Asda Scraps Controversial Petrol Charge Following Customer Backlash
Asda has been forced to scrap its controversial £99 petrol pump charge following backlash from customers.
The measure had been introduced at some stores in the UK as a means of stopping motorists getting fuel if they had insufficient funds - clamping down on petrol thefts, but also, according to one customer, leaving customers down by up to £99 for several days.
A spokesperson from Asda told MoneySavingExpert: "We always want to do the right thing for our customers, which is why we have made the decision to suspend Visa and Mastercard's pre-authorisation transaction trail.
"The intention of Visa and MasterCard in this trial was to ensure customers had sufficient funds in their account to pay for their fuel, and the £99 would be immediately released back to customers by their bank.
"Whilst we have received very few complaints about this process, until we can be given assurance that all banks are able to comply with the Visa and Mastercard rule change, we cannot continue to implement this change and risk harming our customers' trust in us."
The controversy stemmed from a social media post from Asda customer Jade Louise that quickly went viral.
Jade slammed the store for the fee which left her £99 down for two to three days, even though she only filled up £5. Other drivers had promised to boycott using the store for petrol after seeing her post.
Sharing a screenshot of her bank statement on Facebook, Jade wrote: "Don't go to Asda for fuel unless you can live without £99 for around 2-3 days.
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"They've brought in a new system that allows them to take £99 out of your account as a 'deposit' for your fuel then a second transaction of the fuel you've actually taken."
She added: "I rang ASDA and a manager said they are trialling this. They used to pre-authorise your card for £1 but now it is £99.
"So that is money taken from your account that you can't use until they release it back once the other payment has cleared.
"My complaint to them was that they should have notices on the petrol pumps making customers aware of this as they have changed their policy, 5th of May we got fuel and we're still waiting for our refund. Absolute joke."
In a statement from Asda, the chain then responded by saying: "Visa and Mastercard have increased the minimum pre-authorisation amount at pay at the pump petrol pumps for all retailers."
Mastercard argued that the increased rate has been introduced to make sure drivers can't buy more fuel than they can afford.
Mastercard also provided a statement in which the firm explained: "Last year a change in industry rules meant that petrol stations with automated fuel pumps were required to pre-authorise a value equivalent to a full tank of fuel, so that customers didn't fill up with more fuel than they could afford.
"This is designed to protect them, and the petrol station. If customers don't have the required funds in their bank account, a further step is available to petrol stations which allows them to check what available funds a customer has, enabling a lower value of fuel to be dispensed.
"While some customers may see a request for a higher amount than the fuel they bought - perhaps on their mobile banking app - these funds are not taken from their account. Only the value of the petrol dispensed is withdrawn."
Featured Image Credit: PA