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Publicly humiliated by supermarket.


redcogs
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First post here.

 

In our small local supermarket my partner got to the checkout and tried to pay with debit card as usual. The card machine rejected the card twice, so manager intervened and telephoned to get authorisation of payment. This was denied. The conversation which ensued involved my partner explaining that our account had more than sufficient funds, and there must be a mistake. The manager stated the problem was "at your end". This all took place in the presence of an extending queue comprised of locals/neighbours/acquaintances. The supermarket serves a small relatively isolated community of about 5000 people. Having to leave the supermarket without the shopping (£60 worth) was a humiliating experience, which will inevitably damage my wife's reputation in the town. Our daughter was also present, and she was embarrassed and upset by the incident.

 

The nearest 'hole in the wall' cash dispenser was 5 minutes away. Wife went straight there and was able to withdraw £100 immediately. The account held over £500. A call to the bank verified that there were no problems with card or account, and, importantly, no one had asked them to verify if the account was in a sufficiently good state to enable a release of £60..

 

Advice please on how to proceed. I am outraged, my wife is distressed. I feel we are damaged by this unjust series of events.

 

Is compensatipn a realistic possibility? Should I go to the courts?

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Please note:

 

  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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Thankyou for the alert regarding the cyber activities associated with the Wiki incident. Our card is Visa, so one possible explanation for this mess may relate to that, but I doubt it. The supermarket manager revealed that several other people had their cards rejected on the same day, until the necessary telephone call was able to achieve full payment authorisation. Our was the only card that was blocked despite telephone intervention.

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No chance with compensation and courts. What loss have you suffered?

 

Your card did not go through it is no big deal, it will all be forgotten about in a few days and no one will care.

If I have been helpful please click on my star and add a comment.

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That is easy to say Guido, but it ignores the intrinsic nature of our local community, which is deeply conservative, gossipy and narrow. it is also lovely and a sense of 'community' cohesion is evident, but vicious condemnatory undercurrents are frequent.

 

If my wife felt humiliated and damaged, that needs to be accepted as a real and normal human reaction doesn't it?

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The humiliation is illusory. I've lost count of the times a valid card has been declined, there are so many factors involved in this it is a wonder it doesn;t happen more often. There are even instances that certain card numbers are blocked momentarily whilst the database is updated.

 

HOWEVER, the merchant called for authorisation, and the purchase refused. This means your bank will be fully aware of the reason of the request and denial - so someone is trying to hoodwink you. Provide your bank with the time and date of the manual call, and ask them to investigate.

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I don't really post much, but I do fail to see how the super market could have reacted in any other way.

By day, computer and mobile phone technical support... by night home mechanic and Rover / MG enthusiast!

 

Cars: 1998 Rover 620ti

Computers: HP nc8430 Business Notebook, Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB

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It has happened to my wife as well.

 

She said that her card didn't work but then when she tried again at another store it worked and has worked ever since. The most likely explanation is that she inadvertently mistyped her PIN number but failed to notice that this was the cause of the rejection.

 

Whatever the story was I doubt that a supermarket would deliberately rig a machine to reject a card, for no apparent reason, just to waste the time on refusing to serve a customer. If they'd rather not serve a customer there is nothing to force them to do so anyway.

 

:sad:

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You get a different message when the PIN is wrong to when authorisation fails.

 

You usually get 3 times to enter your PIN on the same transaction attempt, whereas if auth fails it'll cancel the payment altogether and the only way is to retry.

By day, computer and mobile phone technical support... by night home mechanic and Rover / MG enthusiast!

 

Cars: 1998 Rover 620ti

Computers: HP nc8430 Business Notebook, Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB

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Correct. A message will state 'PIN OK' when the the first level of authentication is passed. This does not give a 'Card/Transaction Declined' result.

 

Either way, this is what needs to be explained:

 

A call to the bank verified that there were no problems with card or account, and, importantly, no one had asked them to verify if the account was in a sufficiently good state to enable a release of £60..

 

When I forgot my PIN the bank subsequently seemed to be unaware of three attempts to use an incorrect PIN, so I am guessing that the record of that is kept on the card itself, not at the bank, because the need for the record is immediate.

 

When the supermarket called to request an authorisation, the request would then be refused because the account in question is not identified, so it all makes sense.

 

You get a different message when the PIN is wrong to when authorisation fails.

 

You usually get 3 times to enter your PIN on the same transaction attempt, whereas if with fails it'll cancel the payment altogether and the only way is to retry.

 

... the effect of which is to reject the card, except that without a PIN there is no payment to cancel. An amount to be paid would be recorded with regard to an identified card, not an unidentified account.

 

The whole idea of a PIN number is that nothing happens without it.

 

8)

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Incorrect PIN attempts are not logged on the card (in the conventional sense), it takes 3 incorrect attempts until the car is blocked by its own software. It makes no use of the terminal's data channel to the processing centre.

 

As state in my Message #7 - the call to the bank will have been logged, and the reason for the rejection known. It is this that should be pursued.

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Incorrect PIN attempts are not logged on the card (in the conventional sense), it takes 3 incorrect attempts until the car is blocked by its own software. It makes no use of the terminal's data channel to the processing centre.

 

As state in my Message #7 - the call to the bank will have been logged, and the reason for the rejection known. It is this that should be pursued.

 

Really?

 

My three failed attempts were made at different times and at two different locations, two separate terminals. How then would that be the case with no use of the terminal's data channel to the processing centre?

 

It struck me as odd that during the two weeks that passed before I went to the bank, there was no attempt from the bank to inform me that the three failed attempts were made, in case of an inadvertently lost card. None of that makes any sense to me except that the failed attempts are logged on the card, not at the bank.

 

Most likely the calls from a supermarket to the bank were logged so if an enquiry were made with regard to a particular time that a call was made a record of that may come to light, but I am not so surprised if nothing was found with regard to a particular account that had not been identified.

 

8-)

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Because the CARD retained a 'flag' showing an incorrect PIN entry. Since the same card is used in the next attempt, it knows of the failure. The reason why I say it is not 'logged' is because it makes no reference to Date/Time or location. If/When the correct PIN is entered, the flag count is reset to 0. Absolutely to requirement to use the data channel to find out.

 

What I've not been able to ascertain, is whether there is actually 6 attempts available - 3 on the mag stripe and another 3 on the Chip. As these technologies are not linked (on the card) this possibility exists. Incidentally, UK Bank ATMS use the Mag Stripe, NOT the Chip - however as these all log the PIN attempts as live, they are not the same as retailer/merchant terminals.

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Buzby I. don't know why you bother answering preplexing posts! If living in a small community the best course of action is go and have a pint and mention to the bar person that cards are being rejected because of attacks by Wikileaks supporters. It will not take long for that to get around the community! Daughter can also mention it to a friend who likes to gossip as a backup. Probably work better than Radio 2! :-)

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It is unlikely that wife failed to remember her pin number. She is always able to recall with incredible detail every aspect of the occasion that I withdrew £100 from a hole in the wall but failed to wait long enough for the money to be dispensed..

 

I have written to said supermarket demanding a comprehensive explanation.

 

According to Mrs redcogs the manager who rang for authorisation read out to the 'Streamline' operative what sounded like a bar code - so it is unclear to me whether this was her card number, or some other mysterious series of numbers associated with the transaction.

 

I'm a bit dissappointed at the reaction of several contributors here. A clear injustice has occurred. The reaction of the involved manager was unhelpful and non apologetic. At no stage did he suggest that the shopping trolley was put aside for later payment, and his clear assumption was that "the problem is at your end", not the more acceptable 'I'm ever so sorry, there appears to be a problem with the technology, which is no ones fault, but as soon as this mess is sorted your shopping will be available to you, and your custom is valued to us'. Had these alternative words been used the humiliation (which was not illusory as someone suggested) aspect would have been obviated.

 

Is this a forum comprised of supermarket managers and banking system apologists by any chance? Perhaps i have made a mistake in assuming that a 'consumer action group' consists of people who recognise the unequal power relations between powerful supermarket interests and the wronged little consumer?

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No - the forum is comprised of folk who have considerable experience of what happens in the 'real world' and how IT systems operate. As to this mysterious number read out by the manager, this is the branches Merchant number that identifies them to the card processor. What you also fail to realise, is your ire is directed at the wrong outfit. What do you want the store to do? Apologise because your wifes card was rejected, and give you the goods anyway with a whispered suggestion you call your bank?

 

As stated earlier, your bank will haave a record of the streamline query - so it is to them you need to challenge. The store may apologise simply for the fact you were upset, nut not for the fact your card was declined. I never put my faith in a single card, as I'm fully aware of what can happen if you do. This wasn't a rejection based on a declined transaction and rejected, they went to the expense of contacting the card processor - good for them!

 

But if the rejection stands after this, then you complain to YOUR bank, and nowhere else.

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No - the forum is comprised of folk who have considerable experience of what happens in the 'real world' and how IT systems operate. As to this mysterious number read out by the manager, this is the branches Merchant number that identifies them to the card processor. What you also fail to realise, is your ire is directed at the wrong outfit. What do you want the store to do? Apologise because your wifes card was rejected, and give you the goods anyway with a whispered suggestion you call your bank?

 

As stated earlier, your bank will haave a record of the streamline query - so it is to them you need to challenge. The store may apologise simply for the fact you were upset, nut not for the fact your card was declined. I never put my faith in a single card, as I'm fully aware of what can happen if you do. This wasn't a rejection based on a declined transaction and rejected, they went to the expense of contacting the card processor - good for them!

 

But if the rejection stands after this, then you complain to YOUR bank, and nowhere else.

 

This was a 'real world' situation. It is unfortunate IMO that some here accept as reasonable the humiliation factor which can be involved between supermarket managers (who represent powerful interests) and consumers who have unwittingly stumbled into a technological glitch not of their own making. It is not reasonable, and as already stated above:

 

" A clear injustice has occurred. The reaction of the involved manager was unhelpful and non apologetic. At no stage did he suggest that the shopping trolley was put aside for later payment, and his clear assumption was that "the problem is at your end", not the more acceptable 'I'm ever so sorry, there appears to be a problem with the technology, which is no ones fault, but as soon as this mess is sorted your shopping will be available to you, and your custom is valued to us'. Had these alternative words been used the humiliation (which was not illusory as someone suggested) aspect would have been obviated".

 

Nor is it reasonable to expect every consumer to be bristling with a variety of credit and debit cards so that they have an instant alternative means of payment when technology fails. In the real world there are still plenty of people who live a hand to mouth existence and who flounder in the face of technological big science and high commerce.

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In my humble opinion it is irresponsible to walk around without a cash float of 60 pounds or so in case of emergencies and in the real world there are plenty of people with not so much as a bank account so they have to carry cash.

 

If you don't like the attitude of a manager, shop elsewhere.

 

Simple.

 

8)

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Any humiliation is in the mind of the complainant. For the rest, they might have a snigger and the potential of embarassment, but they all know it could just as easily happen to them. A bit of plastic is just that - it in no way guarantees access to your money. Only paying cash at the till does that. For those p[eople that live hand to mouth you refer to - those on benefits take hteir plastic cart to the PO, draw out the money then pay cash when required, so I'm unclear as to why you think they are disadvantaged.

 

The card processor is only acting on the deal/no deal flag from the cardholders bank. They have no interest in rejecting a sale simply to inconvenience or embarass - after all, they get paid for passing the money to the merchant. To repeat, it is your bank - or a systrems failire they will be able to identify - that made the card temporarily invalid to Streamline. Blaming the merchant or Streamline is pointless - your bank is the culprit, so pursue them, as any satisfaction or assurance needs to come from them.

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