Debit cards charged two months after visit to New Bern restaurant

·2 min read
Smithfield's Chicken and BBQ in New Bern says an issue in their drive-thru has caused the restaurant to charge customers several months later for their meal.
Smithfield's Chicken and BBQ in New Bern says an issue in their drive-thru has caused the restaurant to charge customers several months later for their meal.

New Bern resident Becca Terry said she hadn't eaten at Smithfield's Chicken and BBQ on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in more than six weeks. But when checking her bank account recently, she received a surprise from the restaurant.

Two pending debit card charges.

A similar incident happened to Chastity Bird, also of New Bern, who said her bank statement showed a charge from Smithfield's two months after her last visit. Neither Bird nor her husband had been to the restaurant the day the card was charged May 18.

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"I tried to call the location 10 times, but no answer," Bird said. "So I contacted my bank and they canceled my card and ordered me a new one. I contacted the New Bern Police Department to see what I can do and they went to the store."

Police confirmed officers contacted the restaurant regarding irregularities in financial transactions. But no crime was found, according to the department.

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Smithfield's said on Tuesday that a bad internet connection was the cause of late charges being posted.

According to the statement, the New Bern location's drive-thru credit card machine wasn't processing purchases immediately. Upon discovery, the charges were processed for the purchases made.

"We sincerely regret the delay to any customer's cards in processing," the company said in an email to the Sun Journal.

Smithfield's declined to say how long the machine was not working properly, how the mistake was discovered, or if they'd had such an incident happen before.

Terry said that when she confronted the restaurant after noticing her card was charged, the answer she was given was similar.

"We stopped by and I spoke to the female manager who said the credit cards weren’t running correctly every night for some reason," Terry added. "Their accountant caught it and had been slowly charging what should have been charged to people's cards since then."

Terry said she was also told the store's internet connection was having issues around March 29 and through last week.

"In my opinion, we keep a pretty close eye on our accounts as it is, but it’s not like Smithfield’s benefited from it, nor would it make us not go back," said Terry. "Things happen. At least it was caught."

Bird did not share the same outlook on the incident as Terry did, saying she has been charged twice for her one visit and will no longer eat at Smithfield's

Smithfield's Chicken and BBQ added if anyone has questions about a charge, calls can be directed to 919-238-6044.

Reporter Trevor Dunnell can be reached by email at tdunnell@newbernsj.com. Please consider supporting local journalism by signing up for a digital subscription.

This article originally appeared on Sun Journal: Smithfield's BBQ card malfunction causes late payments for customers