Network outage causes over 400,000 double-billed card transactions at Shell stations
February 15, 2011
By: Joe Taylor Jr.
A recent credit card processing error by a major gas retailer has consumers across the United States double-checking bank statements this month. According to a report on Consumers Union's blog, The Consumerist, Shell stations nationwide experienced an outage on the network they use to securely process credit card and debit card transactions. Under ordinary circumstances, each gas station's payment terminal would store information to be processed once network access has been restored. However, many of the sales rung up during the last week of January 2011 were processed twice.
Blogger Evan Schuman from StorefrontBacktalk uncovered a confidential memo from Shell's payment processing vendor, revealing that the retailer would reverse over 400,000 affected transactions. The event highlights some of the challenges consumers face when choosing debit cards instead of credit cards for suspended transactions, like gas pump payments and restaurant bills. Schuman reached a Shell company spokesperson who stated that the retailer would work directly with any customers affected by overdraft fees and other surcharges.