Banana price issue causes expensive Apple Pay mistake in UK

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 20
A woman was allegedly overcharged when she used Apple Pay to pay for shopping at a UK supermarket, with the store charging her account $2,221 over mis-priced bananas.




Cymbre Barnes of London used Apple Pay to pay for her shopping at a small Marks & Spencer branch. The value of the shopping was supposed to be 4 GBP, but an issue caused her to be charged a considerably higher amount.

The items being purchased included a bunch of bananas that were usually priced at 1 GBP ($1.39) but the point of sale terminal instead priced it at 1,599 GBP ($2,217). The discrepancy wasn't noticed until after the Apple Pay transaction took place, according to The Telegraph.

"I was in a rush before work so when I got to self-checkout I used contactless and it was instant," said Barnes. "I did a double-take when I saw the screen but by then my receipt was already being printed. It was too late."

At the time, store staff told the customer a refund wasn't possible as the only till in the store was broken. Barnes added she had to walk 45 minutes to another branch to get the refund.

"There has been huge innovation in contactless payment options, and we've had great feedback from customers," an M&S representative said. "This was an isolated payment error, for which we've apologized to the customer and offered compensation.

Unlike other card-based contactless payments, there is no limit to how much an Apple Pay transaction can be worth. If the transaction was conducted with a bank card, it would have failed to process.

The UK government has announced it will be raising the limit for card contactless payments from 45 GBP ($62) to 100 GBP ($139) later in 2021. However, critics have voiced concerns that the raised limit would make it easier for thieves to steal more from victims by using the more expensive contactless payments.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,269member
    Ouch! Pretty unacceptable that the store made the poor woman walk 45 minutes to another store to correct their mistake just because their equipment was broken.
    baconstanglolliverPetrolDaveJaiOh81chia
  • Reply 2 of 26
    longfanglongfang Posts: 254member
    MplsP said:
    Ouch! Pretty unacceptable that the store made the poor woman walk 45 minutes to another store to correct their mistake just because their equipment was broken.
    So what do you suggest they do? Send her home without the refund?
    caladanian
  • Reply 3 of 26
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,188member
    This isn’t really the full story as some stores still force the £limit on Apple Pay as well. 
    Obviously this will change with self-serve, but the £ cap is ridiculous and prevents contactless being useful for anything but minuscule shops. 
    caladanianentropys
  • Reply 4 of 26
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,755member
    MplsP said:
    Ouch! Pretty unacceptable that the store made the poor woman walk 45 minutes to another store to correct their mistake just because their equipment was broken.
    Presumably that's why compensation was offered.

    Don't think there's any wrongdoing here, just a mistake by customer made worse by an unfortunate circumstance in the store, but everything has been put right now.

    Maybe there should be a limit on Apple Pay though, or some additional security/confirmation required for higher value purchases.
    baconstangsuperkloton
  • Reply 5 of 26
    willettwillett Posts: 25member
    Isn’t the lesson here to remember to check at least the total before tap or swipe?  I use an Apple watch or iPhone tap several times a day (in US), and I can’t imagine not looking at the amount before tapping.  The “solution” to this is definitely NOT to put an upper limit on tap to pay transactions, as the UK apparently has done.
    caladanianrandominternetpersonlolliverPetrolDaveJaiOh81superklotonuraharatommikelestompybeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 6 of 26
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,201member
    Why is this even a story about Apple Pay? A pricing error occurred prior to Apple Pay carrying out the transaction as displayed. The customer completed the transaction without looking at the erroneous total. A refund was made, but complicated by hardware failures that have nothing to do with Apple Pay. This is a non-story.
    baconstangrandominternetpersonlolliverentropysPetrolDavethe1maximusuraharastompyapplguymike1
  • Reply 7 of 26
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,005member
    MplsP said:
    Ouch! Pretty unacceptable that the store made the poor woman walk 45 minutes to another store to correct their mistake just because their equipment was broken.
    Where does it say that the store "made" the woman walk?  All they did was tell her the equipment was broken, and pointed her to the nearest other store.  Who knows why she walked instead of driving, taking a bus, or whatever.  

    As usual, much ado about nothing. And it's unclear what the connection is between Apple and the error, which appears to have been the result of a problem with the terminal, rather than something on Apple's end. 
    edited March 20 the1maximuselijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 26
    XedXed Posts: 1,030member
    This is an issue with a digital transaction in the 21st century. The manager should've handled this over the phone without the customer having to walk anywhere.
    MplsPDAalsethentropysPetrolDaveuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 26
    AppleZulu said:
    Why is this even a story about Apple Pay? A pricing error occurred prior to Apple Pay carrying out the transaction as displayed. The customer completed the transaction without looking at the erroneous total. A refund was made, but complicated by hardware failures that have nothing to do with Apple Pay. This is a non-story.
    People like to ignore the obvious. 

    the1maximusmike1Rayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 26

    Xed said:
    This is an issue with a digital transaction in the 21st century. The manager should've handled this over the phone without the customer having to walk anywhere.
    Some stores don’t train their employees on how to do that. Usually a manager does have a merchant support phone number and could force a reversal IF corporate gave them that power. I doubt he had that power since it could be abused. 

    They should have paid for a ride share to take her to the next store and then to wherever she was headed after shopping along with a gift card and petty cash. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 26
    jrg_ukjrg_uk Posts: 52member
    willett said:
    The “solution” to this is definitely NOT to put an upper limit on tap to pay transactions, as the UK apparently has done.
    That isn’t what’s going on in the UK anyway. There’s a cap on pure contactless, ie transactions which just require a card to be tapped and no other authorisation. With just a card, beyond that limit requires chip & pin use. It’s an anti-fraud measure, which I think originated EU wide (in the UK it started at £30.)

    Apple Pay, and Google Pay, are not subject to that legal limit as they already have a secondary authorisation: fingerprint, face, etc to approve it (though some stores’ equipment have never been updated to support the distinction between contactless with card and Apple/Google pay.)

    To be honest, I’m not sure who is asking for the higher contactless limit. No-one using their phone/watch, for sure, and the Banks don’t seem to be asking for it either.
    elijahg
  • Reply 12 of 26
    jrg_uk said:
    willett said:
    The “solution” to this is definitely NOT to put an upper limit on tap to pay transactions, as the UK apparently has done.

    To be honest, I’m not sure who is asking for the higher contactless limit. No-one using their phone/watch, for sure, and the Banks don’t seem to be asking for it either.
    I was just going to clarify about contactless limits, glad I refreshed first! Well said.

    I think the new increase to £100 is due to COVID and people not wanting to touch hardware “infected” people may have done just before them. This was the reason for the increase to £45.
    However, a lot of people’s weekly shops are greater than £45 which means they have to enter their pin. The increase from £45 will ensure most people’s shops can be done contactless but still restricting the ability of very large transactions for fraud.

    Also if you make multiple purchases in quick succession, even within the limit, the fraud protections kick in and require pin entry.

    Lastly, fraud is getting less of a problem for VISA and MasterCard due to Apple Pay so they can afford to cover any costs for a potential increase in contactless fraud should that occur.
    elijahg
  • Reply 13 of 26
    XedXed Posts: 1,030member
    Xed said:
    This is an issue with a digital transaction in the 21st century. The manager should've handled this over the phone without the customer having to walk anywhere.
    Some stores don’t train their employees on how to do that. Usually a manager does have a merchant support phone number and could force a reversal IF corporate gave them that power. I doubt he had that power since it could be abused. 

    They should have paid for a ride share to take her to the next store and then to wherever she was headed after shopping along with a gift card and petty cash. 
    So that manager of a store is neither trained nor trusted enough with a phone number to call corporate to deal with routine managerial issues, but you think it makes sense to send a customer across town to another store to talk to a manager in another store to deal with the issue? Why wouldn't the first, untrusted manager call the second, trusted manager who can then call corporate to get this dealt without the customer having to drive travel across town at all? What if the next store was hundreds of miles away? Do you think it would be reasonable for the customer to get on a plane to fly to that city to go to talk to a manager in that store for a fucking chargeback over some goddamn mis-priced bananas? I hope the next time you people don't need to question the charge on a credit card they aren't going to hike it to Bangalore to ask about it in person.
    MplsPJaiOh81
  • Reply 14 of 26
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,269member
    flydog said:
    MplsP said:
    Ouch! Pretty unacceptable that the store made the poor woman walk 45 minutes to another store to correct their mistake just because their equipment was broken.
    Where does it say that the store "made" the woman walk?  All they did was tell her the equipment was broken, and pointed her to the nearest other store.  Who knows why she walked instead of driving, taking a bus, or whatever.  

    As usual, much ado about nothing. And it's unclear what the connection is between Apple and the error, which appears to have been the result of a problem with the terminal, rather than something on Apple's end. 
    "At the time, store staff told the customer a refund wasn't possible as the only till in the store was broken. Barnes added she had to walk 45 minutes to another branch to get the refund."

    It wouldn't be any more acceptable if they made her drive, take the bus or teleport. Like @Xed said, the store should have handled the issue right there. It was their mistake that caused the problem in the first place.

    crowley said:
    MplsP said:
    Ouch! Pretty unacceptable that the store made the poor woman walk 45 minutes to another store to correct their mistake just because their equipment was broken.
    Presumably that's why compensation was offered.

    Don't think there's any wrongdoing here, just a mistake by customer made worse by an unfortunate circumstance in the store, but everything has been put right now.

    Maybe there should be a limit on Apple Pay though, or some additional security/confirmation required for higher value purchases.
    oops - I missed the mention of composition. Hopefully it was more than some bananas!
    willett said:
    Isn’t the lesson here to remember to check at least the total before tap or swipe?  I use an Apple watch or iPhone tap several times a day (in US), and I can’t imagine not looking at the amount before tapping.  The “solution” to this is definitely NOT to put an upper limit on tap to pay transactions, as the UK apparently has done.
    Yes, but I'll readily admit that I've quickly scanned my watch without checking on small purchases in the past, especially when I'm in a hurry. It sounds like this woman noticed the price right as she was scanning her watch/phone and realized a split second too late.
    edited March 20 Xed
  • Reply 15 of 26
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,755member
    willett said:
    Isn’t the lesson here to remember to check at least the total before tap or swipe?  I use an Apple watch or iPhone tap several times a day (in US), and I can’t imagine not looking at the amount before tapping.  The “solution” to this is definitely NOT to put an upper limit on tap to pay transactions, as the UK apparently has done.
    The upper limit on tap to pay is on using your card, so of course it won’t be the solution to what happened. The limit doesn’t exist for Apple Pay, which should be obvious because this story is about something that happened in the UK.
    elijahg
  • Reply 16 of 26
    WgkruegerWgkrueger Posts: 329member
    AppleZulu said:
    Why is this even a story about Apple Pay? A pricing error occurred prior to Apple Pay carrying out the transaction as displayed. The customer completed the transaction without looking at the erroneous total. A refund was made, but complicated by hardware failures that have nothing to do with Apple Pay. This is a non-story.
    I wondered that too until I reread the article and saw that contactless payments with Apple Pay have no payment limits.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,341member
    This story is lame.   Computer billing mistakes happen all the time and have nothing to do with Apple Pay.  The broken machine and getting a refund at another store just adds to the “it has nothing to do with Apple” part.   

    Wevs.  It’s a good reason to hold off scanning your watch/phone/card/payment until you review the total so it’s still a good lesson for all.   
    the1maximus
  • Reply 18 of 26
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,116member
    Of course the story is lame. It’s bananas!
    JaiOh81the1maximus
  • Reply 19 of 26
    XedXed Posts: 1,030member
    entropys said:
    Of course the story is lame. It’s bananas!
    B-A-N-A-N-A-S-!
    the1maximus
  • Reply 20 of 26
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,047member
    willett said:
    Isn’t the lesson here to remember to check at least the total before tap or swipe?  I use an Apple watch or iPhone tap several times a day (in US), and I can’t imagine not looking at the amount before tapping. 
    So we can safely assume you've never swiped your card for a small purchase without verifying the amount?

    Wgkrueger said:
    ...contactless payments with Apple Pay have no payment limits.
    I'd like to see more detail in the explanation that AI offered. It's mentioned that it's because of the 2FA innate nature of Apple Pay. But is that because it's tied to an Apple account (G-S) or would the no limit not apply to an AP transaction tied to you bank card that's not the G-S Apple Card.

    I've never made a POS purchase over $200 and only that much at Costco. They don't take the Apple/G-S Master Card so I'l use my debit card or a Visa card with Apple Pay. I don't know what the POS limit is on any of my credit cards but it's $700 on my debit card. I have bought a lot of pricey kit online with AP with no problem, but that's only with my Apple Card.

    I did get a potential fraud alert and an email requesting for me to confirm it was me making the purchase, but that was because it was on one of my computers that I don't use for online purchases.
    the1maximus
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