CINCINNATI — We've all been grocery shopping when something rang up wrong. Usually it's a few cents, sometimes a dollar — not $12,000 (you read that right: twelve thousand dollars).
Chase Dillingham loves Kroger's online grocery pickup (formerly ClickList), at least until earlier this week, when it bounced his checking account.
"We noticed that some of our bills were not being paid out of our checking account," Dillingham said. "So I checked and noticed that the charge for our pickup order was over $12,000."
Dillingham looked at the receipt and found he had purchased oranges for the price of a diamond ring at the Liberty Township, Ohio, Kroger store, 30 miles north of Cincinnati.
"We got a quantity of three oranges, so the receipt shows they were $4,000 and 99 cents each," Dillingham said. When the automated system added them up, "it all totaled over $12,000."
Grocery pickup and debit card meant no human cashier
Since it was all digital, Dillingham said, he never saw the total amount before he picked up his order, and the amount was then immediately charged to his debit card. Obviously, if someone is shopping in the store and an orange rings up at $4,000, they are not going to pay that, as any cashier would quickly void the charge.
Dillingham went back to the store, where he said a manager apologized and started the refund process.
WCPO 9 contacted Kroger's media relations department, where a spokeswoman told us they "found that this is an isolated systematic issue. Upon learning of the error, Kroger store leadership met with the customer .... to process the refund back to the account used to make the purchase. Kroger also made a donation to The Shepard’s Crook, a West Chester non-profit that the customer frequently volunteers with, as a courtesy for the troubles experienced with the order. We will continue to monitor to ensure this does not happen again." The full statement can be found below.
How to protect yourself
So what can you do to make sure an error like this never happens to you?
Dillingham said he will always look at his order carefully before using pickup. His advice to others?
"If you are getting a pickup order, make sure you get a digital receipt, because you don't get a paper receipt."
This is also one more reminder of the extra protection credit cards provide vs. a debit card.
With a credit card, you can dispute any wild or fraudulent charge before it affects your bank account.
With debit, it hits your account immediately, and a wrong charge can easily cause an overdraft.
Finally, Dillingham suggests you watch what you eat, showing he still has his sense of humor about the whole thing.
"Unfortunately, my daughter ate one," Dillingham said. "It was the most expensive orange in the history of the world."
FULL KROGER STATEMENT
"Upon review of the customer’s experience with pick up from the Liberty Township Kroger, we found that this is an isolated systematic issue where the customer was charged incorrectly for the oranges that were purchased on Oct. 6. Upon learning of the error, Kroger store leadership met with the customer and worked with the our Customer Care team to process the refund back to the account used to make the purchase. Kroger also offered and made a donation to The Shepard’s Crook, a West Chester non-profit that the customer frequently volunteers with, as a courtesy for the troubles experienced with the order. Kroger has actively researched the issue over the last few days and found that no other customers have been affected when purchasing produce products. We will continue to monitor to ensure this does not happen again." – Kroger Spokesperson
So watch those receipts carefully, and don't waste your money.