Patricia Wright said happily she had her checkbook on Saturday and used it to pay the two people ahead of her at Meijer while their machines were down.
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – Over the weekend, Meijer customers were panicked as debit/credit cards and EBT card readers were out of order for several hours.
13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke with residents of West Michigan who have experienced the problems first hand and for some of them, they are still paying the consequences days later.
“You could see people wondering what was going on,” said Patricia Wright, who shops at Meijer on the 28th and Kalamazoo in Grand Rapids. “There was such a high level of stress, and you could see it in people’s eyes wondering what to do now.”
Nicole Stewart from Holland said she was one of those people wondering what to do.
“When I walked in, there was nothing to say the EBT reader was down,” she said, “so I bagged everything and loaded it into my cart, and when I went to pay, my card EBT was not working.”
Eventually, a Meijer employee told Stewart that his EBT card wouldn’t go through and they only took cash or checks.
“I thought, what am I supposed to do? she said, “I need those groceries.”
But sadly she had to leave the store empty handed, only to find out the next day her EBT statement showed it had been used.
“They charged me four times,” Stewart said, “for items I never bought that were left at the store in my shopping cart.”
On Monday morning, Stewart said she called Michigan EBT customer service and was told she had to go back to Meijer to tell them her card had been charged.
“I was frustrated,” she said, “I shouldn’t have gone back to the store and asked them to fix this, it should be fixed by now. It was their mistake, not mine.”
On Monday night, Stewart said Meijer told him it would be 5-7 days before anything returned to his card.
Patricia Wright of Grand Rapids saw a similar situation on Saturday when the two people ahead of her in line couldn’t get their EBT cards through, so she decided to step in and help.
“I saw a look of panic, like what now?” Wright said, “And those poor people couldn’t leave without their groceries.”
Wright said she had no money.
“So I went old fashioned and pulled out my checkbook,” she laughed.
After paying for the people in front of her, Wright said it almost started a chain reaction down the rest of the line.
“They were so kind and grateful,” Wright said, “and told me I was heaven-sent because they’re really in a tough spot right now and they just didn’t have a another way to pay.
“I mean who walks around more with cash, or even checks for that matter,” Wright said. “As a society, we really are so dependent on digital currency.”
In a statement to 13 ON YOUR SIDE, Meijer said the following:
“Over the weekend, we had sporadic issues with credit/debit purchases in some of our stores, which resulted in delays in processing time and in some cases more than one debit for the same amount. We understand that many retailers have been affected. In most cases, the financial institutions will promptly reverse duplicate charges. If a customer has a problem, they should alert their financial institution, who should be able to fix the problem quickly.
The Better Business Bureau of West Michigan also reminded customers to alert their bank or credit card company to any incorrect charges and to be patient when unfortunate situations like this occur.
RELATED: Meijer customers say their credit cards were charged twice after they appeared to be declined
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