Is it an error?

Posted By: LadyLady

Is it an error? - 06/19/13 04:41 PM

I have an interesting debit card case. Our cardholder made a PIN based purchase at Walmart. She claims she only bought 3 small items and the total was under $10, however the charge to the card was for over $150. She did not have a receipt. We contacted the store and the manager reproduced the receipt. It shows the 3 items and several other items as well. It may be possible that the cashier did not end the cardholder's transaction and continued with the next customer's items.

The cardholder was present and participated in the transaction. Is this reasonable enough to deny the claim? On the other hand she claims the remaining items were added to her order in error. The story is plausible. I would hate to take a loss on this, but I can see why the cardholder feels this is an error.

What a doozy! What are your thoughts? Is this an error under Reg E?
Posted By: BrianC

Re: Is it an error? - 06/19/13 05:00 PM

Once a PIN is entered, the transaction is completed and additional merchandise cannot be added after the fact without rerunning the card and reentering the PIN.

Prior to the cardholder entering her PIN at Wal-Mart, the pin pad displays the amount she is authorizing and she would have been given a the same receipt you obtained from Wal-Mart after completing the purchase.

The time for the customer to protest this amount was at the checkout counter. The customer authorized the $150 by entering he PIN at the time of purchase whether she realized it or not. Consequently, this situation does not meet the definition of an EFT error and you are free to deny the claim.
Posted By: LadyLady

Re: Is it an error? - 06/19/13 05:39 PM

Thanks for the reply. I don't feel there's a case here either.

I think I may need to clarify the error that's being asserted, though I'm sure it isn't going to change anything.

Cardholder brought 3 items to checkout, swiped card and entered PIN. The total was under $10 and the cardholder took her items and left the store without a receipt. The cashier did not complete the transaction, it was left open when the next customer's items were scanned; essentially the new customer's items were added to the bill. The new customer sees the total on the pin pad, presses OK and goes about his day. The cardholder is charged for both orders as one continuous transaction.

Regardless of what actually happened, the cardholder neglected get a receipt or verify the final transaction total. She participated and entered her PIN. We could not have prevented this from happening. As far as we can tell this is an authorized transaction for all the merchandise.
Posted By: John Burnett

Re: Is it an error? - 06/19/13 06:32 PM

Makes theoretical sense if the PIN pad accepts the PIN entry before the cashier closes the sale. I've seen some that encourage early PIN entry and others that won't take a PIN until the cashier has sent the total dollar amount to the PIN pad.

If it's a PIN pad that will accept the PIN early, the cardholder may, in fact, never have seen the total she "approved." But that scenario would require that the customer would have not been paying attention when taking her purchases (totally believable) and the cashier would have to have been asleep at the switch in not properly closing the sale (also very credible).
Posted By: rlcarey

Re: Is it an error? - 06/19/13 06:38 PM

Or instead of wasting all this time worrying about it, you could just hand her 140 bucks and cancel her card, because apparently she has no clue on how to use it.
Posted By: BetsyS

Re: Is it an error? - 06/20/13 04:08 PM

Reminds me of the ATM claims we used to get. After dispensing cash, some ATMs give the option for additional transactions before completion. We had a couple of cases where the customer took the cash and left before the receipt and completion. The following person was able to withdraw additional cash until the daily cash limit was reached. I beleive we handled it along the lines of rlcarey's post.