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Banking glitch hits pizza restaurant, customers
Manteca Police inundated with complaints, owners trying to fix problem
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A locally-owned pizza restaurant has come under fire from customers who say that their cards were charged for orders that were never placed – in some instances months after they ate at the establishment that has received a rash of complaints not just to food rating apps like Yelp, but the Manteca Police Department as well.
A series of public Facebook posts began circulating earlier this week alleging that customers who had eaten at the restaurant in the past were being charged – in some cases multiple times – for orders that they never made. When the complaints began consolidating and the dates in which the charges were made began to coincide, some on the popular social media app launched a campaign to investigate the restaurant, which is under new ownership, for fraud.
“Jack’s Pizza has been charging dozens or more of their customers for purchases made in the past year that they have already paid. Jack’s is claiming they never charged for the purchases, so without warning they are charging their loyal customers multiple times for past transactions,” a Yelp user named Taylor F. from Manteca wrote. “My MIL (mother-in-law) was a victim to this. She was charged 5 times totaling $115. She knows and can prove she has already paid for those purchases and now has to deal with her bank.”
But there appears to be a reasonable answer as to what happened, and why former customers were charged.
According to Manteca Police Department Public Information Officer Mike Aguilar, two officers – Patrol Officer Shawn Cavin and Community Service Officer Ryan Smith – visited the establishment on Wednesday morning and were able to conclude that the previous purchases that are in question were never fully paid, but rather posted to the account, which was never finalized. That error, Aguilar said, appears to be taking place on the banking end of the restaurant’s operation, and had led to quite an outpouring of upset customers who are alleging outright fraud.
“From what I understand, Officers Cavin and Smith uncovered themselves this morning that it was a financial glitch from either the bank or banks that has led to previous customers being charged – it appears to be an error or a series of errors and the restaurant is working to get that resolved.,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar said that the restaurant has encouraged anybody who has been involved in the mix-up to bring down their statements or the identification of them so that they can be cross-referenced within their existing system to determine whether the charges are actually valid, or they are part of the mass billing that took place without any advance warning.
Aguilar said that he encourages people to remain vigilant about their banking statements and electronic records to make sure that nothing appears that isn’t supposed to be there. He said that the restaurant has been helpful in trying to solve the problem for customers – but not all of whom are receptive to the idea that it’s a banking error.
During the time that Cavin and Smith were at the restaurant Wednesday morning, Aguilar said, multiple calls for service continued to come into the Manteca Police dispatch center, and complaints and reports have been filed through the city’s on-line system.
Jack’s Pizza Café Manager Hafina Nafir said that the only way the restaurant was able to catch the banking error before things got much, much worse had to do with getting its air conditioner serviced.
“We had our AC guy come out like he does every year and the next day he comes back and says that the check that we gave him wasn’t good, and when we started looking as how that was possible we noticed that the bank hadn’t been collecting the captures for as far back as two months ago.
“We figure that we lost between $10,000 and $12,000 because the money was pending but never captured and it never came to us. And if we wouldn’t have seen this we wouldn’t have had the money to pay rent or our food bill or anything else – the bank really screwed us here on this, and so far, they’ve put a freeze on most of that money and we’ve only seen a little bit of it.”
Nafir said that she spent a portion of Wednesday down at the bank trying to clear everything up, and noted that the restaurant had no way to contact all of its customers who had made purchases during the time period in question in such a short amount of time.
The restaurant remains open for business, and is committed to working with customers to understand what happened, and why their appeared to be multiple charges on their card, she said.