Americans have a love/hate relationship with the world’s biggest retailer in that products come cheap, but at a price with what typically turns out the be a really bad shopping experience or awful customer service. Of all the retailers in the country, Walmart is typically branded one of the most American ones. They profit heavily from their reputation of patriotic values and being the picture of success from capitalism, hard work, and the fruits of pursuing the American dream, despite using cheap overseas labor to produce a glutenous amount products.
While there are a number of ways that Walmart is losing customers in droves, especially recently, when the store’s CEO decided to get divisive in politics and turn on our president, there’s one shocking detail on store receipts that’s causing customers to call the police. It’s been widely reported as a consumer report for shoppers to keep an eye out for one specific code on their receipt and if you see it, to alert authorities as it allegedly signifies that you’ve just become the victim of a scam.
This concern came up after a woman in Arkansas was overcharged at the store and then saw the code which pulled the exact value she had been overcharged and appeared to look like a line item on her purchase of something she didn’t buy. However, a subsequent report has since been released showing what that code really means and why you need to know it.
The Federalist Papers first reported of this now viral “scam:”
A woman took to Facebook to talk about a really odd charge she found on a receipt from Walmart.
Sharon Bufford went grocery shopping at her local Walmart and didn’t even think to look at the receipt until she got home and put her groceries away.
When she found a charge she had no idea about, she instantly called the store.
Clearly, Bufford wasn’t happy about this, and is warning other people on social media. Some of the responses to her post from people in retail explain the charge in a different way:
Here is her post in it’s entirety:
“I shopped at Walmart in Clinton today. I was charged $10 for absolutely nothing.
The item is JAJKET 000000000001K.
I called them when I got home and was told that this is a phantom item. It randomly comes up even though it is not scanned.
When I asked how long it has been happening, I was told almost 10 years. They know about this. It randomly gets added to your ticket and unless you are checking or paying attention then you pay for it without getting anything for it.
Going tomorrow to get a refund. This is ridiculous! They know it happens, but haven’t told anyone.
Told me they can’t purge it from their system. When I wondered how many times this has happened to me before they seemed to not care.
How many times has it happened to others?
I sent an email to the corporate office. Hope somebody fixes this!
If I took $10 merchandise and said it was a phantom, I bet I would be seeing the inside of a jail cell!
The amount of hate from furious Walmart shoppers mad about what the store was allegedly doing to their hardworking customers poured in on her post in droves. While this was understandable, it was not warranted since Bufford seemed to jump to conclusions on the overcharge and now her post is nowhere to be found, which is no coincidence.
WSUA9 debunked her story after it went viral and caused unnecessary anger at the retailer. While there’s a lot to be frustrated about Walmart, this code on the receipt is not one of them since it seems to be the result of human error, including on the keen-eyed shopper’s part.
Yes, a woman from Arkansas was overcharged by ten dollars from Walmart, but no this is not an issue happening at Walmart stores nationwide.
After WUSA9 contact Walmart about this incident, they sent us the following statement:
“We immediately began looking into this issue when it was brought to our attention and want to assure customers at our Clinton store that they are only being charged for items they purchase. We isolated the problem our customer experienced to an incorrect product barcode that one of our cashiers entered as she was checking out. The issue was immediately resolved and as a precaution, we’re training the store’s associates on what to look for should anything like that happen again and ensuring none of our other stores are affected. We reimbursed the customer for the incorrect charge, apologized to her and appreciate that she brought this to our attention.” – Charles Crowson Senior Manager Corporate Communications
But are other Walmart shoppers at risk of being overcharged for an item? A customer service manager told Sharon that mystery charges have been happening on and off at the store for 10 years. WUSA9 Verify researchers checked the code that came up on Sharon’s receipt, the one that the customer service manager said she’d been seeing on and off for the last decade, running it through a Facebook search. The results showed only Sharon’s isolated incident, no one else with this same issue.
So even though internet headlines and conspiracy theories about this post may continue to be shared, as of now we can verify that this incident has only happened to one person and is not part of a larger scheme to rip of customers by Walmart.