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DCFS: Retailers responsible for overcharges after EBT card glitch - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

DCFS: Retailers responsible for overcharges after EBT card glitch

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The lines at the Springhill Walmart stretched into the aisles. Photo courtesy of Theresa Smith Crow The lines at the Springhill Walmart stretched into the aisles. Photo courtesy of Theresa Smith Crow
SHREVEPORT, La. -

A Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services spokesperson said Monday the retailers who allowed the overcharge on EBT cards are responsible for picking up the leftover tab.

"These businesses are only reimbursed for amount of benefits on the card and are responsible for any additional amount spent over the eligible benefits," said Trey Williams, director of communications and government affairs for DCFS.

Debit-style federal benefit cards for SNAP and WIC stopped working in 17-states Saturday, including Louisiana. When card-holders went to stores, and tried to pay for their groceries, their cards were denied. Officials said over the weekend the system failure was the result of a power outage at a Xerox facility and not part of the government shutdown.

Williams assured KTBS no additional taxpayer money was spent to cover the charges. He said the Department of Children and Family Services has emergency procedures in place with EBT contractor Xerox for instances like Saturday's glitch.

It said the retailer must contact Xerox for clearance, but some retailers chose not to do that and now have to pay the price.

"So for example, if I only had $50 on my EBT SNAP card, but I went and purchased $200 in merchandise on Saturday, then that retailer will only be reimbursed for the $50 I have on my card," said Williams. "The remaining $150 that was spent will be the responsibility of that retailer."

Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield elected to continue accepting the EBT card while the system was down. It caused huge crowds at both stores, with customers filling up their baskets.

"We know our customers count on us," said Kayla Whaling, a Walmart spokesperson. "When situations like this occur, we wanted to be there for them. So we continued to accept EBT cards for WIC and SNAP purchases."

Whaling said these were isolated incidents, and the company did not think taking the financial responsibility will hurt it.

DCFS said it will work with retailers if they would like to go after those that got away with their merchandise.

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