FCN anchor experience prompts gas station investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Buyer beware. A First Coast News anchor's experience prompted an investigation and a consumer alert that will likely have you reconsider what you do when you get gasoline.

On her routine ride in to work Wednesday afternoon something out of the ordinary happened to FCN Anchor Heather Crawford as she pulled up to the pump and attempted to purchase gas.

"I filled up my tank and it charged someone else's credit card," said Crawford.

She then walked inside of the Daily's gas station in St. John's County and told the cashier something fishy was going on. Crawford insisted on paying for her own gas and says the cashier told her it was charged to another woman's credit card.

"They said she must have swiped her credit card, not filled up driven away and in that 10 to 15 seconds when the card still stays in their system I drove up and was able to get the gas into my car in that time."

First Coast News put that to the test. At a Daily's gas station near the Town Center in Jacksonville we inserted a credit card and waited. It took exactly 2 minutes 15 seconds for the cards information to cancel out on its own. That's more than enough time for someone to fill up on your dime.

"I don't know if I'm the only one this has happened to," said Crawford. "Does it happen all of the time? I don't know."

Daily's spokesperson John Rodriguez sent FCN this statement:

The only way the situation you are describing can occur is if one of our customers inserts a credit card into a dispenser then proceeds to leave without fueling (after the transaction is authorized) and another customer happens to dispense fuel from the same dispenser prior to the original transaction canceling or timing out. This scenario, however, would require a rare combination of coincidences to occur in sequence so it's not a matter that our staff has to deal with routinely. Moreover, without physically having the original credit card we have no way of issuing a credit to that account. The majority of our Daily's customers are regular patrons and our hope is that this particular customer will return to the store so that we may handle the matter accordingly.

"If it was my credit card number I would hope someone would do the same for me," said Crawford. "Come in and say hey I didn't pay for this gas someone else did."

No word on whether or not the woman who accidentally paid for Crawford's gas returned to the station.


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