'Panic, frustration' as local Meijer customers find incorrect charges on EBT, debit cards

‘Panic, frustration’ as local Meijer customers find incorrect charges on EBT, debit cards

Patricia Wright said luckily, she had her checkbook on Saturday and used it to pay for the two people in front of her at Meijer while the machines were down.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Over the weekend, Meijer customers were in a panic as debit/credit, and EBT card readers were down for several hours. 

13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke to West Michiganders who experienced the issues first-hand and for some of them, they’re still paying the consequences days later. 

“You could see people all wondering what’s going on,” said Patricia Wright, who shops at the Meijer on 28th and Kalamazoo in Grand Rapids. “There was such a high stress level, and you could just see it in people’s eyes wondering what to do now.” 

Nicole Stewart, from Holland, said she was one of those people left wondering what to do. 

“When I walked in, there was nothing saying that the EBT reader was down,” she said, “so I got everything in the bags and loaded in my cart, and when I went to pay, my EBT card wouldn’t work.”

Eventually, a Meijer employee told Stewart that her EBT card wouldn’t go through, and that they were only taking cash or checks. 

“I thought, what am I supposed to do?” she said, “I need these groceries.”

But unfortunately, she had to leave the store empty-handed, only to find the next day, her EBT statement said it had been used.

“They charged me four times,” Stewart said, “for items that I never purchased and that were left there at the store in my cart.”

On Monday morning, Stewart said she called Michigan EBT’s customer service, and was told she had to go back to Meijer to tell them that her card had been charged.

“I was frustrated,” she said, “I shouldn’t have to go back to the store and have them fix this, it should already be fixed. This was their mistake, not mine.”

By Monday evening, Stewart said that Meijer told her it was going to be 5 to 7 days before anything is returned to her card.

Patricia Wright, from Grand Rapids, saw a similar situation Saturday when the two people in front of her in line couldn’t get their EBT cards to go through, so she decided to step in and help.  

“I saw a look of panic, like what now?” Wright said, “And these poor people couldn’t leave without their groceries.”

Wright said she didn’t have any cash. 

“So I went old-school and pulled out my check book,” she laughed.

After she paid for the people in front of her, Wright said it almost started a chain reaction down the rest of the line. 

“They were so kind and grateful,” Wright said, “and told me I was heaven-sent because they are really in a hard place right now and just didn’t have any other way to pay.”

“I mean who walks around with cash anymore, or even checks for that matter,” Wright said. “As a society, we really are so dependent on digital currency.”

In a statement to 13 ON YOUR SIDE Meijer said the following:

“During the weekend we had sporadic issues with credit/debit purchases at some of our stores, which caused delays in processing time and in some cases more than one charge for the same amount. Our understanding is numerous retailers were affected. In most cases the financial institutions will quickly cancel out the duplicate charges. If any customer has an issue they should alert their financial institution, which should be able to quickly take care of the problem.”

The Better Business Bureau of West Michigan also reminded customers to alert their bank or credit card company of any incorrect charges and to be patient when unfortunate situations like this happen. 

RELATED: Meijer customers say their credit cards were charged twice after it appeared to be declined

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