Your rights and safeguards

You do. As the account holder, you can cancel any time you want, just as you can set up a Direct Debit Instruction. Outside of that, your bank or building society is responsible for running your account, including all payments, such as Direct Debit.

Organisations who can collect payments by Direct Debit are “sponsored” by their bank or building society. This means that banks could be liable for refunding money, should an organisation make an error in the set up or collection of a Direct Debit. As you’d expect, bank checks on organisations they’re asked to sponsor are stringent, and include a financial assessment to ensure the organisations is of sound financial standing, that they have integrity, and also robust administrative capabilities.

The Direct Debit Guarantee applies to all Direct Debit payments. It protects you in the rare event there’s an error in the set up or collection of your Direct Debit, for instance, if a payment is taken on the incorrect date, or it’s for the wrong amount.

The Guarantee only protects your Direct Debit payments. It doesn’t cover you if you have a dispute with the biller, or the company goes into administration.

If you believe your claim should be covered by the Guarantee, and your bank or building society won’t refund you, you should contact them again in writing, escalating the communication to your branch manager or customer service manager and cite the Direct Debit Guarantee. If they still refuse, you should contact the Financial Ombudsman Service