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Computer error causes bill failure for thousands of Four Star customers

Popular restaurant: up to 10,000 Four Star customers were affected by a credit card computer glitch (File photograph)

A takeout restaurant gave food away free to thousands of customers after a computer glitch caused bank card transactions to fail to register.

But customers at Four Star locations in Flatts, Somerset and Warwick, as well as the Glaze Bakery on Church Street, have now had the cash deducted from their accounts – up to five months after they made their purchases.

Marico Thomas, the president of Four Star and Glaze, said the error kicked in on December 31 last year and lasted until February 7.

No transactions from debit or credit cards from any financial institutions were processed over the period.

The problem was only spotted a few weeks ago when Four Star realised that receipts were down.

Mr Thomas contacted electronic payments firm Global Payments Bermuda and asked for an explanation.

Global told Mr Thomas this week that “certain transactions … were authorised but not completed due to a Monetra software error”.

The firm said: “For these transactions, funds were not debited from the customer accounts nor settled into your accounts.”

The company added that the problem had been fixed and that the payments were reprocessed on Monday.

Mr Thomas said yesterday the glitch was not detected immediately because the company was short-staffed and customer demand was high because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added: “We were focusing on customer care and not reconciliation.”

Mr Thomas said he believed thousands of customers were affected and that some had contacted him this week to ask why they had been billed.

He admitted: “If they came here five months ago and only get a transaction on their statement now, it’s understandable that they’re going to question it.”

Mr Thomas posted a message on social media site Facebook to highlight the error this week in an attempt to ease the “strain and aggravation”.

It read: “Exceptional customer service and engagement is the foundation of our business, and you are the most important part of our business.

“So when challenges arise that negatively impact you, it is important that we engage with you as soon as possible, to provide you with an explanation and ensure that we maintain your confidence in us as your food service provider of choice.

“Some of the transactions authorised at certain Four Star locations were not fully processed.

“We are more than willing to provide you with the in-depth technical details of the failure, but essentially, there is a two-part process to credit card transactions.

“Authorisation and confirmation is received from your financial institution that there are sufficient funds to proceed and process the transaction and the authorised funds are subsequently withdrawn from your account, for payment, which concludes the transaction.

“Unfortunately, between December 31, 2020 and February 7, 2021, the authorised funds for approximately 10,000 of our customers were never withdrawn from your accounts or paid for by your credit card provider.

“Enclosed with this correspondence is a copy of the letter from our card processing agency, which provides additional information and the actions that have, or will be, taken.

“Please note that reprocessing of cards has started and if you have not seen a transaction occurring on your account already it will likely occur the end of the month.

“We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience to you, and are keenly aware of how frustrating this may be.

The message added: ““We do expect that there may be a heavy volume of e-mails in respect of this, so we ask for your patience with us during this time.

“Please note that every e-mail is read and will be responded to.”

Anyone affected should e-mail info@fourstar.bm

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Published May 22, 2021 at 8:11 am (Updated May 24, 2021 at 7:30 am)

Computer error causes bill failure for thousands of Four Star customers

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