Toys R Us Double Charges Black Friday Shoppers

Reader Ken emails to let us know that Toys R Us is experiencing a double billing issue stemming from some sort of glitch on Black Friday. He says a friend just told him she was double charged, and that when she contacted Toys R Us, they told her it was a national problem.

Ken says:

She went to Toys-R-Us for the early deals and was double charged for one item. When she contacted Toy-R-Us she was told this was a national problem, something to do with opening earlier than usual. People should probably check their receipts if they went shopping that day. I hope this information helps someone.

We found an article from a news station in Albany, NY confirming the double-billing issue in at least one store.

From WTEN:

NEWS10 has confirmed the store on Wolf Road in Albany charged some customers double for what they bought, though a spokesperson would not say how many.

NEWS10′s Marie Luby spoke to one of those customers, who says the mishap has turned into a major inconvenience.

“You think you got a great deal and then you find out the repercussions of it, when you go to the bank to deposit your money, and your bank says you don’t have as much money as you thought you did,” says Kathleen Cary. Cary had spent $127.59 at Toys ‘R’ Us, but her credit card was charged twice for the purchase. Turns out it happened to several more customers at the store.

“I knew I was on a tight budget,” Cary says. “That’s why I got up in the middle of the night and went shopping; with the economy you’ve got to try and save a penny.”

Now on top of the extra $127.59 gone from her account, she has $50 in overdrawn fees. “I can’t even go buy a loaf of bread right now, because they shut my account off.”

Toys R Us told the station that they are in the process of reversing the charges. Did this happen to you? Or is it a localized Albany, NY disturbance?

Some Black Friday Toys ‘R’ Us shoppers double charged [WTEN]

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  1. dragonfire81 says:

    I’ve often wondered, let’s say a double billing in this instance caused your account to go overdrawn and trigger fees. Could you go after Toys R Us for those fees and if so, how much of a pain in the butt would it be to get them back?

    • Julia789 says:

      The bank will refund the overdraft fees if records show the overdraft was not the person’s fault.

      • Krobar says:

        Not necessarily…if the merchant is at fault they are responsible for reimbursing the customer for the OD fees. Some banks (including the one I work for) will refund them on a case by case basis, but first resort is to advise the customer that if the merchant is admitting fault they are responsible for the fees as well.

        Now if you dispute the duplicate charge from Toys R Us and it comes back in your favor, yes the bank will remove the OD fees.

  2. FatLynn says:

    Can I be the first one to jump in and say this is one of the reasons to carry credit instead of debit?

    • thisistobehelpful says:

      Having a credit card doesn’t mean there can’t be an overcharge. If the double charging put you over the limit then you’d accrue fees and penalties for that too. It’s not even necessarily easier to get a chargeback. I’ve been double billed on my debit card and had no problem getting it reversed.

      • FatLynn says:

        If you go over-limit on a credit card due to a double-charge, you can get the fees reversed. On a debit, even if the fees from your bank are reversed, you could rack up returned check fees from third parties.

        • thisistobehelpful says:

          Yes but you can still get more overcharges. The credit card doesn’t necessarily instantly deny any purchases after the first overcharge. If someone is going from store to store with a lot of shopping on one day (as a lot of people do on black friday) they could easily rack up more than one overcharge fee before the balance adjusts to stop them. And of course there are loads that make you opt out as opposed to opt in going over your limit. And each transaction after that can incur a fee and then interest on blah blah blah. You get the point. It depends on your account, the bank, the circumstances etc.

          • azntg says:

            I think you’re conveniently neglecting the most important point regarding credit cards:

            IT’S NOT YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY THAT’S ON THE LINE WHEN YOU’RE “OVERCHARGED.”

            (That is, until you pay the bills.)

            Sure, you can get overcharges reversed and fees eventually reimbursed with debit cards, but that’s YOUR money on the line until they eventually get things together.

            If you have a lot of money and a small mishap won’t tie you up, great! Unfortunately, some people don’t have the luxury of having ample margins of cash.

            • thisistobehelpful says:

              “(That is, until you pay the bills.)”

              Exactly. It IS your hard earned money no matter which way you spin it. Eventually it comes out of your pocket one way or another. You defeated your own argument with that caveat. I don’t have ample margins of cash. I have one $500 limit credit card with a couple automatic bill payments on it and then my income. I’m careful to the point of being anal retentive because right now I’m on unemployment but even before that I meticulously kept my checkbook and watched every damn penny.

              Like I said, it depends on the circumstances. If I immediately go negative $500 in my bank account or go overlimit $500 it screws me up the same way. The CC usually expects the entire overlimit paid at once. So one way or another that $500 would have to magically appear to make it all better in a too short amount of time.

              • azntg says:

                Actually, I didn’t defeat my own argument with that caveat. You’re merely exposing yourself as being surprisingly shortsighted.

                Because with a credit card, when it’s time for you to pay the bills, you simply don’t pay the part of the bill you’re disputing!

                Upon dispute, virtually all card issuers do not require you to pay the portion in dispute and will waive any resultant fees. Some will even offer a provisional credit. If they don’t, it’s either one or the other: 1) You’re not disputing correctly – surprisingly many people do not follow the directions regarding disputes as written at the back of billing statements (which is not all that difficult from personal experience, even if you don’t have American Express or Discover) or 2) the card issuers are just itching for a lawsuit and possible regulatory actions – Fair Credit Billing Act applies in cases of disputes.

                But if you’d really like, you can be out the $500 immediately. I’d rather not.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      No, no you can not. Now let this be a lesson to you. It’s sometimes easier to apologize than to ask!

    • Sneeje says:

      I agree, but the excerpt above is confusing. It says “credit card’ in the second paragraph, but I don’t understand how a credit card can affect your bank balance.

    • wickedpixel says:

      cash ftw

  3. thisistobehelpful says:

    I wonder how much money Toys R Us stands to lose if they pay back all the bank fees as well as the overcharges. I also think it’d be kinda funny if they refused to pay back the resulting bank fees and got a class action suit.

  4. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    If this turns out to be a national problem and they pay the fees resulting from putting people’s accounts in the red it could take a serious bite out of their Black Friday sales.

  5. Cameraman says:

    Just checked. I got billed once. Totally worth it, too, to watch my two year old run after his Zhu Zhu pet while shrieking with laughter.

    What can I say, I couldn’t wait to give it to him. Besides, at this age I’m not sure if he could even understand what ‘holidays’ are or how they are different from every other day, other than the fact that Daddy is home instead of at work.

  6. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I have never had a bank (National Bank or Local Credit Union) refuse to credit overdraft fees caused by an over charge. They WILL make you wait until you get a reversal, and then they will consider the credit an accurate enough indicator of an accident and reverse the charge. I suppose that some could abuse this by returning products to get the credit transaction and that banks might not be as good as they once were.

    • FatLynn says:

      Right, but the problem is anything else that was supposed to clear during that time. For example, if a mortgage payment was supposed to auto-debit, and it was returned unpaid, she would then have a fee from her mortgage company. The mortgage company SHOULD reverse it, but it is a hassle to sort out.

  7. whosurdaddy says:

    hahahazhahahahahahahahahahhaha is why i dont shop on black friday, i dont have to deal with the retards that go out and shop and the stores for double charging me and not being able to help me.

    • ben says:

      Right, because every time one shops on Black Friday, they’re double charged, and double charging never happens on any other day.

  8. Blueskylaw says:

    How come all of these mistakes are always in favor of the company and never in favor of the consumer?
    You never read stories like, Toys R Us double credits someones card instead of charging them?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      There was a story of a gas station accidentally undercharging for gas. They were out $5000 before they caught it (people called their friends about it but didn’t tell any employees about the discrepancy between what they were charged and the actual price).

    • ColoradoShark says:

      The percentage of people who complain about double charging is much higher than the number of people who complain about double crediting.

    • jimv2000 says:

      You mean like that story the other week where BestBuy accidentally gave that guy an XBox 360 and let him keep it?

  9. Netstar says:

    She says she has to wake up early to go shopping so she can save a penny because she is on a tight budget and then spends $127.59 on toys. Cary needs to hop aboard the clueless train. All aboard!

    Netstar

    • floraposte says:

      I don’t see that as a contradiction. It doesn’t take a lot of toys to get to that amount, especially if you’ve got multiple kids to shop for, and it could well be the toy budget for the year. Being able to afford a toy purchase isn’t the same as not being on a tight budget.

    • aka_mich says:

      I thought this too, I’m broke as well so I sympathize with the OP since it wasn’t her fault that the double charging happened. Just doing the math though if double charging resulted in an overdraft that means the account in question had less than $255.18 in it (and even then that is assuming the only purchases made was the one from Toys R’ Us). If I’m in that position, and I have been from time to time, I’m not going to be spending over half of what I have in my checking account on something like toys.

      I mean I really do sympathize with them and the main focus should be on Toys R’ Us side of the story, I don’t want to make it out that they brought it on themselves. I guess I’m just worried that these black friday deals get people so worked up that all sense of fiscal responsibility goes out the window. I’m sure that this isn’t the only case where someone literally sacrificed the bread on their table for the latest gadget or toy for Christmas, which in my mind is the greater issue in all this.

    • ahleeeshah says:

      If you live with a low checking account balance most of the time, like I do, spending half of your balance on something isn’t really a big deal. I did all of my Christmas shopping at once this year, and my bank balance went down steadily from about $800 to $20. If you know you aren’t signed up for auto pay and if you know you don’t have any charges that haven’t gone through yet, living with a low balance isn’t doesn’t seem very irresponsible to me, especially if you know your paycheck is coming through in the next day or so.

  10. cybrczch says:

    Blueskylaw, I’m guessing because a lot of people wouldn’t go around trumpeting that a company didn’t charge for something they should have, for fear they can use it as evidence to collect later.

  11. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Is it wrong of me to secretly (and by secretly, I mean quietly in my cubicle instead of laughing maniacally) wish that a class action suit would be brought to Toys R’Us, and that it would have to pay all the overdraft and over-the-limit fees caused by this fiasco? I normally would have nothing against Toys R’Us, but they’re so overpriced, and their ads clog my mailbox, and I took a look at their post-Thanksgiving weekly ad, and it was so full of potential bait and switch situations that it was entirely not worth it to even consider buying anything from Toys R’Us, even if it was cheaper than Amazon.

    • joe80x86 says:

      I am not a big fan of ToyrRUs and many times on their deals you do have to be careful, atleast in my area they are the ONLY toy store! Unless you count the 2 isles of toys the Super Walmart or Target have, which I don’t. And before you ask no there are no independent toys stores here. So I would hate to see them go.

  12. Julia789 says:

    I believe the bank will refund the overdraft fees, if you can show it was genuinely not your fault. It should not be a problem getting the refund, especially when they see that Toys R Us refunds the duplicate charge it was indeed not the customer’s fault.

    In cases like these, I’ve found that walking into the bank and speaking with the manager is faster and more pleasant than calling customer service. The manager often has more discretion and leeway than the phone reps. When a CSR on the phone denied my overdraft refund (which was not my fault) I walked into the local branch, explained the situation to the manager, and she promptly refunded the fees, and apologized.

  13. C4 says:

    I am so wary to use my credit or debit card recently. I keep hearing these stories about being overcharged, double charged, having “donations” tacked on. I would rather go to the bank and withdraw some cash and then go spend it willy-nilly then deal with all the headaches that come with getting stuff like this reversed. I don’t trust retailers these days; there have been too many breaches in security for my taste. Cash Please!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Think about how many millions and billions of credit and debit card transactions are handled daily. The stories you hear right now are pretty much the exception, not the rule. Yes, a lot of Toys R’Us customers were double billed – but only the ones who paid with credit or debit, and only the ones who went on Black Friday.

      And these things happen. They shouldn’t, but they do. No need to be too concerned.

  14. meadandale says:

    Frankly, if you are living that close to the line that getting charged an extra $128 causes you to get overdrawn and your account shut off I question the wisdom in spending the $128 in the first place on crap you clearly can’t afford.

    Seems that some people haven’t learned any lessons during this recession.

    • Beef Supreme says:

      Way to generalize there, chief. Do your eyes go crossed looking down your nose at everyone?

    • meadandale says:

      Is it unreasonable to expect people to have even a rudimentary amount of financial acumen? Is it unreasonable to expect people not to live beyond their means?

      If you are worried about being able to buy a loaf of bread I hardly think you should be blowing over a hundred dollars on toys regardless of your ‘motives’.

      If this means I’m ‘looking down my nose’ at people who behave irresponsibly so be it. We’ve seen enough of this in the last year and a half that anyone who is paying attention should have gotten the message. Apparently some people need a big whack with the cluestick.

      Or maybe she should watch this video:

      http://www.videosift.com/video/SNL-Dont-Buy-Stuff-You-Cant-Afford

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        Is it unreasonable to expect people not to live beyond their means?

        The OP didn’t spend beyond their means. You cannot berate someone for overspending if they didn’t over spend.

    • BridgetPentheus says:

      I’m sorry I have to agree. I’m unemployed and my husband under employed but we worked our butts off to have significant savings, in these hard times. And never would a single purchase even if I was tripled billed would put us over the limit. Most cards you can set account alerts so if your purchase hits a certain amount they will call/text/email you, that stops you from going over for the rest of the day. And any child of a certain age will understand if you explain to them why they aren’t getting this or that for christmas will be better off later in life. When my Dad used to go on strike no one never needed to tell me anything, I knew money would be tight if there was no end in sight and not to ask for anything extra. Teach your kids now so they aren’t living paycheck to paycheck, it’s much more valuable than any toy you give them.

      • thisistobehelpful says:

        The point is this is the company’s fault not the consumer’s. Their system overcharged her. Regardless of what was in her bank account, absolutely no one expects to be charged twice for any purchase. Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be if we did? We’d literally have to have twice the money on hand for every purchase. Could you pull that off with savings? Double mortgage payment goes through? Double electricity? Double grocery. How bout triple mortgage? Or say a large appliance breaks and that accidently gets tripled? How bout a triple $3000 car repair? If you have that much in your savings account you are nowhere near as hard off as almost half the country. Congratulations.

        She spent within her means and the company took double what she agreed to. This is not her fault. Also that much money is like five barbie dolls or three video games. That isn’t lavish spending, she WAS working with her tight budget. And equating hard work with income doesn’t work. It’s worked out for you and your husband. Not everyone of course can avoid paycheck to paycheck living even with more than one job, especially now. All men are not created equal. If they were, we wouldn’t be so pissed off at CEOs of AGI getting obscene amounts of money for sitting on their butts because we’d all be qualified for that job and have one that paid similarly.

        • BridgetPentheus says:

          Actually yes I am prepared for any of those things. I live in one of the most expensive parts of the country and while Toys R Us shouldn’t have overcharged her she is also responsible for doing things like having account alerts, knowing the car insurance+toys=she can’t afford a loaf a bread get rid of something. You don’t have to own a car. I worked in very low paying jobs for years and my co-workers always made fun of me for having part of my paycheck go straight into savings for a house/emergency but I made sacrifices for it. You should have at LEAST 6 months of savings in your account, skipping the toys for a year may mean that you can then pay the medical bill if your kid breaks their leg, etc. My parents taught me to save, save, save and made me purchase major things from those savings and I am happy for that. If you live paycheck to paycheck their is no excuse to spend on non-essential items you should save that money. Let’s say I have 20 bucks in my account but my paycheck is due in two days so I think I’m fine and I have no credit card, what? my mother is in the hospital across the country, well I can’t access that money for 2 more days. Learn to be responsible. I feel no sympathy for people like you, you probably have a cell phone, cable, internet, a car loan, learn to live without. The only people I feel sorry for in debt are those thanks to this country that can’t afford their medical bills, we should bail out those people, not banks, mortgages etc. If one tiny piece falls and you won’t be able to afford your mortgage it’s your fault for taking it out. No one forced you, you should have done research, I did that all on my own as a single woman and made sure without ANY income I could pay my bills for over a year before signing the loan. Ignorance is no excuse! And no one teaching you is not an answer, learn on your own or learn from your own mistakes and teach your children to be better.

          • thisistobehelpful says:

            I have no car loan my car is 9 years old. I have a cell phone that is three years old and I pay by the minute. It doesn’t even have a camera on it or a color screen. It cost $20. I live in Technically I have 10 months of my bills in savings and 6 if I include prescriptions. I’m also drawing unemployment at the moment. I do not have cable, I obviously have internet.

          • thisistobehelpful says:

            Comment got cut off. I live in the NYC metro area but did not work in a place that had public transport and thus own a car. I do not nor have I ever owned a home I pay rent. I have medical bills that are not getting bailed out but that I am paying on my own and steep prescription costs every month that I am also not getting bailed out on. I spend around $20/week on nonessentials which is mostly made up of coffee.

            Point is: Shit happens. May you one day understand that and learn sympathy.

            • BridgetPentheus says:

              Shit happens? you should be prepared for that. 2 years ago I spent over a third of my GROSS income (in the NYC metro area around 10,000) on things that weren’t covered + cobra and guess what I still managed to save and be prepared for that kind of emergency. If I can do it (my husband and I are right now about the poverty line) than so can anyone. It’s when you through 5 bucks away for coffee you could make at home, or take a $2.25 subway 10 blocks when you could have walked you don’t know how to save or be thoughtful. After bailing out her overdraft fees and her mortgage than we should just bail out everything else she spends. Think ahead and those things won’t kill you. Just because you have a beer budget and champagne dreams doesnt mean we should pay for you to live those. How about helping out the responsible. Oh no we’ll just pay for all of your mistakes

              • Rectilinear Propagation says:

                If I can do it…than so can anyone.

                That’s right there in the top 10 statements that are always wrong.

                Oh no we’ll just pay for all of your mistakes

                It wasn’t her mistake! She didn’t double charge herself, FFS.

          • Rectilinear Propagation says:

            the car insurance+toys=she can’t afford a loaf a bread

            That sounds like some Verizon math. Since when is a loaf of bread cost more than $127?

            I believe the equation you’re looking for is: insurance + (toys * 2) + $50 in fees = can’t afford bread.

  15. LadyTL says:

    Actually meadandale, we don’t know by how much that extra overdrew her accound. It could have only overdrawn by ten dollars but that still would have charged her the fee. $100 dollars actually is a pretty good safety margin for those who live close to paycheck to paycheck.

    Also for those who say why should she be buying things if she is trying to save money. It because we do like to get things for our families and for ourselves. This doesn’t change because of the economy. Also, the way you phrase it, anyone who is buy online because it’s cheaper or using a coupon shouldn’t be spending any money either because they are trying to save money on a purchase they were going to make anyways. It’s not a crime to want to save some money when you are buying things and I’m sure you don’t go out and rush to buy the most expensive version of things you want either, so get off your high horse.

    • aka_mich says:

      Actually given the amounts I think we can say that the account in question had anywhere between $127.60 and $255.17 if you do the math. And yes, living paycheck to paycheck that should be enough. If you read the linked article though she goes on to say her car insurance was being automatically withdrawn this morning as well. Not sure how much her insurance is but doing the math given the max amount (I’m sure the actual amount is actually less) that would have been available in her account that would have left $127.58 to cover her insurance Monday morning and whatever else came up.

      Now I agree with you, a cushion of $100 living paycheck to paycheck is suitable when times are tough. I’m broke to and from time to time I end up in the same situation. However, if I was in that position I would not be spending $127 on any kind of Christmas presents, not too mention once you factor in her insurance payment her cushion was presumably below $100 when she decided to spend that money Friday morning.

      I really do sympathize with her, because I know the feeling and I don’t want to take anything away from what should be the focus of the story of being double billed but at the same time given her situation it might not have been the most financially responsible thing to do at the time. Honestly I think it is worth mentioning though because once you take away the double billing story I think the situation is a story unto itself since I’m sure situations like this are a common occurrence this time of the year and deserve to be talked about.

      • thisistobehelpful says:

        Eh, I have car insurance for $60/mo on a 9 year old vehicle. Taking her possible income into account she’s probably not driving a new car thus misses out on higher insurance.

  16. CTAUGUST says:

    Let me see if I get this right:

    _____________________________________________________________________
    “You think you got a great deal and then you find out the repercussions of it, when you go to the bank to deposit your money, and your bank says you don’t have as much money as you thought you did,” says Kathleen Cary. Cary had spent $127.59 at Toys ‘R’ Us, but her credit card was charged twice for the purchase. Turns out it happened to several more customers at the store.

    Now on top of the extra $127.59 gone from her account, she has $50 in overdrawn fees. “I can’t even go buy a loaf of bread right now, because they shut my account off.”
    ___________________________________________________________________

    1. The bank told her she did not have as much money as she thought she did. Um, ok.

    2. Her CREDIT CARD was charged twice for thsi $127.59 purchase.

    3. But she didn’t use a credit card, because her account is “overdrawn” and now has $50 in overdraft fees,

    BOTTOM LINE, if you can’t afford of loaf of bread and have so little money in your bank account, why are you buying $127.59 in TOYS?? Did good old NEWS10 ask that?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      She can’t buy the bread because she was charged twice. Didn’t you read the article? Did you even read the part you just quoted?

      Or do you honestly think that a loaf of bread costs over $127 dollars?

  17. ahleeeshah says:

    Whoops. “isn’t doesn’t” nice job, me.

  18. rm1x says:

    Bet they made a bit of money from the interest on the double billed cards.

  19. UncleAl says:

    I can confirm this is more than just local to NY — we’re in Alpharetta, GA and I filed a chargeback on my credit card yesterday after discovering the double billing. This probably has to do with the system not handling the midnight opening correctly; my wife went shopping for the last of our kids’ Christmas presents at midnight, and the two lines had transaction dates of 11/26 (Thanksgiving Day) and 11/27 (Black Friday).

    • CrissyT says:

      This scared me, as I was at the Kennesaw GA location. But I just checked, and I was only charged once. And to other posters questioning the amounts in the woman’s bank acct….I used an account I rarely use, transferred the money I budgeted myself so I couldn’t go over. Had I been double charged you better believe it would have gone negative. So many people are so quick to jump on others :( You dont know the whole story, please dont judge people.

  20. longcat says:

    It was just a bunch of Zhu Zhu toys that she was going to throw on ebay for a much larger sum anyway. Then, when she’s rolling in the dough, she can get all the bread she wants.

  21. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Is it against the comment code to suggest that someone launch a Denial of Service attack against this web site?