CAMPBELL (CBS SF) — Safeway Inc. has agreed to reimburse some rewards card members and pay a fine after overcharging customers at a gas station in Campbell, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Safeway has repaid customers whose credit cards bills showed higher amounts taken out than on charge slips in more than 700 transactions at a Safeway gas station on Hamilton Avenue in Campbell, Deputy District Attorney Francisca Allen said.

The chain, in addition to reimbursing the rewards customers, also paid a civil penalty of $46,650 while not admitting any liability or wrongdoing and cooperating with prosecutors, Allen said.

The district attorney’s office learned about the overcharging in fall 2011 from a customer who noticed a discrepancy between what a gas receipt from the Hamilton gas station showed and what was charged on her credit card bill, Allen said.

The discount price for her gas, when she used her rewards card, showed up on the printed receipt from the gas pump but not on the credit card bill she received later, Allen said.

The investigation revealed that a new but faulty software program would infrequently trigger a disruption and cause the undiscounted price for gas to be charged to credit card companies, Allen said.

Prosecutors found out that the glitch was also at Safeway gas stations in Pleasant Hill and Palm Springs that used the same software, Allen said.

While more than 700 overcharges were evident at the Campbell station, less than 30 erroneous sales took place each of at the Pleasant Hill and Palm Springs stations, Allen said.

Safeway repaid the customers by issuing credit to their rewards cards equal to what they were overcharged, Allen said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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