UK chain assures customers it was ‘standard practice’ to accept Scottish currency as legal tender in its UK stores.
The response comes following the experience of William Mackay, from Dundee, in Milton Keynes, where the cashier asked ‘where’s Scotland?’ when handed ‘foreign’ currency.
He regularly travels to England and claims he constantly struggles with businesses south of the border into accepting Scottish money.
A TK Maxx spokeswoman said: “Our standard practice is to accept Scottish bank notes as legal tender in our U.K. stores. We regret that this practice may not have been followed in this instance. We are working with our stores to refresh awareness regarding this practice.
Mr Mackay was recently told by a shop assistant in one shop that she had ‘never seen foreign money before’, then asked: “Where’s Scotland?”
He became so angry at constantly having to battle with cashiers south of the border that he wrote to his local MSP Shona Robinson demanding action.
Mr Mackay travels to Milton Keynes every two weeks to visit family.
After the cashier said she had never seen the currency before, asking where Scotland was, a store manager was called.
He then examined the note by “holding it up to the light” as if it was “a fraud”.
According to Mr Mackay, he was then told it was “company policy” to check if notes are legal and that they would not normally “accept” the note.
Mr Mackay said: “It has gone too far, it’s ridiculous. We are still part of the United Kingdom, so our currency is legal tender.
“I’m a member of the armed forces and I never have any issues when I am overseas and trying to use the money, for example Cyprus.
“The issue with Scottish £10 and £20 notes only ever seems to happen in England.
“I wrote to my MSP Shona Robinson, who said she would write to TK Maxx to ask them to explain their company policy.”
He then went to a coffee shop and said the exact same thing happened there too.”
He added: “I’ll write to the Prime Minister if it keeps happening. I want to get this sorted.”
In her letter to TK Maxx, Ms Robison said: “Not only was this a huge inconvenience it was also an embarrassing experience for my constituent, as the incident took place in front of other customers.
“I would like to request that your business reviews its current policies to ensure it includes the validity of Scottish notes, and that you incorporate the understanding that Scottish notes are legal tender in the UK, into your staff training.”
There is an odd technicality over Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes. Although the Bank of England states they are not legal tender in England, it is up to the parties involved whether it is an acceptable means of payment – as all banks south of the border are legally obliged to accept them.
Bizarrely, Bank of England notes are not considered legal tender in Scotland, despite the fact most shops will accept them and some ATMs in Scotland also dispense them.
The term is purely technical, and the matter of whether it is an acceptable means of payment is essentially left up to an agreement between the parties involved.
As a result, Scottish banknotes can be accepted in many places south of the border but anyone who rejects them is legally within their rights to do so.
The notes must, however, be accepted by all banks.