A cricket journalist from Australia was accidentally charged £55,500 for a single beer at a hotel in Manchester this week.
Peter Lalor, who is also beer editor for The Australian news website, explained on Twitter how a staff member at the bar mistakenly put through a transaction of £55,565 ($99,983.64 Australian dollars) on the card machine.
That’s instead of £5.50 – how much the bottle of Deuchers IPA was meant to cost.
Lalor is currently staying in the city at the Malmaison hotel while covering the Ashes tournament, and said the beer was “the most expensive in history”.
A spokesperson for the hotel apologised and said an investigation has been launched – but Lalor is frustrated the money was taken in the first place.
“I didn’t have my reading glasses when she presented me with a bill,” he wrote on Twitter. “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 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.”
Two days later, Lalor’s wife confirmed the amount – $99,983.64 – had been removed from their joint account.
Not only that, but also a transaction fee of $2,499.59 (£1,388) to add to the pain. The fee has now been refunded, but Lalor said the larger amount is still missing – and he said he’s being charged interest.
“It really is baffling that both Visa and our bank would allow such an amount to go through unquestioned,” he wrote on Twitter.
A spokesperson from Visa told the BBC they do not make decisions to authorise payments or not – that lies with the cardholder’s bank.
They have also reassured Lalor a refund is in place, but it will take nine working days for it to go through. “In the meantime there’s a massive hole in my finances,” he wrote. “Until the money comes back I won’t rest easy.”
“Australians find England pretty expensive usually, but this takes the cake,” he added.
A Malmaison spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “We always benchmark our bar prices, and acknowledge this was a tad on the steep side. We have been in touch with Peter to apologise and ensure this is fully resolved. We hope we can invite Peter back for another drink soon. The next one is definitely on the house!”