South Dakota KFC Double Bills Everyone Who Used A Debit Card There Since April

We didn’t even know this was possible, but apparently it is: A KFC/Long John Silver’s in Watertown, South Dakota has rebilled every debit card transaction since April.

From KSFY:

“I talked to my bank today and she said when she called she was one of a couple hundred people that have already called,” said Tori Feil. Tori was one of the lucky ones, if you can call her that, she used her card to pay here at the KFC twice since April and got re-billed again today totalling about $20.00.

Tori says, “I feel bad for the people, there are people who are regular customers there and all of the sudden they have $300-$400 charges coming through their account. A lot of people are are getting overdrawn and the banks don’t really know what to do about it.”

The owners of the KFC doesn’t really know what happened:

“To be honest with you we didn’t know what to do, I mean it hasn’t been fun coming in the office everyday that’s for sure, the phones have been ringing off the hook.”

Well, whoops. They say they are doing everything in their power to get the money returned.

KFC Accidentally Double Charges Customers [KSFY]
(Photo:Morton Fox)

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  1. wild homes loves you but chooses darkness! says:

    So it’s the double down, right?

  2. temporaryscars says:

    I can forgive Long John Silver’s, but not KFC.

    Way to go, KFC.

  3. GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks says:

    Dear lord. Whoever wrote the article linked to here should not be allowed to write. The errors almost gave me a headache. Why didn’t they contact the payment processor for this KFC, as I doubt the KFC’s POS system saves/can save all the transactions in internal memory?

    • Gracegottcha says:

      @GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks:

      Chuck Harmer wrote that lovely article. OMG, the errors!

    • iammoses says:

      @GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks:

      Yes the POS can save all transactions, usually there is a backend server that handles the database. On my POS it is possible the run the credit card batches again thru the backend server but it’s not easy to do.

      • GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks says:

        @iammoses: All the way back 6mo?

        • iammoses says:

          @Skaperen:

          How does your system take tips into account at a sit down restaurant where you paid after you’ve eaten? Usually at a full service restaurant the server does these things,
          1: gives you the bill. 2: you take out a credit card as payment. 3: server takes your card and runs it for the amount on the bill, then returns it to you. 4: you write in a tip amount, take your copy and leave restaurant. 5: server comes back and picks up restaurant copy, see’s tip amount, goes to POS, puts in that amount.
          Since the card is no longer available how would the tip get credited properly?

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      @GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks: We all know what POS really stands for…snicker.

  4. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    Wow.. I could see this being a huge disaster for some people.

    Is YUM Co going to pay all the fees and things from people’s checks bouncing? I can assume that the banks might be willing to wave their fees, but usually the company you write the check to has a fee as well. I wouldn’t imagine that ALL of these companies would be willing to wave fees because of something like this.

    Do I smell a class action suit in the future?

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @Kimaroo – Fortified with Kittydus Purrularis: I suggest that *IF* YUM (or some 3rd-party payment processor, whoever is actually responsible) refuses to pay the fees then each affected individual should pursue criminal fraud charges for each doubled charge… because it’s either a mistake for which the business is responsible or fraud they’ve committed intentionally. Let YUM choose which is less bad for them. ;)

      • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

        @GearheadGeek:

        /facepalm

        It’s not fraud. If someone does not accept financial responsibility for a mistake that is not an admission that the “mistake” was intentional. The proper recourse is to sue them in small claims court.

        Unless your desired outcome is to have a bunch of people laugh at you – in that case you should try to have them charged with fraud.

        • GearheadGeek says:

          @Cant_stop_the_rock: It is one, or the other. If it’s a mistake, they should correct it. My suggestion was more for the public shaming than the actual outcome, since even the outside chance of a fraud conviction wouldn’t likely result in payment of the fees incurred by the injured parties. I’d say the companies involved can ill afford the bad publicity, however.

          Obviously the highest probability is that it’s some sort of stupid mistake… a backup of just the charges (and not their settlements) was restored, perhaps, and the system proceeded to do what it’s designed to do and settle the charges.

          If YUM or the payment processor get moving quickly with documentation to the various financial institutions, most of the charges will probably be reversed at no charge to either party. If they don’t, shame them mercilessly.

    • Agent19488 says:

      @Kimaroo – Fortified with Kittydus Purrularis: I remember when DreamHost accidentally ran their billing program as if it were 2008-12-31 – on 2008-01-15. (see [blog.dreamhost.com] [blog.dreamhost.com]) Reminds me of that.

  5. KTK1990 says:

    I have herd that isnt too rare anymore to overcharge or double bill people using debit cards at fast food places. This is the 2nd story in a week about it.

    First from my mom talking about some chat she and a friend had to a manager at sonic, that the one near me overcharges people on debit cards and the manager they spoke to knows about it. Now KFC.

    This just proves that everyone should keep every receipt and check their bills before paying it to make sure each item is correct.

  6. GreatGerm says:

    It’s actually a new government program to discourage people from eating fast food. It is part of the new health care bill and this is just a trial.

  7. Homerjay is utterly alone. says:

    ” there are people who are regular customers there and all of the sudden they have $300-$400 charges coming through their account”

    If you’re one of those “regular customers” then I think you’ve got bigger problems than $300-$400 in accidental charges…

  8. vastrightwing says:

    We’re secretly going to double bill everyone’s debit card. Let’s see if anyone notices.

    Sounds like they’re copying gym membership’s billing departments, Comcast’s billing department and AT&T’s etc.

  9. Skaperen says:

    This just shows that the system we have now for credit and debit cards is fundamentally broken. The problem is the fact that mere information is all that is needed to charge an account, once, or more than once. Accounts can be charged on just the merchants say-so if they have the information. Substitute scammer for merchant for the full picture.

    We need a system where it is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to be charged more than the customer allows, and only as often as the customer allows.

    One way to do it (in a system I designed) involves a smart card with a display and keypad. The card gets an optical signal from the cash register and displays the amount requested. The customer enters the security authorization at the level they prefer (stupid people can choose to leave it insecure while smart people might use a long security code that changes daily … the important thing is you get to choose your security level preference if you use a bank smart enough to provide it). The card generates a transaction authorization based on the timestamp, merchant ID, account reference number, and amount. The transaction authorization code is then sent to the cash register over the same optical link (all this happens within a second or less). The cash register can then verify if the request is valid through merchant services connecting with the bank. Or the business can elect to trust the customer and not verify it.

    A transaction code has meaning only for one exact transaction, between two exact parties, for one exact amount, at one time. A 2nd transaction would need to be generated to do a 2nd charge, and the smart card holder will have required re-entering the code for a 2nd transaction (banks may choose to require this to avoid risks of customers getting multiple charges).

    I also have designed an internet equivalent for this which is slightly more complicated, replacing the card with bank access using a special device plugged into the computer (potentially the very same card with a USB port).

  10. savdavid says:

    “It hasn’t been fun coming into the office everyday.” Oh, the poor babies at KFC. I don’t give a damn about their workday. What are they going to do about this? There are people out there getting ripped off by YOUR mistake. Don’t tell me about YOUR problems.

  11. mwc5446 says:

    There are now laws preventing anyone handling credit card data from storing or transmitting data without meeting various standards. I’m sure the FTC is on it…. I doubt seriously the store resent the data. It has to be the processor. If it is them, how would they just process the data for one site ‘again’. I suspect there will be others….

  12. Paladin_11 says:

    I had a similar situation happen with an airport parking lot. I had no idea I had been double billed–for three months–until the parking lot called me to tell me that their POS card reader had been having issues for quite some time. They then went through each transaction while I was on the phone with them. Since I could look at my credit card and bank statements online we were able to find all instances of double billing, for which I was promptly credited and offered an apology. They assured me they had changed their card processing company (I wonder if this KFC uses the same one?) and that the problem would not reoccur.

    That’s how you handle a situation like this. I imagine the KFC is a bit higher volume and won’t be able to manage it quite that well. And yes, I still park with them.

  13. edrebber says:

    The real issue will be checks that were written and are now NSF because of the false billing. It’s against the law to write a check if there are insufficient funds to cover the check. Every customer who was falsely billed, should be paid an additional $30 for the inconvenience.

  14. staque says:

    I was personally affected by this error. However, I don’t see any Watertown KFC charges in my account history from April or later, until the two incorrect charges from last week. Might this include some transactions that weren’t processed correctly the first time, that were then accidentally reprocessed twice?

  15. GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks says:

    @TCama: So the broadcast journalist wrote/transcribed his story for the website?

  16. knightracer says:

    @sbcpunkrocker: KFC doesn’t accept credit cards. It’s the only option if you don’t have cash, but the kicker is that you have to pay the $1.5 atm fee.

  17. mbz32190 says:

    @sbcpunkrocker: Because some people don’t want to use credit cards (even if they could pay the full balance) or checks, or carry a pile a bunch of cash with them? I use my debit card all the time and have never had an issue…I usually run it through as credit though so I have some kind of protection from Visa.

  18. mythago says:

    @sbcpunkrocker: Damn, I thought I had bingo but I still need an “I blame the OP”.

  19. dantsea says:

    @sbcpunkrocker: Well, not everyone can afford to huddle in fear and revulsion at the back of their tinfoil-lined cave like you.

  20. Brain.wav says:

    @knightracer: What? Maybe yours doesn’t. The one near me will happily take credit.

  21. craptastico says:

    @knightracer: how much KFC must you be buying to make a 1.50 transaction fee worthwhile?

  22. temporaryscars says:
  23. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    @mbz32190: It’s still not the same protection you would get from a credit card.

    Get over your credit cards are evil and I’ll run up debt if I use one attitude. They put an important layer of protection between the merchants and YOUR money. If something gets screwed up your mortgage is still payed because the credit card absorbed the transaction and carries it until its straightened out. Clark Howard refers to these as “Piece of trash fake Visa or Mastercard” for a REASON!

  24. Tim says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks: Yes, the reporter or producer usually just takes the transcript they wrote for the air, takes out obvious things like pronunciations and puts it in the site.

  25. Hogan1 says:

    @Areyouagoodlittleconsumer:
    I’m looking for where I said they shouldn’t take any blame but alas I have yet to find it. In cases like these the franchisee or business has to rely on the processor to fix it as they have the data.

    From your response I can only assume that either you have incomplete or inaccurate knowledge of how it works or you’d simply rather bash people and make inaacurate statements then contribute meaningful and productive conversation. Based on your previous posts, I’d guess the latter.

  26. knightracer says:

    @craptastico: I don’t pay the fee because I carry enough cash, but I’ve seen others have to do it.

  27. Costner says:

    @bohemian: That goes without saying. Anyone who would make the business decision to mix a KFC with a LJ’s is clearly mentally troubled, and I don’t even want to think about the flavors emminating from their deep fat fryers.

    The KFC / A&W Combo in Sioux Falls makes more sense… but sadly their management is equally as troubled. If they could only figure out what a degreaser is I wouldn’t feel like I am risking my life every time I walk (slide) across the floor.

  28. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Because they can, and you don’t get to tell everyone else what to do.

    @tbax929 is rooting for a Phillies repeat: It would be awesome if the forums could just auto-reply with this to everyone who asks a variant of, “Why does anyone do X?”

  29. Homerjay is utterly alone. says:

    @Areyouagoodlittleconsumer: Hit a little close to home, tubby?