Woolworths Outrage at Cuscal and Visa

On Sunday 6th August 2017, Woolworths Group customers who used VISA cards to pay for items at its stores (online and in-store) were charged twice for transactions made between 11th and 13th March 2017.

Woolworths has confirmed a processing error by its financial services provider, Cuscal Limited, which is the payment processor for over 80 banks, credit unions, and card issuers resulted in some the major duplicate payment glitch.

Woolworths has issued a statement to explain the matter, which it says is wholly the error of Cuscal, saying it was not involved in the error and “completely unaware of it.”

“Highly regrettably, these charges appeared in our customers’ bank statements yesterday (Monday) as if they had been charged twice by Woolworths.  In fact, the charges occurred as a result of the processing error by Cuscal, a payments processor for financial institutions and card issuers. Woolworths was not involved in this error, and was completely unaware of it until we were contacted by our customers,” it said in the statement.

At this stage, Woolworths says it’s unsure which of its customers have been affected, because the relevant encrypted data is held only by the financial services companies, but the company says it is responding to those customers who contact it via our customer service centres and social media.

Over the last couple days, Woolworths has received an outpouring of customer complaints on its social media accounts from disgruntled shopper voicing their frustration and concern over issues of money taken out of their accounts twice.

“We have raised these concerns directly with CUSCAL and VISA, and propose to pursue the matter with the relevant financial services regulators… We want to know how this happened, and we are seeking firm commitments from the financial services providers responsible to ensure that this can never happen again,” said Banducci.

Yesterday Woolworths said it had confirmation from Cuscal that the incorrect transactions will be rectified and refunds will be paid into affected customers’ accounts by 2pm.

Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci, expressed outrage towards Cuscal and Visa on behalf of its customers, shedding light on concerns about the financial system.

“We are outraged on behalf of our customers that this has happened and it raises a series of important questions about the effectiveness of certain processes in the financial system.”

This latest issue comes just weeks after the supermarket giant apologised over another major glitch that left thousands of online shoppers around Australia without food and groceries for two days because their online orders were suddenly cancelled without notice.

Last month Woolworths blamed a major delivery system outage for the bungle that saw its customers’ online orders suddenly cancelled without notice, but marketing analysts have advised that errors like that that undermine consumer confidence will damage its brand, when Woolies can least afford it.

The second issue is trust, which will cut deep into Woolworths credibility with customers, according to retail consultant, Andy Powell. “Online retailing is about many things but a  key thing is trust. A perceived failure to insulate customers from financial loss, albeit through the error of another party, will cut deep into Woollies credibility with customers. The timing is also unfortunate, coming on the back of so much recent media about cyber attacks, hacking and threats to data in general.”

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