The Malmaison hotel in Manchester has vowed to resolve a bar receipt gaffe “as quickly as possible” after a customer was charged £55,000 for a bottle of beer.
Australian cricket journalist Peter Lalor, who has been in the city for the fourth Ashes Test taking placing at Old Trafford this week, bought a bottle of Deuchars IPA that should have cost £5.50.
But when he came to settle the bill with a member of the bar staff, it was the start of a saga that was to leave him with a huge hole in his finances.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Lalor said: “I didn’t have my reading glasses when she presented me with a bill for the beer and when she had some problems with the machine I didn’t think much of it, but it was eventually resolved, I said I didn’t want a receipt and she went to leave.
“Something, however, made me ask: ‘How much did I just pay for that beer?’ She checked, covered her mouth, started to giggle and refused to tell me, saying only there had been a mistake and she would fix it.She kept giggling, I told her it needed to be fixed and fixed right now. She ran to get her manager who took the situation far more seriously and went about attempting to arrange a refund. She told me somebody would be in contact.”
But Mr Lalor said nobody got in touch with him and it was only when he received a call from home that he discovered that £55,300 had been removed from his account. He was also hit with a transaction fee of more than £1,300.
He posted a picture of the ale on Twitter, describing it as “the most expensive beer in history”.
Mr Lalor said it was “baffling” that both the card provider and bank would let such an amount go through unquestioned.
“They agree that there is a refund in the system but it will take 9 working days for it to go through. In the mean time there’s a massive hole in my finances,” he wrote.
The Independent reported that about 90 minutes after tweeting about the incident, the hotel contacted Mr Lalor and were “being very helpful now”.
A Malmaison spokesperson told the paper: “We are currently carrying out an investigation into what took place. We have been in contact with Peter to apologise and ensure this has been resolved as quickly as possible.
Main image: @plalor