/ Shopping

The crazy case of Asda charging twice for one online order

Hand holding an Asda receipt

Yes, you heard that right. As Watchdog uncovered, some online shoppers are getting a nasty shock after their Asda order arrives and funds in their account mysteriously plummet. Will it stop you shopping online?

I thought I’d heard about every problem you can encounter with online shopping. You’ve told us about crazy substitutions, deliveries thrown over hedges and special offers that turn up at full price.

However, it turns out there are still some problems that are news to me.

How would you feel if you had to have double the amount of money of your online shopping order in your bank account, for example? Believe it or not, this peculiar shopping quirk is something you may uncover if you shop at Asda online.

Does online mean double trouble?

Watchdog interviewed an Asda customer who had to deal with just this. She ordered and they took the money when the shopping was delivered. So far so normal. However, her card was then declined nine days later despite the fact she’d had sufficient money to pay for the order.

So what happened? Well 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 cost is different than the estimate (due to substitutions) Asda takes the money but some banks still keep the exact amount ring-fenced.

So you effectively need to be able to pay twice, even though the money only leaves your account once. Your bank can hold this amount for up to 10 days. In the meantime, you may have direct debits coming out that could bounce and rack up bank charges. Great.

Asda responds…

So what has Asda got to say about this sorry state of affairs? Here’s its response:

‘This issue is an unfortunate result of how debit card payments are processed for our online deliveries. If people pay on their debit card, their bank is often asked to ‘ring-fence’ the estimated funds in their account until their purchases are delivered and the actual money owed can be drawn down from their account. […] Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard process for banks when it comes to releasing ring-fenced funds. We are keen to work with the banks see how this process could be improved and are working to find ways to minimise this issue for our online customers.’

Well, it’s good to hear its ‘working’ on this issue, but what about people unexpectedly being double-charged in the meantime?

What’s the most unexpected thing that’s happened to you when shopping online? Are you a devotee or do you think it’s more hassle that it’s worth, and do stories like this put you off?

Sallyann says:
10 January 2015

This problem is ASDA and not the banks as they claim. Simply this is procedural and administrative organisation: firstly instead of two payment why not create a credit amount for the undelivered goods, or a process that releases the funds (that they have ask the bank to hold on to) when they receive their payment.

I won’t be using them again for simply locking up my funds. their lose

I have similar problems with ASDA at merchant till in Harrogate. I swiped my card and transaction gone through showing money being charged on my bank account. But person serving at till says its not completed and manually cancels it. It has been happening quite frequently now and only with ASDA. Unfortunately, ASDA employee working at customer service hardly knows how a transaction works and on top of it they have no customer service skills or mannerism to deal with the situation. They become defensive and take it personally. Its very bad attitude. Secondly, its quite embarrassing in public when they try to swipe the card without even asking me again. As sometimes people are on tight budgets and have only set amount to do transaction. It means the transaction will not go through again. They say money is holding bay and will be released in 5 working days. This creates a problem for me as i am not able to use to the funds for at least 7 days as i do my shopping on Friday evening. ASDA say its not their problem and blame it on the bank. Surely its not bank problem when i only get this problem with ASDA. On other occasion i have been charged twice for a merchant transaction which got refunded but again it took about 7 days before it came back into my account. Its ridiculous and very upsetting. I know the importance of money and budget it accordingly. Its highly unacceptable behavior from the people representing ASDA dealing with customers (including the manager) who have no sense of customer service. You are dealing with people & not robots. These are customers paying for goods & services due to which they have a business. There are alternate vendors and i will use them in future. If ASDA don’t care about their customers i am pretty sure things will spiral down the drain. ASDA might think losing one customer doesn’t matter. But its their choice.

sophie says:
12 February 2015

I’m having this exact problem every week for the last 2 weeks and it takes 7 days for me to get the ring fenced funds released. I’m not going else where as im not sure the customer service team even know that asda is a supermarket! they are unhelpful and say it’s a banking process! I’ve never had this before in all the years I’ve been banking and the bank tell me that yesterday they had hundreds of people phoning about the same problem!! Although nothing the bank can do as asda need to tell then the reserve can be removed and getting them to fax the bank is near on impossible!
I’ve now got to sit and wait 7 days before I can be allowed across to my own money again!!! asda you have blown it your service is disgusting and your customer service team will say anything to get you off the phone and even cancelled my shopping out of spite!!
I’m going back to good old cash now!

sophie says:
12 February 2015


claire says:
12 February 2015

i have been charged twice off asda for shopping online and getting nowhere with them. their customer service skills are none existent! for a week now i have called and emailed and its a joke that i have to prove to them that they took the money twice as 1 of the customer service advisors actually admitted to me it was their fault. im still waiting for my refund and to top it all off as “a gesture of good will” the have put a £10 evoucher in my account which can only be used online. they must be having a laugh if they think i am shopping online again.

paulyboy says:
13 February 2015

Double bubbled me to. Now have bank charges but dont worry asda i got them back when certain “expensive” items didnt turn up with my shopping.

[This comment has been edited for the using inappropriate and aggressive language. Thanks, mods]

dave taylor says:
9 April 2015

Hi we too have been stung by this “money in limbo” problem with Asda. You all know the drill by now, did shopping, some items werent in stuck so the final amount changed and debited from the bank, initial “holding amount” frozen in pending awaiting to be released back into the account. in the mean time, dont have any monies available to me, the account goes overdrawn into unauthorised overdraft, direct debts bounce, incurring me charges up to now totalling £65! all through no fault of my own and powerless to do anything about it.
spoke to bank (nationwide) and they blame, Asda, emailed Asda, the CEO dept who wash their hands of it, blaming Nationwide wide (as in their words they dont “Ask” the banks to do this!?! … so in limbo no one taking responsibility, although i would say Asda and sounds like they have admitted as such in this forum. so what next? £65 down jsut because i did my home shopping online with Asda… Yes that really is “Asda Price!” ….
oh and yes they did offer me £10 online shopping evoucher…. well Asda that don’t pay the bank charges and i wont be using your delivery service again anyways… not risking it!!!

Andy F says:
10 April 2015

When I require a delivery I use a different store now. It’s clear they have no intention of sorting out the problem after all this time. Presumably, they don’t consider it important enough to address, preferring instead to offer vouchers to complainants (which personally I rejected). It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘if you buy cheap, then you buy twice’ – at least for up to ten days!

Other supermarkets are available, thankfully.

sarah jones says:
14 May 2015

i too have had the letter its the banks fault, but what asda forgets is , it is them who tell the bank how much to put on hold, the banks are not guessing the amount of our orders. Asda must be breaking laws as they are asking the bank to hold an amount WITHOUT even checking if the items are in stock, ie charging for non existant goods. I bet we wouldnt get away with it. Also their FAQ states they ask the bank to hold 1p another misleading tactic they have.

sarah jones says:
14 May 2015

asda are actually misleading customers. their FAQ and their THREE letters to me say they ask the bank to hold 1p. which as we know is a lie. Also in my case the items were never in stock(xmas items) but customer services advised to just re order nightly as stock comes in overnight, what customer services didnt say is they would keep stopping the value of the order each night as well. I believe this is fraudulent as they have put a hold on my money for goods that do not exist. Again laws must have been broken here as they put the charge through without checking if the items exist or not. I have submitted a case to ombudsman and am waiting a response

Shelly Gordon says:
16 May 2015

I’ve been having this problem with asda and they tell me different stories from ‘you don’t understand our policy’ to ‘it’s your banks fault’.I don’t know how many times i have to tell them it’s their own policy that they are not sticking to. I’ve only just seen the pages of complaints related to this problem. I have emailed Andrew Clarke but even he hasn’t bothered to reply. Am I safer just going back to tesco? So frustrated because I have been charged by my bank for missed direct debits now. I use the service as it’s easier for me with my disabled son rather than going out for the shopping.

brian says:
8 July 2015

Same happened to me this week Asda have lost me as a customer for ever pathetic Wal-mart puppets

Andrew Fennessy says:
14 July 2015

They’ve had years to sort this out, there simply isn’t any excuse anymore.Clearly they simply don’t care.

Kelly Grover says:
16 July 2015

I have had the exact same problem, but with John Lewis. They have made my available funds look like I’m about to go overdrawn. This has resulted in me being without money for 6 days. It has also made my direct debits go unpaid. I really don’t know how they can get away with this. I’m still waiting for them to release the money.I explained to them about being able to fax the bank and they (John Lewis) told me that this wasn’t true. I’ve had the most awful experience and it’s ongoing.

Maisie s says:
8 August 2015

I’ve just had this same experience. Asda blaming the bank for taking long to release the funds. Not true. The bank will not hold on to anybody’s money. They will release it immediately once they receive a fax from the supplier to do so. Most it can take is a couple of days. Asda insisted that they fax the bank straight away once the shopping bill is finalised. This is not so. It is Asda that take their time to process the funds to be released. By bank had no instructions faxed from Asda even after 7 days from the original ring fenced amount on the day the shopping was done. So they cannot release it until they receive confirmation from Asda. I argued this with Asda customer services, which was a frustrating experience in itself, due to this being abroad and difficult to understand the advisor..the advisor kept blaming the bank, and I was told that I should contact my bank to get an authorisation number, then me to fax this to Asda, and then they release the funds… What a whole load of rubbish….ASDA, you are definitely off my list for any sort of shopping..the only people who are in pocket here is ASDA, not the customer.. never mind your advertising campaign..

I think a payment system that relies on retailers sending faxes to banks to unfreeze accounts has got to be fundamentally wrong – it is too prone to unreliability and human error. Is it the right fax number? Is there any paper in the fax machine? Is the person who deals with incoming faxes on duty that day? Will the fax just sit in an in-tray awaiting attention?

Does this fit within any sensible understanding of fair trading? No, and it should cease forthwith.

Hi everyone,

I have some good news to report from Asda. It says that they have changed their system to fix this problem and that no customer should experience this issue again, no matter who they bank with.

It says that the new system – effective as of two days ago – is that you’ll be charged for the estimated cost of your online grocery shop when you place your order. If the actual cost of your shop is different, you’ll be simply be charged/refunded whatever the difference is.

If you shop with Asda online, please let us know if the system is working as Asda says it is, or if you’re still experiencing this problem.

A bank Employee says:
23 December 2016

Not true they still charge it out twice

In the past I have been caught out by Asda ring fencing my online grocery orders and have cut down the cost to £50 per order. I have a £15 prepaid delivery pass for 3 months where the minimum spend is £40 now, but unlimited ‘free’ deliveries any time of day. If their system fails again I can cope with the £50 max.
I had an order delivered on Sept 11 2015 where I was charged the estimated £48 but ‘low and behold’ there was a refund of £3 ON THE SAME DAY because the ACTUAL cost on the day was £3 less!!!!!
Matt Clear had sent me an email to say that Asda had sorted themselves out and this new system would happen! ( Just seen it above!!senior moment!)
The moral to the story is now look at your bank statement for actual cost and refunds!…mind.. I am sure they will also take out any money where the order cost is higher than the original estimated cost ! SUCCESSS Asda! Thanks for everybodys input to highlight this awful system.x

Louise says:
27 September 2015

Used to love ASDA been a loyal customer for many years, understand mistakes happen how ever from our own experiences never again be going back or at least for not quite some time. Despite being charged for food delivery that failed arrive, was charged again-thankfully was unsuccessful. Stock out of date including drink that was over 2 years old. Oh nearly forgot well as usual on-line food delivery charge ASDA take out another charge of 1p, by the year adds up to £52 pounds per person if they did food shopping on line every week.

Sharon burkitt says:
17 March 2016

Never used Asda before but ordered from them yesterday 16/03/16 and because I missed my delivery even though my son/daughter were home, had to have it re-delivered and I’ve been charged twice. I won’t be using them again it’s disgusting. Asda’s a joke!!!

well they f****d me too, 5 years ago they knew this was a problem, they could simply charge cards when they have finished picking but they don’t give a toss about customers or they would make this simple change.

Kim K says:
7 February 2017

I have discovered a problem along these lines, also with Asda. I have ordered my shopping online, the amount has been held by the bank (that’s ok as I budgeted for this shopping) and payment is processed a couple of days usually after the shopping is delivered. However, I am now in the process of having a complaint investigated because there’s some sneaky 22p / 5p etc transactions appearing on my bank statements from Asda. This is on top of the payment amount, and processed same day, but as a different transaction. Whilst I know this is pence each time, there is no explanation as yet to why this money is going out, why it’s in two transactions, or what it’s for. It’s not for the orders, or the delivery costs. These amounts aren’t being held, or refunded, just taken and marked exactly the same as ASDA HOME DELIVERY.

Chris Cronin says:
23 July 2017

I got a (semi-literate) reply today from the ‘Home Delivery Services Team’ which confirmed they are still guilty of this malpractice, which they continue to blame on the banks. If that was true, why does this problem not occur with the other supermarkets? There is something more than a little fishy about it, and I will continue not to use their Online delivery service, and would warn others to be aware of their unprofessional way of carrying on with OUR money.

Andrew Fennessy says:
23 July 2017

I can confirm they are still doing this, taking money twice if the order amount changes and causing people problems with their finances as a result. It has been at least six years now and they still blame the banks, although I have never had this problem with any other supermarket. I give up, they are obviously not bothered and so neither am I, and will continue to shop elsewhere.