FCN gas station credit card investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Free gas at someone else's expense. First For You, an eye opening look at what happens at the gas pump when you forget to hit cancel. First Coast News Anchor Heather Crawford was able to fill up her SUV on someone else's credit card at a Daily's gas station in St. John's County Wednesday. Daily's spokesperson John Rodriguez said in a statement the only way that could of happened is if a customer inserted a credit card into a dispenser and left without fueling after the transaction is authorized and another customer dispensed fuel from the same dispenser prior to the original transaction canceling or timing out.

"I told them I have this strong suspicion that it must have been charged to somebody else's card," said Crawford.

FCN wondered how long it takes for a transaction to cancel on its own. The results may shock you.

At a Daily's gas station near Town Center we hopped out of the car, slid in a credit card, entered some personal information and waited. 2:15 later the transaction canceled out. At a HESS station on Atlantic Boulevard we conducted the same experiment. After 4:57 seconds the dispenser read "Transaction Canceled." At a GATE station on Belfort Road it took 1:15 for a cancellation.

"I think it plays two parts like on the person, the card holder and then the gas station," said Jahlica Brown as she filled up at a BP station.

Brown was shocked to learn that it takes such a long period of time for your personal information to be cleared from a gas pump dispenser. But says ultimately it's a customer's responsibility to clear out a transaction.

Rodriguez agrees, saying "Our automatic cancellation process must take into account all of our customers' needs (For example, many of our customers with landscape equipment need a certain amount of time to prepare their gasoline tanks/equipment). However, it is important to note that each and every transaction is controlled by the customer. To initiate a transaction, a customer must place their credit card into the slot plus put in their zip code in order for authorization to proceed. Once authorization has occurred, a cancel button is immediately available to cancel the transaction at any point."

It's a rare situation but one that FCN chose to make consumers aware of. Rodriguez says Daily's has information that should help to track down the customer who was charged for Crawford's transaction. Crawford did report the incident to a cashier at the gas station and paid $54.77 to Daily's for her fuel.


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