Questions of Cash: Exchange commission kept me dangling for refund: The Independent

Questions of Cash: ‘Exchange rates left me dangling on earrings refund’



By Paul Gosling
Saturday, 11 October 2008

Q. In Copenhagen in March, I wanted to buy some earrings from Magasin du Nord. I asked the price, and thought the assistant said 1,100 krone (£105). After the debit card payment was processed, I realised the price was actually 11,100 krone (£1,065). The transaction was immediately cancelled. But on my statement, there was a difference of £65.90 between the amount first charged and the amount credited back. My bank, Alliance & Leicester, says there was an error on the part of Magasin du Nord. But repeated requests for a refund from the store have been ignored. KG, London.

A. This has taken several months to resolve; we also had difficulty in communicating with Magasin du Nord. Eventually, we obtained a response from the retailer, which denied it had been at fault. It said: “There has not been made a mistake at Magasin, since the full amount of the customer’s purchase has been returned.” It insists that the discrepancy was “the result of her bank’s/issuer’s procedures for exchange rate conversion”. It said your bank should make the refund. We took this up with Alliance & Leicester, which in turn asked its card issuing partner MBNA to investigate. A&L said: “The error was made by the retailer, as they should have reversed the original transaction rather than giving the customer a refund, as that would have ensured that the same amount would have been credited to the account. The refund led to the lesser amount being credited to the customer’s account due to the difference in exchange rate calculations.” This exchange could have gone on forever – except, happily, that MBNA and A&L took a reasonable view and are refunding the £65.90 as a gesture of goodwill.

Q. In June, I bought a return ticket to Athens with easyJet. A problem with the web page led to a double booking. Two payments were processed, for £306.69 and then £318.99. EasyJet accepted there had been a problem with its site and promised a refund. But after three months the refund has not been processed. YT, Radlett.

A. EasyJet apologises, and the airline has now processed the refund.


Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write with your questions to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; email

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