UK: Asda shelves controversial £99 petrol deposit trial

Following adverse headlines in the news this week, supermarket chain Asda has withdrawn its controversial £99 trial petrol deposit scheme, which it had rolled out to three supermarkets across the county.

Disgruntled customers voiced their annoyance at being charged an additional £99 on top of their fuel costs after filling up at the supermarket’s pay-at-the-pump system, allowing customers to pay using their card on the forecourt without having to go into the kiosk.

The BBC reports that Asda claims the deposit was designed to act as a, ‘holding charge to ensure customers had enough money to pay for their fuel,’ but they will now suspend the scheme, claiming they, “always want to do the right thing for our customers.”

The trial was intended to protect customers from filling up with petrol and paying for more fuel than they could afford on their cards, taking them into their overdraft if they didn’t have the necessary funds available.

It has, however, been criticised by customers who claim they were charged the £99 deposit on top of fuel they had purchased, without any warning. The deposit was intended to be cancelled as soon as the correct fuel amount was paid but it was subject to delays due to coordination between MasterCard and Visa and customers’ banks, which ultimately left customers temporarily out of pocket.

The supermarket said: “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.”