Over a year ago, we reported that some Asda customers were effectively being charged twice for their online shopping, with some incurring bank charges as a result. So why hasn’t Asda put this right yet?
Shopping for groceries online is supposed to be a straightforward, painless process. But that hasn’t been the case for many Asda customers, who’ve incurred bank charges as a result of a technical issue with the supermarket’s online shopping system.
The problem – originally uncovered by Watchdog last May – arises when Asda asks your bank to hold the amount for the estimated bill, before charging you for the actual cost when the shopping arrives. If the actual cost differs from the estimate – owing to substitutions – Asda takes the right money, but some banks still keep the estimated amount ring-fenced for up to 10 days.
This means you effectively need to be able to pay twice – even though the money only leaves your account once – which has led to some Asda customers incurring bank charges.
A year’s worth of problems
When the issue was raised last spring Asda said at the time it was ‘working to find ways to minimise this issue for our online customers’. But it clearly wasn’t working hard enough, as comments continued to pour in from those of you who’d been effectively charged twice by Asda. Commenter Nancy was one of those who lost out:
‘I will not shop at Asda any longer after incurring bank charges for going overdrawn. This happened to me just before Xmas and I will never use them again.’
Another commenter, Louise, wrote in April:
‘It’s happening to me right now. Two lots of £265.20 for a single order that had already been cancelled. Direct debits bouncing left right and centre, no money re-released back into my account by Asda, three hours of phone calls to South African call centre, unreturned phone calls, trails of discussion through NatWest, my own bank, to try and sort this out. I’m livid.’
Have you been left out of pocket?
We wanted Asda to tell us why this issue was still causing chaos for customers over a year after it was first highlighted. A spokesperson told us:
‘When a customer makes us aware of this happening, we work with the bank to have the funds released as quickly as possible. If any charges are incurred, we will compensate these.’
It also claimed it had been working hard to minimise the issue and would have a new system in place by autumn.
We want to hold Asda to that – keep leaving comments if you find you’ve been left out of pocket as a result of your Asda shopping. We’ll be checking back later in the year to see if Asda has fixed this problem. If Asda does fix its systems, will you log back on or have you found alternative ways to get your shopping to your door?