I live in Canada. I took an IELTS test (english test) last month and they wanted me to pay the courier charge by filling a credit card authorization. (because I missed the free delivery) They sent me a pdf file and wanted me to fill, sign and scan the form back to them. My concern is that are they able to charge me multiple times using this form? What if they print multiple copies of the same filled form and ask the credit card company to pay it? I trust IELTS as a large global organization, which will hardly do it. But I still think it is sketchy to send an electronic version.(this is the only option they gave me) What are the laws or policies that restrict them to do malicious things?

  • Typically multiple transactions in a brief period from the same merchant for the same amount will raise flag anyway - most likely they're an error. The 2nd charge may be rejected or you may find your card company contacts you rather than needing to check your statement. UK rather than Canada hence not an answer, also process is highly variable
    – Chris H
    Feb 9 '15 at 12:07
  • I had the similar case where travel agency was asking me to fill the card authorisation form to charge my flight ticket fare. My concern is as I give all details (card number, expiry date, csv etc), any employee who receives this form can use the detail to purchase anything from the website. Isn't it so?
    – user34257
    Oct 21 '15 at 2:31

What if they print multiple copies of the same filled form and ask the credit card company to pay it?

Let's say they do that. Note that they will effectively just be asking the credit card company "please give us this much money from this person, we have authorization from them", multiple times - the form is irrelevant at that point, they just need to be able to produce it as proof in the following process (a bit simplified):

  1. You notice the multiple charges (you have to do so within a certain time frame, typically at least 60 days).
  2. You dispute the charges with the credit card company via your bank.
  3. The credit card company performs a "chargeback" (you get your money back!) and contacts IELTS via their bank to notify them of this.
  4. If they accept this, the process finishes here. You keep your money.
  5. If they insist that the charges were legitimate, the credit card company will start their arbitration process and ask you and IELTS for a written statement and any proof you each have for your version of events. Here's where the forms come into play.
  6. Visa notices that a customer is being charged multiple times for the same test, performed on the same day (which already makes no sense), and that the forms have exactly the same signature, showing that they are copies and the charges are fraudulent.
  7. The case is decided in your favor, you keep your money, and unless they can give a really good reason why this happened, IELTS loses their merchant account and may even face criminal charges.

You generally have a very good protection against unauthorized charges. For charges where the card is not present, it is up to the merchant to prove that the charge was indeed authorized. Obviously, if you only submitted one form - you authorized a single charge, and any other charge can be disputed and charged back to the vendor.

In addition you can also press criminal charges against IELTS if something happens.

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