Paper fivers


cease to be legal tender tomorrow.

That is, unless you want to spend one in Tesco. They stopped taking them on Monday, apparently. So I had do do some shopping somewhere else.

Is it actually ok to decide not to accept something which is legal tender, like that?


I think the clue is in the word “legal”.

If one wanted to be bolshie, try insisting on paying with them and if they refused to accept them, walk out with the goods. It would make an interesting case, since payment had been freely proffered in valid currency.


Must go and check if I have any in my (small) stash of money left over from last visit. I suppose the banks will still take them?

As for Tesco, good question. I’ve heard some shops refuse to take more than a certain number of coins. Then there’s A.P. Herbert’s Negotiable Cow. Mr Haddock lost that case, didn’t he?

Just looked it up, no, he won! And the Inland Revenue having refused the cow was estopped from demanding payment again. Loverly!

The Negotiable Cow


I would have thought so. They didn’t give any warning of their policy that I saw, either; when I got to the till I was told that my money was not acceptable there.


I know that one, JJ: “Was the cow crossed?” “No, m’Lud, it was an open cow.”

Haddock is wonderful. “Port to port, you foxy beetle!”

The bank of England will take the paper fivers forever (they would still give you £5 if you offered them a white fiver, but you’d be silly to do so), but only your own branch of your own bank is obliged to apart from them.

Over a certain number of each coin of the realm is not technically legal tender.


Oh, that’s good to know. I have a bank account in England in the town I grew up in. I took them some out of date coins (not ancient) a while back and they cheerfully told me which ones could be exchanged for new and which ones were too old even for that. I went away a couple of quid richer. They had been hanging around in a drawer for years yet I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. Throwing away coins, no matter how valueless, seems wrong somehow.


The Bank of England seem to have stated that any decimal coin is accepted by them, and they will give you a new coin of the same denomination. Pre-decimal they can’t take because of exchange values, or something.


Yes, I wonder if I kept the rejects. One might have been a two shilling piece which ought to be 10P, oughtn’t it? I forget now, has the penny been dropped out of circulation in the UK? They don’t take cents in the shops here any more though the banks will accept them.


The legal tender rules only apply to the settlement of debts, not offers to purchase. If Tesco want to say “we will only accept £20 notes and give no change”, they’re allowed.


Not, I think, if they have advertised a price on the shelf which is not £20?


You’d lose.


That’s the point, o Fanta – that’s not “settlement of a debt”, that’s “offer to purchase”. If they said “you can take this and pay later”, then they would have to accept any legal tender to settle the debt that you had with them (and would not have to accept e.g. a sack full of pennies). But in a straight purchase there’s no debt created.


Tesco is gits. Always have been, always will be. Having said which, my ‘corner’ shop is a Tesco Express and while, corporately, Tesco may be gits the security guards and a fair proportion of the staff there are Good Eggs.
My opinions on a lot of Tesco produce/products are not fit for airing on a respectable board.


Oh! I hope this place isn’t going to turn into a respectable board… Well. Not too respectable. :innocent:


No danger of that, old bean.


Yes it is, in law. Nobody is obliged to accept legal tender. How to pay is a private agreement between the parties.

Not accepting legal tender seems bonkers to me though and not at all ok.


There was something about this on the Beeb, when the mint went over to making “copper” coins (1p & 2p) out of copper-coated steel, a few years back.

It seems that the older 1d copper coins, were worth more as copper, than 1/240th of a pound.


Though, in reply to myself, if I were a small shopkeeper I wouldn’t be keen on giving lots of change for a £50 note.


Even when legal tender applies, there’s no requirement to give change. You have to tell people if you’re not going to do it, obviously, but if I owe you 20p and I give you a £50 note, you can’t claim that the debt still exists just because you can’t give me the change from it.


Also true. Though if I were a small shop owner I wouldn’t expect much repeat business from you if I did that. £££$¥€

The charity shop I work at will carry on taking old notes because we can bank them. Silly Tesco.