An Australian cricket writer was accidentally charged £55,000 for a bottle of beer in a Manchester bar while covering the Ashes.
Peter Lalor, The Australian’s chief cricket reporter, ordered a half pint of Deuchars IPA from The Malmaison, a Manchester hotel often frequented by footballers, on Sunday evening.
The veteran journalist, who regularly covers test cricket for the newspaper, was staying in the luxury facility ahead of the fourth Ashes Test match played at the Emirates, Old Trafford.
Mr Lalor wanted a taste of “something a little British” so opted for the distinctive light malt brewed in Edinburgh, instead of the Heineken which was suggested by a hotel bar worker.
After finishing the beer, which retails from £1.80 at supermarkets, he used his visa card to pay for it- without putting on his reading glasses.
But to the journalist’s shock, he learnt that $99,983.64 (£55,300) had been withdrawn from his account when he asked the bar worker how much he had been charged.
Despite the manager taking the situation seriously, he claims the bartender initially “giggled” in mute horror when they realised the mistake.
He was also charged a transaction fee of $2,499.59 (£1,380), which has since been returned, but he is still waiting for the other sum to be transferred back into his account.
Mr Lalor said it was “baffling” that the transaction had been gone through “unquestioned”, and while he had been promised a refund in nine working days “in the meantime there’s a massive hole in my finances”.
But he later wrote on Twitter: “Just had a call from the Malmaison, they are being very helpful now.”
A Malmaison spokesperson said: “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.”
The beer itself received mixed reviews from Mr Lalor.
He added: “It is a good beer. The original version of it won a heap of awards, including the Supreme Champion Beer of Britain, but if you are thinking that no beer is worth the best part of 100,000 dollars, then I am inclined to agree with you.”
Visa has been approached for comment.