Tuesday 11 December 2012


I popped into Lidl at lunch time to do some shopping and realised that I needed to top up my phone and didn't have much money, so to save myself 2 minutes stopping at the cash machine I took cash-back, which is something I have never done before.

The next stop was a little corner newsagents where I asked for a ten pound top up. She took the twenty note which I had just been given by Lidl and put one of these special pens on it, only to find that it was a forgery. Very embarrassing. 

Now, in a situation like that the woman in the shop is supposed to confiscate it and give it to the police (which would mean me losing £20), but because she knows me, and trusts me, she let me keep it so that I could take it back to Lidl.

I went to the till (and assistant) from where I'd got the money. Fortunately he remembered me and remembered that he had given me cash-back of £20. He had to call the manager, of course and she asked some questions. The problem was that although the guy knew he had given me a £20 note, no one could prove that it was THAT £20 note.

In the end, again because I am a regular customer and have been since the shop opened, they took my word, although clearly they had no obligation to.

So twice this morning, I was in a situation where if the shops had stuck to the rules I would have been £20 short. They would have been perfectly entitled to do that, but they didn't.

So to the woman in the newsagent shop and to the manager of Lidl I say thank you for your trust. To Lidl I'd add that it might be worthwhile investing ion some of these pens for your tills.

Of course you can't avoid accepting change if you are paying in cash for something, but at least it is unlikely that you are going to lose more than a tenner (unless you are one of these people that pays for things with £50 or £100 notes.) You can however avoid cash-back and I'd advise you to do so unless it is impossible to get to a bank, or the shop giving the cash out tried the marker pen on them in your site.

It might be useful for you to know if you live in the area around Dundee that it was a Royal Bank note and that, when I studied it, it did seem a bit too lilac... but hey, hindsight has 20 - 20 vision. 

If you have any, check them out.


  1. You were certainly lucky there Tris. I don't think too many other people in the same situation would have been quite so lucky.

    I think you're right though Lidl's might want to think about investing in a marker pen.

  2. Good one CH :lol:

  3. A stranger in town might have ended up getting lifted until all of the cctv could be reviewed.

    Did you see the sky today tris ? It looked a bit odd. Will put up the pics later.

  4. Those pens are a lottery. There's a good chance there was nothing wrong with the note, but there was some starch on it or something.

  5. I was grateful it was two shops that I was kinda known in, Arbroath.

  6. LOL. Everything is his fault CH...

  7. I can't say I noticed anything Monty. There've been some excellent sunsets recently though.

    I'll wait for your photos...

  8. Never thought of that Rolfe.

    Does that happen a lot?

    The pen left two brownish marks... Does that say anything to you?

  9. tris
    Mrs Niko found some transactions from amazon on me bank statement.

    she say-what did you buy from amazon

    me- I aint bought nothing
    she- yeah you did
    me- no i am afraid not
    she- whats this here then pointing bank statement

    me- well thats seventy quid i never spent.

    we are in the process of reclaiming cash slowy....have changeed bank account wont be using aamazon again

  10. Ouch, Niko.

    Do you think it's an honest mistake or do they supplement their tax free income by making charges on people's cards.

    You can laugh, but a while ago I worked with a guy who had been a bank manager in the past.

    He told me tat the area manager had instructed him to put small charges on everyone's accounts. Nothing much, just a few pounds here or there.

    If someone complained then he was to apologise profusely and refund the money, but it was the area manager's experience that few people would actually notice.

    Mind you, you'd have to move up the social scale a bit before people wouldn't notice £70.

    (What did they say you'd bought Niko... It wasn't these naughty videos was it?)

  11. I'm going by memory, but I think these pens work on the assumption that fake paper has starch in it and the real thing doesn't. They use the starch/iodine reaction to leave a brown mark if starch is present.

    Problem being, the counterfeiters are mostly wise to that, long ago. And if a real note gets starch on it then it reacts. I have heard of people who think it's funny to get a load of new notes from a cash dispenser and spray them with starch. Then they pay them back into the bank.

    If only life were as simple as it should be.

  12. Thanks for the explanation Rolfe.

    How odd that someone would get a kick out of spraying starch on notes to make life more difficult for people that they don't know... and could in fact be their own granny.

    Ha... yes, I wish life were simple... [sighs]...

  13. tris -

    The continued possession of the dubious £20 note is obviously causing you great angst.

    As a caring person, I am happy to offer you the opportunity to free yourself from this burden.

    Send it to me and I shall take all the weight on my shoulders.

  14. Your er kindness, barney, seems to know no bounds....


    But Lidl very generously took the offending note... and replace it with a Clydesdale one... Splendid fellows.

    I am touched by your offer though....

  15. How swanky in this day and age to be able to obtain £20 in cash-back. Just when I thought we were all in it together as well?


    I hope the tablets from Amazon work!

  16. Report in The Courier about the fake notes tris....


  17. You don't know the half of how us big city people in the south live Mr.

    I could have had...oh £21 in cash back, if I'd wanted to.... so there.

    You might have the scenery, and the quiet, and the beautiful skies, and the animals and the freedom...but we have cashback!..albeit with fraudulent notes.

  18. I thought all the money circulating in Dundee was dodgy,in one way or another?

  19. Ha ha Pictish... I imagine quite a bit of it is, given what it is spent on! :)