Stan James complaint - closed account + voided winning bets because unable to verify identity
Can anyone help me with a problem I am having? I am a new member, this is my first post, but I need assistance.
I opened an account yesterday with Stan James. I made two deposits and placed two large bets on a horse. The horse won. My winnings amounted to over £900.
After my horse won and I tried to log into my Stan James account. I found I could not get in. I went onto livechat who advised that my account had been suspended. Stan James claim that they suspended my account after I placed my bets on the grounds that they could not verify my identity. They claimed they tried to telephone me and also sent me an email. I did not receive either of these communications. The email issue is particularly odd as after making the deposit I received a "welcome to Stan James" email and all subsequent emails have also been received. Stan James said they would send me a copy of the email they sent me advising of the suspension, which I would be very interested to see, but they have not done so.
I do not understand why they would be unable to verify my identity, I have not had a problem with any other bookmaker. I am on the electoral roll and am always willing to provide my documents if they are required. Now that I have been asked to provide them I have forwarded my documents to Stan James.
Stan James have now advised me that while they had suspended my account they decided to void my bets and that their terms and conditions allow them to do this. Thus, they have refunded my stake to my card. They made no mention of this yesterday.
I cannot accept this. As far as I am concerned I placed bets in good faith that won and should be paid out.
I think Stan James are trying to get out of paying me my winnings and have invented this story of not being able to verify my identity in order to do this. I dare say there would have been no issue had my bets lost. It wasn't even a huge price. I backed at the early price of 5/2 and the horse returned at 5/2.
Can someone advise me, please? My understanding is that when a bet is placed and accepted it is a binding contract and must be honoured by both sides. One side simply cannot decide to cancel it. I am sure if I tried to cancel a bet I placed with a bookmaker the answer would be "no you can't". Even if they could cancel it, I would imagine that the bookmaker would have to inform me of this before the event, not say before the event that we tried to contact you when there is no evidence that they did.
If this behaviour is permitted it would mean that a bookmaker could take a bet, see it win, and then invent a story to try and avoid paying up.
Hello and welcome to the board.
You're right no they can't just do that unless they have very good evidence that your account was opened under suspicious circumstances - ie lots of accounts being opened from the same ip address / household / payment method / name / home address / etc. Even then they can't just void the bets before you've even been given a chance to prove your identity - if that's the reason they want to give for closing your account and not allowing you to bet, then they should suspend the account immediately as soon as you register pending ID verification, not allow you to place bets first and then subsequently void them.
It's always been a common complaint with the way bookies allow you to bet / lose your money until the cows come home, but as soon as you want to withdraw anything you have to verify the account. If they were that concerned with money laundering / fraud, they shouldn't allow you to bet until you verified your account. But that means more hassle for users and less chance you'll spend your money with them, so they don't do that - or very rarely do that... I think there's the odd place out there that does do it that way but they're few and far between.
Anyway, I would try and ring them first if you can, sometimes it helps to talk to a real person about it. Try and explain what you want to happen - ID verified, original balance reinstated to your account (less what they refunded to your card) and the account unsuspended, or just have the balance pre suspension refunded in full to your card if you don't want to use them anymore which would be more than understandable under the circumstances.
If you don't want to phone them, you're probably within your rights to just go straight to the regulator about it since they've more or less 'closed the case' and told you as much. Or perhaps email them one more time to ask them if that is their final decision and explain that if that is the case then you will forward the matter to the regulator and request that the original balance prior to suspension is repaid in full to your card less any payments that have already been made back to the card.
Ideally before it gets that far, ring them up though, a lot of time whilst it's just all online with no person to person 'real life' interaction it's easy for them to just push a button and be done with it, but if you talk to them and explain the situation it might just be enough to get it sorted out. But then again maybe not, worth a try though and might save a lot of hassle.
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Thanks for the detailed reply, Munk. I will get on the phone to them.
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thanked for this post
I haven't got anywhere through speaking with them on the telephone. I have spoken with the Duty Manager who says he cannot comment as Security are handling this. Security have emailed me but Stan James refuse to put me through to security to speak with them directly.
Stan James are referring to a term in their contract which says "3.3 All new accounts are subject to verification of the identity of the account holder. In instances where Stan James is unable to verify the identity of an account holder, to Stan James' satisfaction, Stan James reserves the right to suspend the account and cancel all Bets."
Stan James insist they tried to call me and have a copy of the email they sent to me advising of the suspension of the account and voidance of bets which they claim came back as undeliverable. I have asked to see this. The only reason it would be undeliverable is if they sent it to the wrong email address, as their initial "welcome" email was delivered and their subsequent emails were delivered. Even allowing for this, I was not informed of the suspension and voidance of bets.
I still do no believe they are entitled to void bets and am sure they would not have done so had the bets lost and thus they would have won my large stake.
It looks like I am going to have to involve the Regulator in this matter and am unsure of how to go aout this but will see what I can find out.
Edited to add: Stan James have sent me a copy of the email which they say was bounced back as undeliverable. This email, had I received it, would have given me less than an hour to provide the documentation required otherwise the bets would have been voided. Obviously, I cannot reply to any email I have not received but also even if it had been received the timescale given is too short to be practical. I may not have been at my computer in the time they gave me to provide documentation. Of course this all assumes they can void bets once taken and they continue to argue their terms and conditions say they can.
Last edited by Essexlady1; 06/12/2013 at 13:37.
Reason: Edited to add:
Contact the regulator then, see what they say. I'm sure it'll work out if you've done nothing wrong, complain to the regulator and be patient, no idea what Gilbraltar is like for handling complaints.
There's a link at the bottom of SJ's site to their regulator:
search for 'complaints' on that page, there's a link there that takes you to this page:
there's a complaint form on that page you have to fill out apparently and send it to them via email.
When you send the email, CC/copy the email to SJ, that might be enough to prompt them to sort it out before it goes any further.
Thanks for your suggestions, Munk.
I contacted the Regulator who said that I had to exhaust all of Stan James's complaints procedures before they got involved. So, I wrote a formal complaint to Stan James which they investigated. Their conclusion was that the were acting within their terms and conditions.
I will now complain to the Gibraltar Regulator and if that does not generate a satisfactory resolution may take legal action.
I find their behaviour despicable. They still claim they sent me an email before the race giving me 45 minutes to verify my account by giving them my identification or they would void the bets. I never received their email. They said they knew it had come back as undeliverable, something I do not understand as all previous and subsequent emails from them were delivered successfully. They didn't try to resend it. They then voided the bets, 35 minutes before they said they would. Even if I had received their email requesting verification I may not have been at my computer during this 45 minute period and even if I was I may not have been able to prepare what they required in that time. It was unreasonable.
If they are allowed to do this it seems to me like it effectively means they can take a bet, change their minds, and then void it. I cannot believe they can do that.
I will update the thread as things develop and will be grateful for any further assistance or suggestions from forum members. In particular, if anyone can throw any light on why they might be doing this to me I should be very interested to read this, even if it does involve speculation.
That's pure BS about the 45 minutes thing and is a pretty lame excuse for voiding winning bets. In fact even if they thought your account was involved in crime/fraud they still shouldn't have voided the bets - they should have left the account with the original balance + winnings as it was, suspended the account immediately, and then done any investigation into whether the account was legitimate. Once they'd made their conclusions (and I would expect it to take hours/days rather than minutes like they've made out), they could then act on it and either void the bets and return the original funds if it was dodgy or just unlock the account and let the player play on as normal if it wasn't.
Submit the complaint to the regulator now SJ have given you a final answer, make sure you CC the complaint to SJ though in case they have a sudden change of heart.
I can't see how the regulator would find in their favour if there's no other reason than what they've already given you. They would have to have serious suspicions that lots of people had opened accounts from the same name/address/payment method/etc really to have any chance of the regulator finding in their favour and agreeing with them that voiding the bets was the correct thing to do. At the very least you would expect them to get a bollocking for coming out with that drivel about only being allowed 45 minutes to verify the account / voiding winning bets because the account wasn't verified within 45 minutes.
Let us know how you get on then.
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Wow, this could be very rogue on Stan's part. How often have we opened accounts at a book then placed a bet there and then? Munk is absolutely right they have handled this one really badly. Good luck.
Re: Wikileaks- In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble. - Ron Paul
I am pleased to report that Stan James paid up in full. The formal complaint to the Regulator seemed to spur them into action.
Thank you to Munk for his advice and guidance and to those who took time to look at the thread.
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