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British Airways refunding overdraft fees and card charges following double charging

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British Airways and BA Holidays suffered a major payments problem on 1st January. It’s not that ba.com wouldn’t accept your booking – it’s that it was far too eager to do so, charging many people twice.

This problem only impacted people who booked via ba.com. If you booked via an alternative route – although we don’t normally recommend that – you would not have been impacted.

BA refunding overdraft fees and credit card charges following double charging

It seems that refunds are automatically turning up. Feedback from HfP readers, however, is that they are being dropped into bank or credit card accounts without any accompanying email being sent.

(BA compensation payments work the same way, as I found recently. You wait eight weeks and then the money just appears, with no email confirmation. It’s not very user friendly.)

If you did book a flight or BA Holiday on Monday 1st January, it is worth checking to see if you were charged twice and if any refund subsequently turned up.

British Airways is also liable for any overdraft fees you may have incurred if you paid by debit card, or any credit card fees you incurred for going over your limit.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (38)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Tariq says:

    Seems they finally coded their systems correctly – when I tried to use a conditional spend voucher (£6 off £4) recently, the till seemed to factor out the third party gift card I had included and wouldn’t allow the voucher to be used.

    • Mr. AC says:

      How do you get those conditional spend vouchers? Waitrose mails them to me, but I have never received anything from Tesco.

  • SammyJ says:

    It wasn’t just the 1st Jan – mine was double charged to Amex on 19th Dec, and there were reports of it all the way through Christmas until around the 5th Jan. The way it’s been handled by BA is pretty poor.

    • PinguDunc says:

      As another data point I was also double charged on the 19th Dec. Money returned 9th Jan but no communication from BA about charge or refund.

  • Paul says:

    “……… It’s not very user friendly.”

    This sums up BA perfectly. On final leg of a 26,000 mile RTW so far 8 flights on 4 different carriers. Everyone on time , one 36 minutes early. With the possible exception of Qantas, whose reputation in Australia is in tatters, all have been outstanding flights. When you travel with others it is enlightening.

    The Qantas issue was the ludicrous weighing of every item of hand baggage irrespective of size and being told it might be a bag of gold! Followed swiftly by an uppity janitor type crew member who lectured me on Australian law when I did not immediately proffer my boarding pass ( I was to busy humping a bag of gold!!!!)

    • JDB says:

      @Paul – yes, BA faces significant operational difficulties and they admitted at their Capital Markets day that the majority were self inflicted.

      However, to compare BA to airlines in other parts of the globe makes no sense. You will find in France and Germany that people complain as much about AF and LH as we do about BA. European legacy airlines have just so many cost and operational disadvantages vs US, ME/Asian carriers. Regulators also don’t allow for luxury airports that we experience elsewhere.

      In Europe, many key airports are very congested, the skies are congested, we suffer across Europe from ATC issues of various sorts and we use a complex routing system not used elsewhere. We have strong unionisation and higher wage costs so airlines have fewer staff in addition to the financial burden of 261. It’s just much cheaper to operate in many other parts of the world and that changes everything. Of course there are also plenty of carriers (and airports) that are either subsidised or don’t need to turn a profit.

    • Jimbob says:

      Sorry, but if your humpimg your bag of gold, you’re lucky to get off with just a lecture

  • Nick says:

    It was all direct channels (inc call centre), not just ba.com, and everyone with a valid contact email was sent one (so check junk). But… banks should also have blocked the second billing and the majority did, so anyone affected should really move their account to a better one that’s more switched on.

    • SammyJ says:

      Mine was the BAPP Amex. All 4 (for the 2 tickets I bought) had different transaction numbers, and given that BA charges always come off individually per passenger rather than a single total transaction amount, I don’t see how Amex would be expected to block the second set?

    • Char Char says:

      Plenty of reasons to have a second charge, not going to change my bank just because BA double charged

  • Lady London says:

    If BA’s unauthorised double charge made me go over my credit limit or bank limit or caused another paynent such as a programmed direct debit, to bounce, a refund wouldn’t be enough.

    This would impact someone’s financial standing with the bank or cardco and possibly your record with credit reference agencies.
    .So I’d want

    1. A written confirmation from BA, that it was entirely their error, that I could hold on record

    2. A full refund. There’s also technically a loss of potential interest or similar on the money till they provide a full refund. I’d consider letting that go without pursuing it if they provide everything else promptly.

    3 An extra amount over and above the refund, to say sorry and paeticularly in light of potential impact to financial standing in 1. above (which effect might not be seen till next time you wish to apply for credit or open an account.

    If BA didn’t not just refund but also state their error in writing and offer extra money to counterbalance personal credit scoring or bank record impact, I’d complain and consider taking it to the FOS.

    • SammyJ says:

      Agree, but can be easier said than done getting anywhere with BA unless you have a lot of time and patience on your hands to pursue, which of course is probably why they make it so difficult.

      I rung YouFirst as soon as I noticed early in Jan (double charged to Amex 19th Dec) and they said they were aware of the issue and would refund asap. I was a bit busy at the time so let it go until a week later when I rung again and was totally fobbed off, she didn’t even take a booking ref, just a standard apology and a blanket ‘back office are working on it, you’ll get your refund’. I asked what would happen if I incurred any interest as my payment was due soon and was told that they’d refund any charges or interest incurred but we had to use the regular BA relations complaint form to request this. No info about how long this would take.

      I submitted a complaint as soon as I came off that call, but don’t expect much in a hurry. The refund quietly appeared the next day. Not a single email about it though to either of us on the booking (both Gold, so they definitely have our details!) at any point (and not in spam either).

      • Lady London says:

        After 8 weeks without the full resolution you expecr you could take it to the FOS asa complaint. I’ve give them warning that I’d be doing this, at the 4 week point.

        This is about a card or a bank account being incorrectly used so it does count as a financial issue that you can complain about through the finance industry setup.

        Recently I had an online groceries provider refund, without being requested, all of an £80 bill because due to something they (idiotically) did internally that affected the standing charges affected customers had authorised, I pointed out that they’d broken financial rules as the result was that their processes had charged a higher amount than was authorised, to my card.

        They didn’t think about it for long and emailed very quickly to say they’d refunded the entire charge. Not just the unauthorised portion.

        They haven’t resolved past issues correctly, always, but clearly them being told they’d breached financial rules actually had some power behind it.

        • JDB says:

          @LL – you can’t take BA to the FOS for this and BA also isn’t subject to any eight week complaints time limit. BA has already said it will compensate people for any actual losses incurred.

          • Lady London says:

            I don’t see why not @JDB. If a report goes to a credit reference agency or even 1 flag in a bank’s internal systems that I went over my limit or another payment bounced because due to BA’s incompetence an extra unauthorised amount had been taken, then I’ve been damaged and that has a value.

            The same as there is meant to be a punitive element – a fine – if BA has a data breach that makes my personal and/or payment details obtainable, or even potentially obtainable, by unauthorised people. The trail of effects from this can go on for years, and ill effects may not in fact emerge for some time.

            The fact that there isn’t a universally attributable value to a negative flag or impact on someone’s credit standing or standing within their bank’s systems doesn’t meant there hasn’t been damage BA is responsible for and should pay something for in every case. Same as for data breaches.

          • Lady London says:

            Worsr case the FOS can assess it at a token or base level at a minimum, that BA should be paying in addition to refund. H*ll, I’d take 1p to establish the principle (and knowing that the FOS fee BA would have to pay for every customer complaint would be in the several £00’s even if they get a ‘season ticket’ with the FOS).

            Otherwise damage to customers of BA’s shoddy systems will continue

        • JDB says:

          @LL – BA isn’t (at least in selling tickets) an FCA regulated business so your case won’t even get to be considered as the FOS has no powers to do anything. Also BA isn’t the party that deals with credit reference agencies in the circumstances you describe, so they couldn’t fix the problem anyway.

          BA is hardly the first merchant to have double billed people or created some other payment anomaly and if it happens, it’s up to the customer to deal with the credit card firm or bank and for those parties to deal with credit agencies if required.

          As above, these are just the normal travails of life. One needs to pick one’s battles.

          • Lady London says:

            BA took am unauthorised amount off a credit card. That breaks a financial rule. Putting the money back doesn’t undo the damage. So I’d be wanting an amount to make right the damage as well.

            If they didn’t then I’d expect the FOS to have the wit to understand that damage was done. Not just to me, but en masse. And I’d expect them to work with BA to devise a fair apology, perhaps I’m expecting too much but really regulators need to develop methodologies for addressing this kind of loss and complaints to the FOS are one of the things that should trigger standardized extra apology to customers and not just a refund.

    • No longer Entitled says:

      What are you going to do with 1)? Send it to a credit card provider ever time you apply, provide it to your mobile operator when you take out a new contract, show it to your utility company when you want to even out your bills via direct debit? Will any of these companies who are set up to make generic decisions devote the time, or care, about your letter?

      Life is short but full of inconsequential things. Just move on.

      • Skywalker says:

        @No longer Entitled, no, but companies do have to look at any Notices of Correction you have put on your credit file when you take out a new contract. This could include reference to the BA payment screw up that created a debt on account.

        • Thegasman says:

          Adding a notice of correction to your credit report is a bad idea. You’ll never get approved for credit from any provider who uses algorithms & most won’t automatically, or even on request, perform manual decision reviews.

          • Thegasman says:

            Slightly poor choice of wording above, yes a lender is obliged to read the notice of correction but that will be treated as a tick box exercise followed by boiler plate rejection that they don’t have to justify. It’s not worth their while employing expensive underwriters to review applications for low margin credit cards.

            If you’re applying for a mortgage then you’ll deal with an underwriter regardless so better to explain your history directly.

  • ben1 says:

    In my eyes, its too little too late for Tesco. I used to shop there frequently and once sainsburys took over the avios contract, i’ve not looked back.

    Sainsbury’s and Tesco in my area are similarly priced and almost every week I either have a money off coupon from the tills or coupons sent in the post with £9/£12/18 off a £60 shop (which in this day and age isn’t hard)!

    Couple the money off coupons together with nectar card bonus point offers and nectar prices, to me it was a no brainer to switch from Tesco.

  • Peter says:

    Has anybody any experience of the double charge triggering a BAPP 2-4-1 voucher 8 months early? That’s what’s happened to me and BA aren’t interested in delaying the 2-4-1 voucher because of their error.

    • JDB says:

      You would be better off dealing with Amex on this as they are bound by rules in a way that BA isn’t so will be more likely to want to fix the issue. Amex can have the voucher extended but it has to be said these days it’s very rare. You would be relying on FCA fairness principles and that in this situation, BA is Amex’s partner and you shouldn’t suffer from BA’s negligence in allowing the problem to occur in the first place and then not identifying or fixing the problem quickly enough to prevent two payments being taken. BA has undertaken to compensate people for any additional actual costs incurred but they should in this situation be potentially liable for consequential losses as well. The burden is on you to demonstrate that loss so you need to think about that argument!

      At the FOS there have been cases albeit usually the other way round (too little spend) but then a card closed and they look at a pattern of spending, so if you were trying to sit just under the £10k that would work against you, but doesn’t sound like the case here.

      It’s not that easy, but there is a reasonable prospect of getting it resolved.

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