RETAILER Tesco say they can accept payment using commemorative £20 coins after a Tiverton man’s insistence on paying for his fuel by that method led to him being banned from the store.
Brett Chamberlain had a previous run in with staff at the Blundell’s Road store three years ago when he attempted to pay for fuel with small denomination coins he found using his metal detector.
The kitchen fitter says he has attempted three times to pay for fuel using the coins which were launched by The Royal Mint last year and described on their website as ‘official, legal tender’.
Most recently after filling the tank of his diesel Peugeot 406 at the Tiverton Tesco filling station on Wednesday night, Mr Chamberlain attempted to pay the £87.49p bill using five £20 coins.
Staff told Mr Chamberlain they had checked with the company’s legal team and would not accept payment in this form and so police were called.
Eventually partial payment in £20 coins was accepted by the store but Mr Chamberlain was told by staff he was banned from the petrol station and the garage.
A sign was been placed on fuel pumps by Tesco advising customers. “We are no longer excepting commemorative coins, ie. £20.00 coins. Please make sure you have significant funds to pay for your fuel. Sorry for any inconvenience.”
Mr Chamberlain said: “I pointed out to the Tesco staff that the signs are grammatically incorrect, and should presumably say accept NOT except which might suggest they do accept them.
“I think the fact there is a grammatical error on the sign is hilarious, but it is obviously directed at me. I am not a confrontational person thought and don’t want an argument with anyone, however I do feel that it is not right that Tesco should be telling us what coins we can or cannot use as long as they are legal tender.”
Mr Chamberlain insists he was in the right because as the petrol was provided before he, the customer paid for it, the retailer had to accept the customer's offer to settle the debt using legal tender.
Mr Chamberlain said he had a “boxful” of £20 coins at home having ordered a quantity when they were launched by the Royal Mint last year.
He said he did not believe he had caused any inconvenience to other customers, though he admitted some people couldn’t understand why he insisted on paying using unorthodox currency.
A spokesperson for Tesco declined to comment on the details of the case but acknowledged that the coins were legal tender.
The spokesperson said: “There are so few £20 coins in circulation many of our colleagues are unfamiliar with them. We are letting our colleagues know they can accept the coins”.
The signs on the forecourt have since been taken down.