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The most expensive banana in the world.

Yesterday I purchased a single banana at Waitrose which cost E161. In checking my bill after payment I noticed the charge and returned to the till.

I was led to customer services who pointed out that because of an error in their system a kilo of these bananas would set you back £800. The bananas should have been removed from the shelf.

The money was refunded but although the total incorrect payment has left my account the refund is yet to arrive.

It raises interesting consumer issues beyond the incorrect pricing. Reliance is being placed on a computer system which is wildly inaccurate; if I had not checked the bill, which I do not customarily do, the mistake would never have been corrected.

It put an extra 10 minutes on my shop.

Normally I go to a traditional greengrocers in the next town. Fruit and veg are weighed and packed for me. No such error can be made.

In the same week I was threatened with forfeiture of a deposit of a flat abroad I’m renting for not paying the balance when due. I explained the money was sent on the 24th January.

I did receive an apology with the explanation that their system takes a few days to register a payment.

I’m having an ongoing row with British Airways over a package holiday. They managed to take down my email incorrectly so,after paying the deposit, I heard no more. I asked for some proof of payment and confirmation of hotel and flight.

I received a letter entitled “no show”. I replied facetiously “does this mean I do not intend to show up?”.

There is no denying the benefits of the internet.

Too often though it is a excuse for a sloppy service and does not provide a personal one.

Yet retailers continue to bleat it’s not an even playing field when surely the answer is to train staff better, and provide a proper personal service.

About Gerald Ingolby

Formerly a consumer journalist on radio and television, in 2002 Gerald published a thriller novel featuring a campaigning editor who was wrongly accused and jailed for fraud. He now runs a website devoted to consumer news. More Posts