained double payment from the Claimant.
3. The Defendant did not inform the Claimant that he had double-billed, or that he received double payment, and did not repay the overcharge but repeated the procedure.
4. Under the County Courts Act, the Claimant is entitled to interest of 8% per annum from the date he was deprived of the money. The interest on each of the overcharges is [insert amount of interest levied at 8% per annum on each overcharge] accruing at the daily rate of 0.21% until judgment or payment.
4. The Claimant asks the court to enter judgment in his favour for [insert total of overcharges] plus interest for a total of [insert total charges plus interest]
For a general overview of the whole process, see http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/legal_system/small_claims.htm
If you have never brought a legal claim before it might be scary for you. But the ‘small claims track’ differs from normal court proceedings. It is designed to be simple, quick and easy.
You can check in on the blog and ask questions in the Comments section. However, this post has already been copied to the stickie on the tool bar KT-PayPal Fraud. So you can continue to use the Comments there after the post is no longer current.
If you are in the UK and want some free independent advice you might want to consult a Citizens’ Advice Bureau representative.
You can get details of your nearest branch, including those with e-mail support from here:
However, I would stress again that you should relax, follow the simple instructions I have given here and don’t get too complicated.
In the last year, Oldham has been investigated for illegal trading activities by a Trading Standard Officer who interviewed him formally. That officer continues to monitor the situation.
The blog will be making a presentation to him to alert him to Oldham’s practice of double-dipping in PayPal accounts. It will help if Oldhams’ victims report to the blog so that we can support the points we make.
The threat of a renewed investigation that might result in criminal charges might motivate Oldham to settle with claimants. Claimants, especially those not resident in the UK , are encouraged to warn Oldham that they will report directly to the appropriate officer if Oldham does not pay promptly. To be effective any such complaints to Trading Standards must provide the claimants proper name and address, wherever it is.
Senior Trading Standards Officer
Environment, Regeneration and Housing
The Killingworth Site
PO Box 113
Tel: 0191 2192634
Fax: 0191 2192642
e-mail : alan at northtyneside (dot) gov (dot) uk
(replace (dot) with periods)
Many contributors to the blog have complained about Koptalk’s custom of ‘double dipping’. Those members who subscribed to Koptalk through PayPal were subject to an automated renewal mechanism on their account that paid their subscription fee annually.
However, in many cases, Koptalk also billed members a month before their next annual fee was due. If you received one of these demands and paid up as a result, it is very likely that you have also paid through the automated renewal order on your account – in effect paying twice for your membership. And this might be the case for however many years you were a member of Koptalk.
Oldham knows this, but has made no attempt to inform customers who were charged twice or to refund the monies he collected.
And others have reported that they were charged for membership in the Insider and Silver Club even after they had upgraded to the Gold Club. They were charged for both simultaneously and charged twice each time.
Other contributors to the blog have reported how they were charged by Koptalk even after they allowed their membership to lapse.
Assuming this has occurred for scores or even hundreds of members every year, then that is a large sum of money that does not belong to Oldham which he has pocketed.
If you are a current or former member of Koptalk we urge you to check your PayPal records as soon as possible to determine whether you have been overcharged.
By joining with others to collect from him you will be helping to hold him to account and weakening his financial ability to continue the practice against other LFC supporters.
Even if you don’t need the money yourself, there are many causes far more worthy than Oldham to whom you could donate it. Might I suggest the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC) or perhaps even the Alder Hey Childrens Hospital? At least by donating directly to the hospital, rather than through Koptalk, you can be sure this time that it has reached them.
* Homer Insider is a new writer on the blog although he has been following it for some time. He has offered to amend, expand and generally refine this guide as information comes in. It will become a stickie in KT-PayPal Fraud which can be accessed from the blog’s tool bar at the top of the page.