/ 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?

Comments
Guest
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..

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest
A bank Employee says:
23 December 2016

Not true they still charge it out twice

Guest

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.
HOWEVER!….
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

Guest
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.

Guest
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!!!

Guest

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.