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Tesco customers furious as fuel station payments taken months late

Furious Tesco shoppers have complained after card payments made at some of the retailer's petrol stations were taken months after they were made. Some said they didn't have the cash to cover payments, although Tesco promises to refund any bank charges incurred if you do go into the red.  

The supermarket says a "technical issue" meant certain payments made on both debit and credit cards during October, November and December 2020 at a "small number" of Tesco filling stations weren't taken at the time, and in some cases have been debited two to three months down the line.

It's not the first time this has happened at Tesco. In 2018, we reported how Tesco had also taken card payments months after customers had shopped. See our Cheap Petrol & Diesel guide to cut prices and improve fuel efficiency.

Who's affected?

As outlined above, this problem affects any type of purchase made – either at the pump or the kiosk – at certain forecourts on certain dates between October and December 2020. The issue has since been fixed.

Tesco wouldn't tell us how many people are affected, but we've seen more than a dozen complaints about the problem since mid-December. When we see more than four or five similar complaints over a short timeframe, it usually indicates there's a problem.

The supermarket initially told us it had contacted all affected customers telling them when payment would be taken. But as of 19 January 2021, Tesco admitted not everyone had been contacted as it didn't have details for all affected shoppers – presumably it only had records for Clubcard users and Tesco Bank customers. However, it has confirmed that all customers have now been debited – so it's best to check your card statement.

Tesco also wouldn't tell us which petrol stations were impacted, although some of the forecourts customers say they visited include one in Lincoln, Lincolnshire and another in Irvine, North Ayrshire, so it doesn't appear to be confined to a particular area of the UK.

'I don't have the money in the bank'

One reader emailed us earlier this month to say: "I was charged £30 for petrol yesterday by Tesco for which I had bought on 26 October. All other payments to Tesco since seem to be fine so far."

Here's a sample of some of the other complaints we've seen on social media, including people who say they haven't budgeted for this unexpected payment.

I've been affected – what should I do?

Here are the key need-to-knows if you're affected:

  • Tesco says all affected customers have now had payments taken. Some affected customers were contacted by Tesco to tell them of the problem and when to expect delayed payments to be taken, although it admits it's not been able to reach out to everyone. So check your card statements.

  • If you were charged fees as a result, Tesco will refund them. These could have been incurred where unexpected payments pushed you into your overdraft or above your agreed overdraft or credit card limit, for example. If this happened, contact Tesco's customer services team on 0800 505 555. You will need to provide evidence of the charge, such as a letter from your bank or a bank statement.

  • If you were charged fees, your credit file may also have been hit – but you can correct it. You can view your credit file for free via the free MSE Credit Club. Marks can take two to eight weeks to appear though, so you may need to keep checking over the coming weeks. If you do end up with a mark, you may be able to get it removed – see our Boost Your Credit Score guide for full help.

'It's unacceptable to hit people with charges months later'

Generally, most card payments are taken from your account within seven days, but it can take longer. For example, Nationwide says most payments made using its cards will show up within seven days, but sometimes they can take up to 120 days.

Helen Knapman, assistant editor – news and investigations at, said: "It's unacceptable of Tesco to hit people with payments months down the line.

"If you're operating on a tight budget and you're suddenly hit with an unexpected bill it can be a disaster financially, and there's a real risk some shoppers will have racked up bank charges as a result. If you've been charged by your bank, make sure you claim the money back from Tesco."

What does Tesco say?

A Tesco spokesperson said: "We appreciate this may be inconvenient for some customers and we are very sorry to anyone affected by this."

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