IT was the week before Christmas and Kirsty and Chris Fretwell were paying for a big festive shop.
The Hillsborough couple had loaded their trolley with a sackful of goodies at Parson Cross Asda when they hit trouble. The transaction – worth £101 – failed to go through when Chris pulled out his card too soon. Rushing, he says, because the cashier was closing the till.
The cashier tried again but the card was declined, and Kirsty’s was refused too. The crestfallen pair were forced to leave their goods and leave the store.
A trip to the cash machine showed £101 had gone from their joint account, but it was in limbo, somewhere in the system. Asda said to ring Natwest and Natwest said to ring Asda – but the upshot was they were told the cash wouldn’t be back in their account for two weeks.
It meant Christmas was cancelled – as the Fretwells had no more money to call on.
Kirsty, aged 23, said: “We were horrified, we’d bought a load of items for Christmas and the festive period, but then we had to leave them all at the till. After going to Natwest we went back to Asda and they said they didn’t have the money and it was in a holding account.
“They said it happens all the time and we’d get the money back – but it would take up to 14 days.”
A CALL from Action Desk helped both organisations rediscover their Christmas spirit.
Natwest was first, it ditched procedure and put £101 in the Fretwells’ account straight away. Then Asda went one better – with gift vouchers worth £100.
A Natwest spokeswoman said: “We understand the retailer will be arranging a refund but, as this may take some time, we have temporarily credited the account with the amount as a gesture of goodwill.”
An Asda spokeswoman said: “We’ve done everything we can to ask the bank to release the funds to the customer’s account. We want to make sure Mr and Mrs Fretwell don’t go without their Christmas dinner so we’re giving them a voucher as a gesture of goodwill.”