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?
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.
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?