Today the management at Four Star Pizza and Glaze Bakery sent out a press release, informing their customers that some credit and debit card transactions at a few of their locations were not properly processed due to processing difficulties.
“We are more than willing to provide you with the in-depth technical details of the failure, but there is essentially a two-part process to card transactions,” the statement read. “ First, authorization and confirmation is received from your financial institution that there are sufficient funds to proceed with and process the transaction. Secondly, the funds are subsequently withdrawn from your account, for payment, which concludes the transaction.”
“Unfortunately, Between December 31, 2020 and February 7, 2021, the authorized funds for around 10,000 of our customers were never withdrawn from their accounts or paid for by their credit provider,” the statement continued.
During an interview with TNN’s Trevor Lindsay President and General Manager of Four Star and Glaze Marico Thomas explained that the processing issues experienced within that time frame were neither the cardholders’ nor the merchants’ faults; but rather lay somewhere in the transitional process.
“ [During a card transaction], there are customers with their card, the machine that the card is being swiped into, the software that powers those machines, the credit card processor, there is the bank, then finally there is the merchant,” Mr. Thomas said. “The issue we experienced was not with the bank, it happened before the banks . . . we did what we were supposed to do and our customers did what they were supposed to do, but somewhere along the line, all of our presumptions on how things are supposed to work, did not work.”
Despite these issues occurring months ago, Mr. Thomas indicated in his statement that customers’ cards have just recently begun to reprocess those transactions and if customers have not seen it on their statements yet, it will most likely occur by the end of this month.
“Some of these transactions have occurred [on customers’ accounts] before we could get an opportunity to put our statement out, and as a result, some people have questioned whether it was a fraud charge while others may have forgotten that the transaction even took place [on that date],” he said. “We want to avoid circumstances that might be inconvenient, like someone thinking that they need to get their card replaced because [they thought] it was exposed.”
Mr. Thomas understands and apologized for any inconvenience and confusion that this may have caused Four Star and Glaze customers.
“This is a massive inconvenience, it is massively annoying, very unexpected, the customers are going to be upset in the same way that we are, because [these issues] happened to us and the customers at the same time.”
“There is an established norm that when customers swipe their card, the money is going to go into the account,” he continued. “When we align those norms and the not-normal occurs, it is not a nice feeling; it’s inconvenient and surprising.”
Mr. Thomas thinks that one of the reasons that this issue occurred and persisted for so long was because, due to COVID-19, the businesses were short-staffed by about 30 percent.
“ We were struggling; we took all of our staff and had to face and focus on the customers while not doing administrative things [as much],” he said. “When we took our eye off of it, things happened.”
Mr. Thomas did not realize quite how much money was lost due to the processing issue until he received a call from the bank one day and was told that he did not have enough money to “do what [he was] doing.”
“ This is a horrible situation,” he said. “I feel speechless. I cannot be speechless; I must be very clear on what happened so that our customers can fully understand.”
Mr. Thomas would like to thank all of Four Star’s and Glaze’s customers for their continued patronage and understanding and apologizes once again for the massive inconvenience that this issue may have caused anyone.
“ We have been told [by the processing company] that this issue was not our fault, but we are in the face of it right now and we are going to take the brunt of it,” he said.
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