A glitch in Insight UK's accounting system has charged customers multiple times for the same order and eaten up their credit limits in the run up to Christmas.
The reseller played down the error, saying that some of its customers had merely had orders authorised more than once. But credit card authorisations are treated as completed orders, according to credit card firms.
The director of an Insight customer said the problem had caused his credit card to be maxed out.
Insight kept re-authorising an order he placed with them using a credit card last Wednesday, he said. He only found out about it after Insight's system automatically sent him a message to say he did not have insufficient funds in his account to complete a transaction.
It appeared that Insight's glitch had repeated the order until it had used up all his available funds. His bank confirmed his suspicions, he said.
The source, who did not want to be named because he still wanted to do business with Insight, said the supplier's finance team told him the problem had affected all customers who bought goods from Insight using a credit or debit card from Wednesday through Thursday lunchtime last week.
"Thousands of customers have credit card and bank accounts frozen and at Christmas," he said.
"I've been appalled by the way we have been treated," he added.
Stuart Fenton, Insight UK managing director, said: "What you have described as the problem would be an inaccurate interpretation of what happened."
He would comment no further, bar clarifying that the problem had nothing to do with Insight UK's migration to Maximus, the SAP system that its US parent already switched to in 2004. The migration will occur late in 2006, he said.
Insight later issued a statement in which it denied any customers had been charged more than once for the same order.
"Although a minor systems glitch occurred on Tuesday night, this did no more than result in an error message in electronic communications with some merchant providers," said the statement.
However, it went on: "A few customers had funds authorised on their cards more than once, but the funds were never debited and the affected transactions are being processed as normal."
A spokesman for MBNA said that banking systems completed authorisations as complete orders. A customer who reported an erroneous authorisation early could have his credit balance returned to normal after completing an official disclaimer form and returning it to the provider, he added.®