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Tesco double-charges shoppers due to 'technical error' – full help

Tesco double-charges shoppers due to 'technical error' – full help

Tesco has mistakenly double-charged shoppers at stores across the UK in recent days, MoneySavingExpert.com can reveal, due to a "technical error" which may have resulted in 1,000s of card payments being taken twice. Tesco says it's working to reverse duplicate transactions, but we've full help below on how to check if you've been overcharged and what to do if you have been.

Update Thursday 18 February: Tesco now says the issue has been fixed. See our Tesco fixes technical error MSE News story for full details.

The supermarket's promised to automatically refund customers within a day, though if you have been charged twice it may take a few days for your bank or card provider to actually return the money. If you shop in-store at Tesco, check your account to see if you've been double-charged – particularly as the supermarket hasn't yet been able to confirm it's fixed the problem.

If you're double-charged and find you're hit by bank fees as a result – for example, because you've gone into an unarranged overdraft – Tesco says it'll consider refund requests on a case-by-case basis.

Just last month, Tesco shoppers complained after card payments made at some of the retailer's petrol stations were taken months after they were made. See our Supermarket Shopping Tips for full help on cutting the cost of buying groceries.

Thousands across the UK may have been double-charged

Tesco hasn't been able to tell us how many customers have been hit by the payments blunder, but it's understood it may be thousands. It has told us the problem is UK-wide and may have affected shoppers using any of its different types of store, including Express, Extra, Metro, fuel stations and superstores – though it's also said not all shops are impacted. It says online orders aren't affected.

MoneySavingExpert.com has seen complaints that date back to Saturday 6 February – stores they relate to include Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, King's Lynn in Norfolk, Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, Newmarket in Suffolk and Merthyr Tydfil in Glamorgan, South Wales. Let us know if you've been affected at news@moneysavingexpert.com – please include when and at which store it happened.

Affected customers report being shown an error message on the card machine when making a purchase – they then pay again thinking the initial transaction hasn't gone through, only to find that it actually did and they've been double-charged.

'The money still hasn't gone back in'

We've seen scores of complaints from Tesco shoppers about this – here are just a few from social media:

Tesco says it's reversing transactions – but refunds may not be instant

Here are the key need-to-knows:

  • Tesco says it's automatically reversing duplicate charges within a day, but it may take longer for the money to appear in your account. Tesco says it's spotting where customers have been double-charged and refunding them automatically, so in theory the problem should be resolved without you doing anything.

    However, banks and card providers can take time to clear funds, so the cash may not return to your account straightaway, and many shoppers have reported having to wait a number of days. Tesco says if you have an issue with the time taken to process the refund, you should contact your bank – though it's unclear if it'll be able to do anything to speed things up.

    If you've been double-charged and the money's not been refunded in about a week, check with your bank – if it can't confirm it's in the process of refunding you, contact Tesco to check.

  • If you were charged bank fees as a result of the error, complain to Tesco. These could have been incurred if the double payment 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. Tesco says it'll deal with requests for refunds of these charges on a case-by-case basis. Make sure you provide evidence of the charge, such as a letter from your bank or a bank statement.

  • If you were charged bank 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.

The problem DOESN'T appear to be fixed yet – so keep an eye on your account

Worryingly, Tesco hasn't been able to confirm to us that the problem is fixed yet, and we've seen reports of double-charging still happening today (Tuesday 16 February). So if you're shopping in-store at Tesco, or have done recently, keep a close eye on your bank or card statement to see if you're double-charged.

Likewise, if you're shopping in Tesco and are presented with an error message after paying by card, you may want to be wary of paying again – if you have mobile banking, perhaps check your account there and then to see if the payment has in fact gone through. If you're concerned about being double-charged, speak to in-store customer service staff.

'If you've shopped at Tesco recently, check your account'

Steve Nowottny, news and investigations editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "This is clearly a major error which has led to many customers being double-charged. While we don't have precise figures, the scale of complaints we've seen – from Tesco customers all over the UK – suggest the problem's significant and widespread.

"If you've shopped in-store at Tesco recently and believe you may have been affected, check your account. Tesco says it's automatically refunding customers within a day, but if you've been double-charged you should make sure the refund comes through. It may take several days for banks to process refunds, so you may unfortunately need to wait to get your money back.

"If you've been left out of pocket, for example because you've unexpectedly gone into your overdraft and been charged bank fees, complain to Tesco. Given it's mistakenly double-charged customers, it should be willing to put things right."

What does Tesco say?

A Tesco spokesperson said: "Due to a technical error, some customer card payments have been authorised more than once. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused, and we want to reassure affected customers that they will only pay for their purchases once and any duplicate transactions will be reversed."

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