HOUSTON - If you do most of the shopping for your family, you know racking up points with your loyalty card at local grocery stores can save you a lot of money. But consumer expert Amy Davis found that store employees may be stealing your points and all that savings.
When you shop at Kroger, you can earn 10 cents off a gallon of gas for every dollar you spend, up to a dollar off a gallon.
It seems like too good of a deal not to participate, and apparently at least one Kroger employee thought so too ... only she wasn't racking up points from her own purchases. She was just taking other shoppers points.
Noel Freeman said he always checks his receipt before leaving the store. A few days into the new year, he scanned his receipt after a big shop.
"The first thing that caught my eye was that there were two Kroger Plus cards that had been scanned, and I know that I scan my card right at the beginning of the transaction," Freeman explained.
He said he also noticed his receipt showed he had accumulated more than a thousand fuel points in just six days.
"That raised a big red flag and I knew that something was wrong," he said.
Kroger said it was wrong. The cashier ringing up Freeman's purchases scanned her own card after Freeman's. The last plus card scanned is the card that earns the fuel points to get big discounts on gas.
"The employee gets the fuel points, so they get to go to the gas station and get your discount on their gas," he said.
Kroger emailed the following statement:
"We appreciate the customer reporting this incident. We take employee fraud seriously and uphold our associates to ethical standards and policies. Following an internal investigation, we've identified that this was an isolated incident involving one associate. As a disciplinary action, the associate has been terminated. Our point-of-sale technology is programmed to record the last card inputted, which is common for retailers who accept loyalty cards. The reason for this function is because many loyalty cards feature a 12-digit combination barcode (UPC) and if a customer is in a hurry and inadvertently scans another store's loyalty card by mistake, the customer can correct their mistake by scanning the appropriate card next and the system will override the previous card."
"$1.50 isn't going to kill me," said Freeman. "But that might be a lot of money to another family somewhere."
Freeman said this is the second time this has happened to him. The first time, he said the employee simply scanned her own card instead of his. In that case, you'll only see one Plus card number at the top of your receipt, but you want to make sure the last four digits of the number match the number of your Plus card. If this happens to you, take your receipt to the customer service booth and ask to speak to a manager before you leave the store. They can switch the points back over to your card with some work.
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