PETALUMA, CA -- Many families love Little Caesar’s for their $5 pizzas.
But customers in Petaluma are reeling after being charged for all the pizzas they have purchased over the past year at once—some to the tune of hundreds of dollars— the result of a glitch between the pizza chain’s point-of-sale system and the merchant’s payment software.
“For some reason or another, the charges were not going through and all transactions were on hold,” said Fred Berry, who owns six Little Caesar’s franchises in the Bay Area, including those in Petaluma and Rohnert Park.
Berry said he became aware of the glitch after realizing he was not generating any revenue from his Petaluma and Rohnert Park stores earlier this month. He contacted the bank handling the transactions and learned that payments made between January 1 and September 9 at the Petaluma location were never processed.
In Rohnert Park, debit and credit cards were not charged for approximately two months.
The glitch was finally resolved September 10, resulting in all outstanding charges being put through at the same time.
“Unfortunately this happens with technology,” Berry said. “It’s an isolated incident and we are trying to do what we can to help people out, including giving them a couple of free dinners on us.”
Some have criticized the franchise for taking eight months to realize the problem and failing to notify customers, many of who thought their debit card information had been stolen and canceled their cards.
“They could have put up signs up on the store or taken an ad out in a local newspaper,” said Lisa Asbury, whose boyfriend cancelled his card after seeing what he believed were fraudulent charges from Little Caesar’s, where he hadn’t been in months.
“It’s a bad sign of how the owner does his accounting if it takes him eight months to find this glitch and it's really affected some people who have had their accounts overdrawn,” Asbury said.
Since learning of the glitch, Little Caesar's did put up a letter at both its Rohnert Park and Petaluma stores customers apologizing for the situation, according to Berry, the franchise owner.
But that has done little to prevent a barrage of customers over the past week upset about being "overcharged."
“Hundreds of people have come in yelling at me,” said a tired Ignacio Ortiz, a manager at the Petaluma’s Plaza North Shopping Center location. “But what can I do? I’m just an employee.”
Were you impacted by the glitch?