Drivers warned of £99 'holding fee' at supermarket petrol station pumps – Leicestershire Live


Thousands complained about wrong charges last year
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Drivers are being warned of a £99 holding fee they face when filling up their vehicle – after thousands of people complained about the charge.
The fee, introduced last year, is in place at petrol forecourts for people who pay at the pump.
However, it is believed many drivers might not know of the rule, and a consumer expert has now issued a warning to spread awareness of the fee.
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The holding charge used to be £1, and was put in place to check whether the card being used for the purchase was active. It was increased last year to £99, with the aim of letting the seller check whether the buyer has the funds available to pay for the fuel they are about to take.
The pay-at-pump pre-authorisation charge, as the fee is called, is in force at pumps provided by the big four supermarkets -Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsbury's – at the request of both Visa and Mastercard, reports The Mirror. It is already seen as general practice in some European countries.
The £99 charge is placed on the fuel buyer's account when they tap or input their card at the beginning of the transaction, meaning that that amount of money is 'held' temporarily and cannot be used. At the end of the transaction, only the actual charge of the petrol or diesel is deducted.
However, some people have claimed that they have had the £99 charge taken from their account.
Martyn James, who runs the website Resolver, said he had helped address more than 2,000 complaints about pay-at-pump charges last year and feared many other people had been affected.
“The way this is supposed to work is the money is ‘temporarily’ held on your account (meaning you can’t spend it) until the end of the transaction when the correct amount should be debited,” he said.
"Now the problem – as anyone who has used pay-at-the-pump services will know – is sometimes the machines don’t do what they are supposed to.
“People have been reporting problems anyway with automated pumps, with keying in details, incorrect billing and other issues. Many people are rightly concerned that the £99 is being debited in error after they’ve driven away.”
But Mr James added, however, that the issue was one that could easily be fixed.
“The good news is if this happens, it should be pretty clear that there is an error and your bank should be able to step in on your behalf,” he said.
A spokesperson for Asda said the system was beneficial to motorists, as it “makes it easier for you to keep control of your finances when you pay for your petrol at the pump”.
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