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Credit card machine glitch hits retailers

A glitch in credit and debit card machines has crippled some retailers in the run-up to Christmas, The Royal Gazette can reveal.

Some point-of-sale card-swipe machines have closed down due to a time limit on their use — now HSBC is scrambling to find replacements for angry traders.

One retailer — whose machine went down last week — said he had lost thousands of dollars in sales since he was forced to tell customers they could not use their cards.

The man, who asked not to be named, added: “It's a pretty sad situation just before Christmas.

“I was told by someone at the bank that they found out after the fact the vendor programmed into the software an end date for the machine.

“Mine just shut down and it doesn't do anything — when I called them, they knew exactly what the problem was and that they had dealt with between 80 and 100 complaints about these machines.”

The city retailer added: “As far as I know, they're supposed to be flying in more machines.”

And he said: “They certainly didn't make any effort to call people about this — they could have got a list of customers and got staff to call them.

“It's a huge nuisance — my business is probably 60 per cent card sales and some businesses will be close to 100 per cent, especially at this time of the year.”

He added on the day his machine down, he was forced to put up a notice to say he could not accept cards.

The retailer said: “Some people got cash and came back, but I figure I lost a couple of thousand dollars in sales at least. People were coming up to the door, saw the notice and walked away.”

He added that bank staff had told him around 300 machines could be affected by the problem.

The retailer said: “He didn't even think there would be enough time to get around everybody before Christmas.

“The replacement machines have not even landed yet, although they said they had some replacement machines on hand.”

The man added that he had already contacted Butterfield Bank to open an account and have it install a new machine at his business.

He said: “If I'd known my machine was going to break down, I would have opened a Butterfield account before this and got a back-up machine before this.”

An HSBC spokeswoman said: ““Due to a previously undetected technology fault, a limited number of older Point of Sale (POS) models used by some of our business customers have been rendered inoperable.

“We apologise to all affected customers for the inconvenience this fault has caused.

She added: “We are in the process of contacting all customers using the POS models and are working hard to resolve the situation as soon as possible, providing replacement machines where required.”

Swipe problem: Some retailers' credit card machines have stopped working - at the busiest time of year

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Published December 16, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 15, 2014 at 8:36 pm)

Credit card machine glitch hits retailers

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