Sep 6 2012 by David Baker, Harrow Observer
A MOTHER struggled to pay rent and bills after a supermarket overcharged her by more than 16 times for online shopping.
Shereen McCallum was horrified when she checked her bank balance a couple of days after making the £30.51 order at Asda. She had been charged £506.51.
This meant the 32-year-old, of Alicia Gardens, Kenton, was plunged into overdraft, incurring bank charges and leaving her short for rent and utility bills.
Mrs McCallum, who has three children aged four months, two and three, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the bill. To be charged more than 16 times the amount is ridiculous.
“Although they have since repaid the money and have said they will pay for any bank fees, it was a very stressful period as I tried to work out how to pay for everything.
“They kept telling me they were dealing with my enquiry, but I couldn’t really keep waiting for that sort of money. In the end it took about six days to get it back.
“I have been shopping online to save some time and have been doing it for a while, but I definitely won’t be doing it any more.”
Mrs McCallum was one of hundreds of online customers around the country overcharged by Asda last month. The company says the errors were because of a power cut at the offices of its parent company, Walmart, in the US causing a computer glitch.
Asda promised to pay back the overcharge plus resulting bank fees and the cost of original bills – meaning the shopping will be free.
Although the supermarket said it started to refund customers as soon as it became aware of the error, many shoppers, including Mrs McCallum were left out of pocket for up to a week.
Leah Watson, head of consumer PR at Asda, said: “As soon as we became aware of the overcharging we contacted affected customers and refunded the overcharge and any resulting bank charges. I can confirm that this has been processed for Mrs McCallum.
“As a gesture of goodwill and to say sorry, we have also credited customers’ accounts with the cost of their shopping order. We apologise to affected customers.”