Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Paddy Power Clients Beware: You could be living in the next "Restricted Territory"

For those of you who have not read Part 1 and Part 2 of my story about Paddy Power, I will give you a summary: Paddy Power gave its Canadian clients the Valentine's Day gift of an abrupt account freezing, citing the vague reason of "Canadian law" despite having served Canadian customers for years, without citing any section of Canadian law that makes serving Canadians unlawful. Paddy Power also happens to use the same gaming platform that at least three Canadian provinces are just starting to use for their own online gaming.

A user had a conversation with Paddy Power's "Live Help" Team, and asked, among other things, whether Paddy Power would cover the charges of any withdrawal since it was through no fault of the client's that Paddy Power was suddenly forcing the withdrawal. Here are some excerpts from the February 15, 2011 transcript between "Mark S" and the Paddy Power user, including any spelling/grammar mistakes:

Paddy Power User: Ok, and will you waive the wire fee since I'm being forced to withdraw the money?

Mark S: Unfortunately we wont be liable for any bank charges. Due to the fact that you signed up to paddypower and used it from a restricted territory as per our terms and conditions,if there are any bank charges you would be liable for them.

Mark S:

Paddy Power User: I just checked it. You only just added "Canada" to the list. I never *opened* an account from a restricted territory.

Mark S: If you then type in terms and conditons.

Paddy Power User: Also, the T&Cs say nothing about "Restricted Territories" at all, but even if they did, I never opened an account from a restricted territory. You were accepting bets from Canadians right up until yesterday morning.

Mark S: For various legal or commercial reasons, we do not permit accounts to be opened by, or used from, customers based in certain jurisdictions, including the United States of America and its territories and the countries listed below. This list of jurisdictions may be changed by us from time to time with or without notice. You agree that you shall not open an account, nor attempt to use your account, if you are based in these jurisdictions

Paddy Power User: Right.

Mark S: The list then includes Canada.

Paddy Power User: Yeah.

Paddy Power User: I opened my account before it was listed there.

Mark S: "you shall not open an account, nor attempt to use your account..."

Mark S: This list of jurisdictions may be changed by us from time to time with or without notice.

Paddy Power User: Yes, it may. And I did not attempt to use it once it was changed.

Paddy Power User: So, where is the contractual obligation for me to pay for Paddy Power's choice to close my account?

Mark S: As per our chat above, we need your details sent to us. We are not liable for any charges if they are incurred. We have to abide by the Canadian laws I'm afraid and it is out of our hands unfortunately.

Paddy Power User: Canadian laws don't tell you to charge me for a bank wire.

And later on in the transcript:

Paddy Power User: When you guys send an e-mail about "Canadian law" and can't even quote the section of the law you claim is violated, nobody is fooled.

Mark S: I cannot comment on that statement I'm afraid. If you send in the details we have requested for you I can organise the bank withdral/transfer for you.

So there you have it. Even if they accept you with open arms when you first open your account, your country could be added to the list of Paddy Power's restricted territories "without notice" and you will be responsible for the bank charges involved in withdrawing your money, despite the fact that Paddy Power is the one making the decision to compel that withdrawal.

And, although Paddy Power repeatedly cites that vague but oh-so-authoritative-sounding "Canadian law" as their reason for closing the accounts, they "cannot comment on that statement" when pressed further about it.

If this can happen to Canadian Paddy Power users, this can happen to any Paddy Power users. Wherever in the world you may be, just remember: Caveat emptor.

Post scriptum: Should any readers from Paddy Power's company come to this blog, I encourage them to explain in the comments section of the blog just what "Canadian law" their account cancellation e-mails were referring to.

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