Uno Chicago Grill Charges You $200 When You're Not Even There

Lauren was shocked to find five charges for a total of $200 on her account from a pizza place she hadn’t been to in months. They were all levied from one Uno Chicago Grill during a day she wasn’t even in town. What she found out about why they happened in the first place was even more disturbing, and annoying.

Lauren writes:

Today while checking my bank account statement online, I noticed several (5) suspicious charges on my account. They were all for UNO’s Chicago Grill (the Braintree, Massachusetts location) and they were all dated July 11, 2008. I haven’t been there in months, so I was confused, to say the least. Not to mention, on July 11, I was on Martha’s Vineyard. I was there for most of the week preceding these transactions. My card has never left my possession….

I called my bank immediately. As usual, they were very helpful and froze my card. They told me the steps I would need to take to go about recovering my money. I don’t carry cash, so having my debit card frozen is a bit of a pain. My car is low on gas and since we just arrived home from vacation yesterday, there is nothing to eat in the house. Since I’m a single mom with three kids, getting to the bank before it closed was a priority for me.

After hanging up with the bank, I called the UNO’s in question because I wanted to know how this could happen. If I’ve always had possession of the card, it would be illegal for them to punch in the number with no card. When someone answered the phone, I asked to speak to a manager. “Is this about charges to your credit card,” the wait-staff who answered the phone asked me. I replied that it was. “Okay,” said the voice on the phone, “Do you want to know what happened?”

Of course I do.

This individual explained to me that there’d been a “really big computer problem” and that cards were charged. I said I hadn’t been in their establishment in months. “Yeah,” he said, “Yeah it sucks.”

I’m out almost $200 and I am told “yeah it sucks” ? And I was assured that they’d probably “do something”. I hung up, mostly because I had to get back to the training I was in and didn’t have time to sit on the phone getting no answers.

On my way home, I called again and asked to speak to a manager. Moments later a manager named Spencer took the call. He explained to me that there was a computer “glitch” at the bank that processes their credit cards which had gone back as far as November 2007 and made new charges to credit cards. I asked how could this happen? And why were they holding on to my credit card information months after I’d been there? Spencer had no information regarding this. Nor did he care that I couldn’t put gas in my car or buy food for my kids that night. He did tell me that he knew this was “really inconvenient”.

I think I’m more inclined to say “really illegal” and it’s far beyond inconvenient.

I went to my bank and they helped me through the paperwork. I wrote a statement saying that I did not actually make these transactions and that I was, in fact, on Martha’s Vineyard when it occurred. While I waited at the bank, I texted several friends about the situation, since we’d often go out to UNO’s after work for drinks and a bite to eat. Of those I texted, I’ve heard back from five. They’ve all suffered a similar fate. And none of them knew it had happened since they don’t obsessively view their transaction logs online.

I intend to make a lot of noise about this issue. While it’s not the end of the world and I will most likely see my money back eventually, being out that much when you’re a single mom with three kids is no small issue. Add to that that I’ve lost the use of my debit card for the next two weeks until the new one arrives and I’ve got quite a bit of inconvenience coming my way.

That is a big pain in the butt and UNO’s blase response doesn’t help matters either. This story shows one of the drawbacks of using your debit card: it’s your actual money. If unauthorized charges go on your credit card, then only the credit card company is out and they have to deal with it. With a debit card, you are out the real money until the situation gets resolved. For these reasons and more, these days I hardly ever use my debit card except to get cash out of the ATM.

Comments

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  1. B says:

    Gah!
    That’s just reprehensible.
    Time for a class action lawsuit against UNO’s (or just that one franchise) for all the people who were hit with these bogus charges.

  2. UNO’s may not be to blame.

    It really could be an error at the Merchant Bank that services UNO’s.

    Let’s make sure the blame is directed to the party that is actually responsible for the error.

  3. mdoublej says:

    I wonder how many people unexpectedly got hit with insufficient funds fees after this happened, and who cleans up that mess? I think I need to start using cash again too.

  4. whartonmba says:

    If you use a credit card, you can easily put a dispute. But for a debit card… you know the pain.

  5. Snakeophelia says:

    Let me get this straight – UNO knew what was happening, but hadn’t yet contacted any of the people who were impacted? Were they just going to let the charges stand for anyone unlucky enough not to notice? That’s insane. I’d say if UNO can’t show they made an attempt to either (a) reverse the charges or (b) contact cardholders, a lawsuit might have a pretty good chance of succeeding.

  6. EJXD2 says:

    How many people suffered overdraft charges because of this “glitch”?

    How much interest has Uno earned over the past couple weeks while all that money sits in its coffers?

    This is a big deal.

  7. IF the Merchant Bank did the error (I am betting on them), then UNO’s is not profiting from the error.

    And yes, Merchant Banks make errors. LOTS of them.

  8. wgrune says:

    I don’t understand why there is a valid reason for any company/bank/clearing house to hold onto your credit card number for 1 second longer then it takes for the charge to clear. The fact that inept companies (ie. TJ Maxx) hold onto your numbers in a huge database somewhere for months to years on end makes no sense.

    Does anyone know of a valid reason as to why they keep your numbers for so long?

  9. Geekybiker says:

    Gross. I should check my card for uno’s charges. Luckily I use a CC so I’m not out funds immediately.

  10. ekthesy says:

    Ben, that’s a good idea to not use your debit card. I am one of those obsessive purchase-trackers on my debit card-linked account but I think I am going to be using the two CCs I have in favor of the debit now.

    I have some sort of psychological block against using credit cards for small transactions (I often find myself without cash). Like $2 and change for a coffee and donut–I have no compunction against the debit card but handing over the MasterCard seems somehow “worse”–when in fact it’s “better” because the debit card cuts out the middleman, who, as you say, offers a layer of protection between creditee and creditor.

    Are we just getting railed from all sides here? If the credit card company isn’t charging usorious interest rates, you’re the victim of someone’s computer glitch. They should make it easier for the consumers and just have us pass under giant vacuums that suck the money out of our pockets.

  11. Shrink_Ray_Bandit says:

    It stinks, but it doesn’t seem like the manager at Uno’s could do anything to stop it. It’s the credit processors error. The local manager is going to have no answers about the practices of the credit processor or any control over any aspect of that business. And it sounds like he’s heard about it already. As a manager, it can be frustrating to receive complaints about things outside of your control. Also, I believe that credit card fraud requires intent to be illegal, so inconvenient is actually more like it.

    Sucks though, good luck getting everything straighten out.

  12. Edge231 says:

    From the OP’s statements “Today while checking my bank account statement online” and “I couldn’t put gas in my car or buy food for my kids that night.”

    She use a check card?

  13. BillyShears says:

    @ekthesy: If you pay the card off every month you don’t have to worry about the interest rates.

    And for reasons just like this story, I’ve *never* used a debit card. Ever. I don’t want the hassle of having to deal with real, actual money being temporarily lost.

  14. DrJimmy says:

    I’ll accept a debit card from my bank…as the last thing to go into my coffin before my Dirt Nap.

  15. laddibugg says:

    @Shrink_Ray_Bandit:

    Yeah, this sounds like a corporate issue. Local management has control over service, and that’s about it.

  16. @wgrune:

    Because the merchant must have access to the number to contest chargebacks.

  17. enm4r says:

    This does suck. And like has been mentioned above, there is likely little Uno’s can do about it. Not only can they do little, as the numbers were likely not in their possession or their systems, they can likely not reach out to the affected parties. So yeah, it sucks.

    Merchant processing errors happen all the time. This sounds like an incredibly stupid error if it went back to 2007, but an error none the less, and probably completely unintentional. Unos wasn’t trying to scam anyone here.

    I also want to get a couple thigns straight. OP says And why were they holding on to my credit card information months after I’d been there? so is it really a credit card or is it a debit card?

    Also, you can go to your bank to fill out paperwork but you couldn’t withdraw money to buy food for your kids? It is possible to be inconvenienced and not sound completely sensationalistic about the situation.

  18. coan_net says:

    It sounds like Uno knows about the problem — but it probable something way over the local staff & managers heads to do anything about.

    This story sounds like it needs a little time to get things worked out – that is an error happened (sounds like a big one to many people), and sometimes those errors can’t be fixed in 10 minutes.

    Since you know it is not fraud (but an error), I would get your card unfrozzen so you can use it again.

    I would guess that the business will do what is right and reverse all the charges. And hopefully they will do what is right and pay any fee’s of overlimit’s for people…. and hopefully they will go above just fixing it and offer free meals to people who were affected as a way of saying sorry.

    Again, sounds like this story needs a few more days to get things rolling to correct it.

  19. bria says:

    I had to use a debit card for a long time when I was under 18 and couldn’t get a credit card. I don’t like carrying around wads of cash. Now I use both pretty evenly.

  20. SkokieGuy says:

    I am baffled by what ‘computer glitch’ regardless of at Uno’s or the card processor could make new charges!

    Are the charges the same amount as a previous charge? Different? All on the same day? I just can’t imagine how a computer could access date in files and generate a transaction without human input and commands.

    Perhaps we are to easy to accept computer errors as inevitable and unavoidable. I think there is malicious intent behind this one and human interaction.

  21. Tmoney02 says:

    Does any find it a least slightly amusing that the OP keeps bringing up how she is a single mother with three kids in job training who “couldn’t put gas in my car or buy food for my kids that night” but also vacations in Martha’s Vineyard?

    Is there a cheap area of Martha’s Vineyard that I don’t know about? Isn’t the ferry to the island like $20 oneway itself?

  22. kinksville says:

    I work in the credit card industry and I know EXACTLY how this sort of thing can happen, because I’ve seen it before.

    Basically the restaurant POS has to store either a credit card # (encrypted) or a token for the credit card # (while the processor that provided the authorization stores the encrypted #). If you don’t store the number you can’t charge the card.

    What happens is that perhaps there’s something wrong with their credit card settlement process. A month, two months go by and their settlements don’t go through. Suddenly they notice that they’re not getting paid.

    Someone fixes whatever it was and now all of those go through at once. If for some reason when the charges go through they don’t get marked as processed on the Point of sale system, then it will just send them through again…and again…and again.

    Or, sometimes the problem is upstream of the restaurant. I’ve seen instances where a credit card processor handling HUNDREDS of restaurants will recharge an entire days worth of processing, which impacts thousands and thousands of customers.

    What can you do about it? Don’t use your debit card. Use a credit card and pay it off every month.

    If it makes you feel any better, chances are that UNO’s had nothing to do with what happened and no control over fixing it. And they’re also getting hit with tons and tons of phone calls from all of their customers during the affected period. Its the sort of thing that can really hurt a business.

    Because like you…none of the customers who were double(triple? Quadruple?) charged are likely to come back.

  23. Shadowmagus says:

    This is why I like paying cash for just about everything. It’s hard to get charged the wrong amount, and it’s really hard for them to tack on extra charges to the 20 or 50 I just gave them.

  24. backbroken says:

    99.999% of all “computer glitches” are not computer glitches. They are either user errors or someone trying to cover their ass for a mistake they made by blaming the evil computers.

  25. FatLynn says:

    I’ve also had smaller businesses sit on charges and put them through months later. I still owe them the money, and I guess it is their problem if they want to let the money earn interest in my account instead of theirs, but I would get pretty irritated if that happened in the debit world.

    Credit is the way to go.

  26. Edge231 says:

    Yeah…the lady is sensationalizing and over-reacting a bit.

    The processing company made mistake. Mistakes happen. If processing company violated VISA/MasterCard rules by keeping numbers longer than they need to, they will be fined.

  27. SkokieGuy says:

    @kinksville: Thank you and scary!

  28. SHUDUPAHYOFACE says:

    This is terrible! I am a bank of America customer, and last summer I canceled my card b/c a fraudulent charge went through my account. But i canceled it with a customer rep at a bank branch, and they immediately issues me a temporary ATM card to use to withdraw funds. I don’t see why the bank manager could not provide you with this option…

  29. Roxie says:

    @B: Actually, I think Lauren would want to sue the company that handles Uno’s debit/credit card transactions instead. Uno’s didn’t ask their debit/credit card transaction processing company to re-process their transactions from months/years ago. And once transactions are processed successfully and are authorized, I don’t think there’s much that Uno’s could’ve done on their end. If there are glitches in the network or servers or whatever else that the debit/credit card transaction processing company uses, then it’s up to them to fix the problems. It’s not up to Uno’s or other merchants that work with this company.

  30. bria says:

    @Tmoney02:

    Sounds like she was working/training there:

    “I hung up, mostly because I had to get back to the training I was in and didn’t have time to sit on the phone getting no answers.”

  31. dweebster says:

    Debit cards are so ridiculous, and this is yet ANOTHER example illustrating why I never use them and send them back to the bank in exchange for a basic ATM card ONLY. Banks WILL provide you with a NON-Debit ATM card – but you need to request it, sometimes several times.

    Unless you’ve totally blown your credit and can’t get a credit card, or you are too young to qualify or you can’t get your folks to make you an additional cardholder – there is absolutely no reason to consider carrying a Debit card. None.

  32. Tmoney02 says:

    @bria: No she noticed and did the calling after coming home from Martha’s Vinyard. And I highly doubt there is any job training programs on the island unless she is in the ferry boat business or something.

  33. bostonguy says:

    I recently opened a checking account at Bank of America (I know! But I’m moving long distance, and it helps to have a bank that exists at both ends right now!), and the first thing I did, before I even began transitioning from my old checking account, was to have them reissue my cards as non-debit ATM cards. No worry!

    (Luckily, I had the sense to open the new account a couple of months before I knew I would need to use, it, so I could move from the old account easily. Getting the non-debit cards issued and in-hand took a couple of weeks. Plus I had time to get my new checks, etc to me.)

    All purchases (aside from those impossible to make on a CC) are done on a credit card that my wife & I use exclusively for all out of pocket expenses, and they get sent a payment every week. This allows me to get good rewards back on the account as well. Not bad for just spending my money! Then there are a couple of unused cards that we keep unused in the event of a huge emergency.

  34. Tmoney02 says:

    @dweebster: You can always request both. At least my credit union allows you to have both an ATM card and a debit card.

  35. Werrick says:

    She had no food for her kids? At all? Like… absolutely nothing she could feed them for even just one day?

    That sounds weird…

    Anyway, forget that, she’s right, there should have been a whole lot more apologies and assurances that effort would be made. All I saw from those guys was shoulder-shrugging. Not cool.

  36. valthun says:

    I had been through a situation like this at a place I worked at. This was maybe 2 or 3 years ago. Basically what happened was that the card processor double and triple charged some cards. I think Wal-Mart was affected as well. the charges showed as the transaction it originated as. the issue isn’t with UNO, its with the processing company. While UNO is aware of it there really is very little they can do, except get the processing company to refund everything. However it takes the companies accountants to figure out which charges were legit before they can refund them.

    I know that we apologized profusely, explained what happened and also explained that we are doing everything to resolve it.

  37. intellivised says:

    Something very similar to this actually happened to me, also. The credit union I’m a member of were very forthcoming – and in fact I even got a little tech talk out of them (my credit union is actually sort of awesome).

    Long story short – there was a hiccup on the end of the credit processor. I’d be willing to bet a software fix or update did something funny when it went live. All sorts of old transactions had come back from the dead and processed (again) for reals. Including a pretty major one for a set of fancy pants summer tires for my car.

    I check my balances the same time everyday/esp. before major shopping trips and caught it. Called my Credit Union right away. CU told me “Hey, we are working on it, something went really wrong. Your funds will be back soon. (then I asked a few deeper questions and got the jist of what was going on).” By EOB it was fixed and fees were erased, etc.

    All my transactions were from November during this… So I wonder if a major processor messed up and this happened to a lot of people.

    Shame on UNO though. What happened to phone etiquette and being kind to people on the phone that are really upset – especially if there is a problem?

  38. bria says:

    @Tmoney02:
    Well, okay, so she’s got money. But if all your money is on ONE CARD and that card is frozen, then she has no money. It sucks, and it may be poor planning on her part, but it does suck.

  39. msbask says:

    The only thing I’m unsure about is why the OP didn’t ask Uno for the name and number of their credit card processing company. If the error was really the processing company, then they are the ones that should be bombarded with phone calls (and attorney letters).

    @coan_net: I understand where you’re coming from with regards to some errors that can’t be fixed in 10 minutes, but if this were me and I couldn’t get access to my cash, you had better believe I’d want it fixed in less than 10. The processing company stole her money. Stole.

    Computer error. Employee error. Swiped it from her pocket. It doesn’t matter. They stole it. Apparently they even know they stole it. Now give it back. Now.

    Why do we allow stupid “computer error” excuses?

  40. JeffMc says:

    I once had something along these lines happen to me except it was handled infinitely better. I’d made a ~$300 purchase at a local TV repair place on a Saturday. Monday morning before 10am someone from the shop called me to tell me their credit card processor had messed up and doubled all of the transactions from Saturday. He apologized profusely and told me the charge would be reversed by the end of the day which it was.

    Sure Uno probably had more customers than this little shop, but you’d think someone would think to call and warn people that they had $200 less than they expected.

  41. TVGenius says:

    I’m more worried about her friends, if they don’t notice several hundred in false charges, how poorly do they monitor their spending and their debt?

  42. floraposte says:

    My credit union won’t issue a non-debit ATM card. They’re otherwise pretty decent and other institutions around here aren’t, so I just cross my fingers and use it only as an ATM card. I would hope it’s unlikely for a retailer or processor to have the information for it if it’s only been used in my financial institution’s machines.

  43. dcaslin says:

    @Tmoney02: Perhaps there’s an explanation, but I agree with you. If you want to play up the poor, single mother card, just leave out the “Martha’s Vineyard” part. Otherwise just accept that anyone, single mother or not, doesn’t like having their money stolen/frozen.

  44. Tmoney02 says:

    @TVGenius: It would seem the OP and friends are well off for the most part so they probably aren’t too concerned about a couple hundred bucks and its most likely camouflaged by lots of other charges. Most people don’t go line by line through their statements like the OP so plus one one her side for doing that.

    @bria: And -1 for her not having an emergency credit card or accessible cash. $30-40 bucks in the cookie jar or purse would have solved the whole not “feeding being able to feed her kids” and put gas in the tank. Or asking a friend for 40 bucks for a day while telling them about the charges. I don’t want to blame the OP and it does suck that she froze her card and couldn’t do anything else. (maybe next time she will get some food and gas then call to freeze?) But I roll my eyes at her dramatic attempts at sympathy by bringing up her being a single mother with three kids and no food all the while talking about coming home from Martha’s Vineyard and calling up friends she hangs out with regularly (and not asking for a couple bucks for the night).

  45. bria says:

    @Tmoney02:
    Yeah, I agree with you. Most OP’s are unnecessarily overdramatic.

  46. AlexPDL says:

    Uhm. Where’s the issue here? An error occurred and an error is being fixed. Big deal. I once had $2,500 accidentally charged to my credit card by Qantas. That was due to a “computer” error. I was pissed, but they fixed it. So I got over it.

  47. bria says:

    @AlexPDL:
    The issue is that, because of poor planning or who knows what, she’s without any access to money because of a mistake.

  48. Average_Joe says:

    On top of that canceling the old card doesn’t guarantee they can’t still charge your account. Banks can still let charges go though on old expired numbers.

  49. treesyjo says:

    I don’t have a credit card, only a debit card, but I’ve been able to do a chargeback on it. If you use your debit card with a PIN, it comes through like an ATM transaction and it debited from your account that same day. If I use it without the PIN, it processes like a credit card transaction and doesn’t debit from my checking account until a couple days later. But both should be able to process chargebacks… but maybe I can do it on my debit card because I use a credit union. Any fraudulent debit on my checking account would be credited. Banks suck.

  50. billbobbins says:

    These incidents are becoming more and more prevalent and they need to be treated as what they really are: theft. You see the stories of people who walked out of Walmart and absentmindedly forgot to pay for that 12 pack of soda in the bottom of their cart, and they are prosecuted by Walmart.

    Well this is the same thing – this person was deprived of his money/property. This was all due to negligence: negligence in keeping the person’s billing info LONG after it was needed. Then negligence in taking the person’s money. And finally negligence in not notifying the banks or cardholders. Only when it starts costing the companies money will they actually spend the money to hire qualified financial personnel to handle data and billing correctly. Until then – prosecute, rather than just allowing them the “oops” excuse. They would quickly press charges upon me or file with a credit agency if I made an “oops”.

  51. satoru says:

    All the more reason, never use your debit card for anything.

    In this situation if you have to freeze and cut up your credit card, it’s not a big deal, aside from re-doing any auto-payment accounts. A pain, but I’ve done it once and it really only takes a day, and you have new cards literally within 2 days.

    I suppose people like to use debit cards, since it helps them to keep on top of their charges. But considering these kinds of pitfalls that are difficult to correct with debit cards, I feel that the benefits aren’t worth it, unless you really can’t keep track of your expenses.

  52. christoj879 says:

    Even a $500 credit card is a much better safety net than a debit card.

    In the last 6 months I think my debit card has been used twice when I forgot to take my credit card/money clip with me but had my wallet. I keep it separate for safety, don’t want to put all your eggs (or in this case cards) in one basket/wallet.

  53. NotATool says:

    @AlexPDL: The issue here is that it’s a debit card, not credit. REAL money was stolen from this person’s account.

    The “oops” excuse is horrible. Would this fly — have your friend walk into a bank and grab $200 from a teller’s drawer. Then tell the banker, “sorry, due to a computer glitch, my processor has accidentally taken a withdrawal from your drawer. I’ll make sure the money is returned as quickly as possible, but I have to have my accounting department analyze it first to ensure that it was in fact unauthorized.”

    No, that’s stealing. Won’t fly. Would result in jail time.

    What the merchant bank did to the OP is also stealing. I don’t understand why the bank thinks that people should just put up with it and be patient. The charges should be reversed immediately, along with a sincere apology from the bank. And, the person responsible should be jailed.

  54. This story shows one of the drawbacks of using your debit card: it’s your actual money.

    Amen.

    Always put a buffer between your money and everyone else. The Credit Card company is much more likely to pursue THEIR stolen cash than a Bank is to pursue YOUR stolen money.

    This is one reason I disagree with all the “have no credit cards” debt haters. I pay mine off every month in full, get free rewards, AND get the benefit of added security for my money.

  55. spanky says:

    I was a single mother, and I took my son to Martha’s Vineyard for a week when he was little.

    Being a single parent doesn’t automatically mean that you’re poverty stricken, and she never claimed she was. You guys just made that part up in a fit of sloppy stereotyping skepticism.

    The implication as I read it was that, as a single parent, life is already a bit of a pain in the ass by default, and this company’s negligence was more than an inconvenience to her.

  56. Bix says:

    @Tmoney02:

    Friend’s house, QED.

  57. WestonNarbie says:

    I live in this area, there was a huge story on the news about it. The
    reporter never came out and said it, but strongly inferred that a
    manager was double and triple swiping cards, and pocketing the
    remainder.

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  58. Sodypop says:

    OK, everyone here is against debit cards for reason such as this. How do you approach someone that is/was doing the Dave Ramsey program and thinks that CC are evil?

  59. Tmoney02 says:

    @Sodypop: Well my take is to each their own and what work for some doesn’t work for others.

    But credit cards are only evil if 1) You carry a balance and/or 2) Unable to control your spending because of them. Both these things are preventable with discipline and being able to follow these two rules allows you to use the valuable tools that credit cards offer. Plus what happens when an emergency arises and the account is low? I can’t imagine not having at least an emergency credit card locked in a drawer just in case.

  60. RvLeshrac says:

    @Werrick:

    I demand that Americans immediately put a halt to any unscrupulous activities by the US government.

    What’s that you say? You can’t do it? Sorry for the “inconvenience”? That’s just a bunch of shoulder-shrugging. You put the government in power, you should be able to control every aspect of what they do.

    ——-

    Exaggeration aside, see how that sounds? You can’t blame someone for things that they have no control over. Blaming Uno’s for another company’s mistake is like blaming Apple for a bug in Quicken. Sure, they may have a working relationship (Uno’s processes payments through the bank, Quicken runs on OSX), but that doesn’t mean that either of them can fix the others’ mistakes, nor does it mean they have any ethical or legal responsibility to do so.

  61. KW802 says:

    @Tmoney02: Glad to see I’m not the only one who thought of that while reading this.

    @spanky: Re-read the whole thing and you’ll see that it was the OP, not the people who are responding, that said “Nor did he care that I couldn’t put gas in my car or buy food for my kids that night.”

  62. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @Corporate-Shill: IF the Merchant Bank did the error (I am betting on them), then UNO’s is not profiting from the error.

    And yes, Merchant Banks make errors. LOTS of them.

    And I’m wagering that Uno’s is PCI Compliant which forbids them from storing anything other than the last 4 digits + exp + name. They COULDN’T charge the card again that much later.

    We had that happen at one place I worked, and all we could do was apologize and say the merchant services company was working on it. The sucky thing was that it went through with our company name, but it’s not like we saw a dime of it.

  63. spanky says:

    @KW802: No, dearie, you reread the whole thing. Her account was frozen so she couldn’t access her money.

  64. SeanOHara says:

    @JeffMc: How do you expect Unos to have phone numbers for every customer who paid by credit/debit card going back to November 2007, let alone the time to contact them all?

  65. KW802 says:

    @spanky: Yes, the account was frozen at her discretion after calling the bank. Perhaps if she spent less time on Martha’s Vineyard and cut back on those “often” visits with friends for food & drink then the $200 could’ve just been floated on her card until it was worked out. Dearie. And if she doesn’t carry cash, by her own admission, and had her own card frozen, then she should’ve made arrangements accordingly. Apparently she also doesn’t stock her refrigerator with any food for her starving kids.

  66. @JeffMc: Dude, exactly HOW do you think UNO is supposed to call up their customers? Do you usually write your phone number on your CC receipt when you sign it? Unless their waitresses are *really* super cute, I doubt they have their customers’ phone numbers, email addresses, or even snail mail addresses on file.

    Think before you post.

    As for the main topic, I don’t see exactly what the guys at UNO are expected to have done for OP in this event. I actually thought it was kinda cool of them to be honest and direct. I can think of a lot of situations I’ve read about here where the strategy the business takes is to refuse to take phone calls, lie, and tell you it’s being taken “seriously.” At least they just straight up told you what went wrong and acknowledged that it really sucked. You CAN bet, however, that UNO was already working with the CC processor to get this fixed because they don’t like getting angry calls any more than you like making them. Like @kinksville said, this will really hurt them more than it did you. Think about it. You’ll get your money back. Even if no one in their employ did anything wrong, many of these affected customers will blame them for the error and *never* come back.

    The CC processor is where the hate should be directed. (IMHO, IANAL) they should be slapped with a suit by UNO on those grounds. Not cool. The customers can hit them too, with a class action if they feel like it.

    @Tmoney02: Lol, me too.

  67. KW802 says:

    @spanky: … and, yes, I did read that she got home the day before from vacation. Still no excuse for piling on the ‘pity routine’ to her story. In the off-chance she really didn’t have anything in the refrigerator, does she not have any other credit cards to buy her kids dinner with? What about an old fashioned check? They still work also you know.

  68. spanky says:

    @KW802:

    Yes, she probably should have gotten some cash out before she froze her account. It isn’t actually clear when she was able to access her account, but so what? And she does very clearly explain that she didn’t have food at home because she was just coming back from her vacation.

    And all of your uninformed critiques and speculation aside: This is a very clear case of a company being extremely negligent and causing this woman serious problems. Why are you so dead set on finding a way to blame her?

  69. LoveNoelG says:

    @KW802: Do you feel good posting such extreme judgements based on limited information? Why so negative and hateful towards the woman in this story?

    I’m not asking for you to regurgiate the details as you see them, but for a little introspection on why you are so worked up over this.

  70. Edge231 says:

    I didn’t read anyone here blaming her. What I, like others have done, is criticized her for sensationalism, over-reacting and trying to get sympathy by saying she is single mother with kids who couldn’t even buy gas or milk. I mean come-on..who doesn’t carry cash with them or a credit card?

    Hundreds of other consumers were also affected and are being treated the same way. Why should she get special treatment?

    Yes, someone made a mistake her. But blaming the restaurant – is not the best approach. As others have also stated, the merchant processor is at fault.

  71. KW802 says:

    @spanky: Funny you should call somebody “uniformed” when it is you trying to claim that the people responding are assuming something when it was the OP herself, very clearly, who made the claims. Yes, the company screwed up, no doubt about that.

    @LoveNoelG: Hateful? Not in the least. The OP could’ve very easily have reported the issue without having to make it into a self-serving pity story.

    When arguing with a company, either the restaurant or the credit card processing company, people making complaints to them, especially when trying to resolve a problem, should stick to the straight facts and not try to make it into a personal issue.

  72. crackers says:

    @KW802: “Yes, the account was frozen at her discretion after calling the bank. Perhaps if she spent less time on Martha’s Vineyard and cut back on those “often” visits with friends for food & drink then the $200 could’ve just been floated on her card until it was worked out.

    I would freeze the account immediately to prevent further incorrect charges from accruing, wouldn’t you? It’s not a matter of not being able to “float” the $200. And perhaps she was staying with friends or family on Martha’s Vineyard? Nice work, Judgy McJudgerton!

  73. KW802 says:

    @CCS: Having had the same thing happen to me before with one of my bank debit cards, no, I did not have the card frozen and had it resolved by calling the business in question.

  74. treesyjo says:

    The OP isn’t out all her money, she just froze her debit card. She can still go to a teller and manually withdraw cash. Too bad her bank doesn’t have instant issue on their debit cards. She could have frozen the one used and received a new one the same day. But I agree that the OP really seems to be trying to play the “single mother sympathy card”. And if her bank told her the steps to take to recover her cash, what is the deal? Sh!t happens and she is going to get her money back. Personally, I think freezing her card was a bit extreme, especially since she still had her card on her person. I would have called my bank/credit union and simply filed a dispute.

  75. Tmoney02 says:

    @CCS: I would freeze the account immediately to prevent further incorrect charges from accruing, wouldn’t you?

    Not if I knew I had no food and no gas and three kids needing to eat with no other means to provide. In that situation would you freeze your card immediately or would you get some cash out of an ATM immediately, then freeze?

  76. lol_wut says:

    Why is everyone so down on Debit Cards?

    If you are an educated consumer with full knowledge of your rights [and responsibilities] of being a card holder, either option should be just fine.

    Disclaimers:

    Yes, I have poor credit.
    I have had erroneous charges appear on my account statement, and funds were quickly returned.
    I have also had the displeasure of seeing an erroneous charge STAY on my account.

    Without knowing the all of the OP’s details, I can only assume that she spent her wad on the vacation and did not want to dip into savings to cover an error by Uno or their Merchant Bank. Sure, she could have withdrawn money but someone that goes down to Martha’s Vineyard strikes me as the type that would argue the principal of the matter in the end.

    She could also be between pay periods and blew her wad on the vacation, and only had $300 – $400 left in her checking/savings account. Sad, yes. But, it could have happened and being out that $200 in cash really screwed her.

    Rather than attack someone because they come across as overly dramatic, not being credit worthy, or lacking common sense – just stick to the heart of the matter. The OP had $200 in charges appear on her checking accounting, depleting her balance to an unlivable amount. She may or may not have had the funds to last until payday, and because this was “real” money she couldn’t just say “chargeback” and away those items would go.

    There is a problem here – the seriousness of which may have been downplayed because of the praise CC’s have been given once again – and I think the tone of the responses have once again shifted away from a problem to pesky finger pointing and mindless banter and commentary about an on the spot assessment of someone over maybe a page of type.

  77. FLConsumer says:

    I still want to know how/why her acct # was retained. That’s what I find most troubling about this story.

    Definitely another reason why you shouldn’t use a debit card, or at the very least, have the debit card attached ONLY to a “spending” account, separate from your monthly expenses (mortgage, etc.)

  78. ephdel says:

    having worked in customer service before, i kinda feel bad for the way she portrayed the people at the franchise location. keep in mind that blaming the people at the location for a larger credit card error its just a waste of energy. having worked at Kohls, i was personally blamed for things i had nothing to do with, and being with customer service i had very few answers about things like data retention. the fact of the matter is that most employees just don’t get told why, they just get told how to respond.

  79. krztov says:

    its not just the OP alot of people at that location this happened tho, while mine only happened to be for like 80$, it was refunded without me even calling, about 2 days after the charge.

  80. jrobie says:

    I have no problem using a debit card, and refuse to get a credit card because of the scheming, cheating, and quasi-fraudulent business practices of credit card companies. The industry is never going to get better as long as people keep going back to them no matter what it pulls to screw the consumer.

    If effective regulation were put into place to limit the unethical behaviour of credit card companies, I’d consider getting one. Until then, I’m keeping out of their clutches.

  81. temporaryerror says:

    @Tmoney02: If you are in a car, it’s more like $70 one way, although to be fair, I don’t have much money and I still vacation on the Vineyard simply b/c I have friends that live/work on the island, so it doesn’t cost me much to spend a week out there. That is kind of funny though.

  82. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @KW802: Because her account was frozen for the fraud investigation. Not because of the couple of hundred taken out.

    Reading comprehension — it’s your buddy.

  83. KW802 says:

    @HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak: Well, “buddy”, where exactly does it say that was the reason for the card being frozen? “As usual, they were very helpful and froze my card.” Perhaps your browser is caching a different version of the page? Either way, you can call your bank to dispute a charge on your debit card without having the card frozen.

  84. KW802 says:

    @KW802: … or at least at some banks.

  85. Tmoney02 says:

    @HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak: Yep I would say its time for you to eat humble pie.

    I called my bank immediately. As usual, they were very helpful and froze my card.

    I read it like @KW802: as does several other people who already have commented. Her card worked until she called them and told them of the erroneous charges.

    Reading comprehension — it’s your buddy.

  86. AlexPDL says:

    @NotATool:

    No offense but its not “theft” under the … well legal definition of the term. No one will convict or even press criminal charges on the management of the Pizzeria Uno franchise. Even debit cards have limiting protections.

    @bria:It sounded to me like she still had access to her money.

    The bottom line is this, HOW is the mistake being rectified, I want to know: (1) if there are any overdraft charges, (2) if Unos will pay back the OD charges, (3) if she indeed lost access to her remaining funds, (4) if her Bank temporarily prevented overdraft charges based on teh disputed amount.

  87. BrendaNerq says:

    1. The merchant must keep the FULL credit card number on file for at least 120 days (for VISA), in the event the issuer (your bank) orders a copy of the signed receipt.

    2. The bank should refund all associated OD fees due to a disputed item.

    3. The Debit/Check card MUST be closed if you DID NOT participate in a transaction.

    4. If the card is not present (and swiped) the merchant is REQUIRED to have an imprint of the card, or the issuer (again, you bank) can chargeback the transaction.

  88. SunnyLea says:

    @billbobbins: “You see the stories of people who walked out of Walmart and absentmindedly forgot to pay for that 12 pack of soda in the bottom of their cart, and they are prosecuted by Walmart.”

    Er… You mean like this guy? Who actually stole the sodas?

  89. It cracks me up how there seem to be only two camps, the “The only person handing me a credit card is my pallbearer” people, and the “I will only take a debit card from my bank when their CEO shoves it down my larynx” crowd.

    Where is the “I have a responsible balanced approach to my finances rather than making emotional snap judgments” crowd?

    Credit and debit cards both have their uses.

  90. npiaseck says:

    Of *course* the issuing bank holds onto your credit card account number long after the transaction has been processed.

    How else would they link a refund to the original transaction? How could they know that the time is within the void/refund eligibility period? How else would they relay chargeback information to a merchant? How could they build a database of your past purchases so that they can better detect fraud on your account?

    Generally, merchants do not store account numbers or CVN codes in order to comply with PCI, so from that I alone I find it unlikely that a company as large as UNO’s would be susceptible to such an error. But that’s not true for the processor or the issuing bank–maintaining an accurate and detailed history of your transactions is their job.

  91. MBZ321 says:

    I love how people in this topic are all for credit cards, then in the next topic, people will put ‘em down every way possible for causing people debt.

    But anyway, what is the big deal? If it was swiped through as credit (which is how it happens in just about any place that an employee needs to swipe your card), let Visa or Mastercard deal with it.

  92. bwcbwc says:

    @Shrink_Ray_Bandit: You’re assuming that the manager is telling the truth. It could just as easily be an employee who was taking extra swipes of the credit and debit cards into a reader. Although the scale of this, and the fact that all the charges go back to the restaurant make this unlikely.

    CC vs debit vs cash: For small purchases (under $10 or $15), I’ll pay cash, just to avoid bankrupting the merchants with CC fees. For larger purchases, I usually go with CC. The only time I use a debit card is places like Costco which only take American Express.

  93. bwcbwc says:

    @SkokieGuy: There has to have been some human error involved here as well. Loading the wrong backup set into the system, repeating the same error. A system that works normally for several years definitely had some new factor introduced by the programmers and operators.

  94. enine says:

    I had similar happen after purchasing something online from a store using yahoo’s system. Later I received charges for porn sites, shoes, etc. The store I purchased from uses yahoo’s store software which does the credit card processing and yahoo refused to give the police any information. I got it all refunded but the $200 shoes because the place selling them scammed the bank by claiming they mailed me the refund already and stretched the process out past the date when I could recover the $ (1 year IIRC).

  95. ihateauditions says:

    Mountain. Molehill.

    Mountain. Molehill.

    Repeat until you can tell the difference.

  96. bvita says:

    @Snakeophelia:

    How would you expect Uno’s to contact the customer? If she was an eat-in customer they wouldn’t have a name or phone number (I’ll bet you’re one of the folks who gets upset when asked for an ID).

    Merchants are forbidden by their agreements with the CC companies from storing CC info in their systems in a non-encrypted form. That is to say that I can store your CC number in my POS system but it can’t be in a place where I could go back and recopy the number for later reuse. It must be encrypted.

    I would guess one of three things happened”

    1. The server pirated the number on the way to register when the original sale was made (likely)

    2. The store’s POS system belched and rebatched all of the sales for a particular time frame (in which case the auths would have been invalid).

    3. Maybe they’re telling the truth and their card processor’s system belched and reprocessed sales from a particular date. If this were the case, however, I would have expected the problem to extend beyond UNOs.

  97. shades_of_blue says:

    Am I alone is thinking that this manager is a total duchebag? After she explained to him, that she could not afford to feed her children because of their clerical error he made no attempt offer her family a free meal? Takes a real scrooge to have that kind of brass, store saves around $23 and looses 1 customer for life. Sounds like a great trade off. I hope she does file lawsuit, the jury will eat up every last slice of injustice.

  98. Tmoney02 says:

    @shades_of_blue: because of their clerical error he made

    He didn’t make any error. In fact Uno didn’t make any error. The credit card processor they work with made the error.

    And yes lets clog up the courts some more when there are already methods of dealing with these errors such as charge backs and just, you know, calling the processor and/or your bank.

    Oh and small claims court doesn’t have juries. Or do you really think this is worth a million dollar settlement?

  99. mythago says:

    The OP didn’t say she was “vacationing” at Martha’s Vineyard, Tmoney02. But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of blame-the-OP. What fun would that be?

    Any reason Uno’s couldn’t have publicized the error, and provided contact information (say the CC processing company) for people go get their money back? I can’t think of any. Clearly Uno’s knew about the problem, but didn’t bother to tell anyone unless they specifically called and asked, and then was useless at directing callers to the actually responsible entity.

  100. Tmoney02 says:

    @mythago: From the OP I was on Martha’s Vineyard. I was there for most of the week preceding these transactions

    What exactly would you be doing on martha’s vinyard other than vacation? Lets read farther down into the story maybe she will say…

    My car is low on gas and since we just arrived home from vacation yesterday, there is nothing to eat in the house.

    Oh…..well thanks for playing. You can join @HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak: in eating your humble pie. Remember reading comprehension is your friend!

  101. Tmoney02 says:

    @Tmoney02: Or at least that was what @HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak: told me.

  102. MrEleganza says:

    @Tmoney02: “Or do you really think this is worth a million dollar settlement?”

    Well, considering that one person in these comments already suggested that people from the processor should go to prison regardless if it was an accident and people get their money back, I’d say yes, according to some.

    Some people think they are The Sun, and when they are temporarily inconvenienced the people responsible should PAY with a) their freedom b)logistically impossible rewards and tangible condolences that far outweigh the inconvenience.

    Everyone here has been through worse than this. It’s a part of life. The original poster should be diligent in getting back her money but there is no reason for her to be this emotional about it and it’s even more ridiculous that some people here are so emotional on her behalf.

    Of course she isn’t to blame for this, but to have no emergency money, no access to emergency money, and apparently not even a single night’s worth of food in the fridge and cupboards – I mean, what if she gets her purse snatch or her kid drops her card down a sewer grate? The cause was not her fault. The effect was at least partially her fault.

  103. MrEleganza says:

    Well, considering that one person in these comments already suggested that people from the processor should go to prison regardless if it was an accident and people get their money back, I’d say yes, according to some.

    Some people think they are The Sun, and when they are temporarily inconvenienced the people responsible should PAY with a) their freedom b)logistically impossible rewards and tangible condolences that far outweigh the inconvenience.

    Everyone here has been through worse than this. It’s a part of life. The original poster should be diligent in getting back her money but there is no reason for her to be this emotional about it and it’s even more ridiculous that some people here are so emotional on her behalf.

    Of course she isn’t to blame for this, but to have no emergency money, no access to emergency money, and apparently not even a single night’s worth of food in the fridge and cupboards – I mean, what if she gets her purse snatch or her kid drops her card down a sewer grate? The cause was not her fault. The effect was at least partially her fault.

  104. Tmoney02 says:

    @MrEleganza: I agree with everything you wrote. Well written.

  105. Alereon says:

    In my experience working for payment processors, even if they catch the mistake and refund the payment, it’s going to take 5-7 business days to appear back on your account. It sucks, but once the bank/credit card company has the money back you still need to wait for them to increment your available balance. This kind of error is actually very common, and while unfortunate, is something you need to accept and plan for.

  106. SamikshaNangified says:

    Maybe Uno’s should change banks, because this happened to me in 2000.
    And the manager and staff in that restaurant (Pennsylvania) cared about
    the same amount as these guys did.

    Is there a slight chance that they don’t correct this ongoing problem
    because there are a certain number of customers who a) don’t notice the
    charge or b) give up trying to fix it?