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Some Navy MWR customers still await refunds after duplicate charges

By ERIK SLAVIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 6, 2016

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Most of the $5.3 million mistakenly charged to thousands of customers at Pacific Navy bases has now been refunded, though some are still waiting to recoup overdraft fees associated with the errors.

Customers began receiving a total of 133,000 duplicate charges for goods and services purchased through Navy child care programs and at Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities, after a computer systems update Sept. 24.

Navy officials said on Sept. 28 that refunds would be issued within two days, but most families in Japan and many in other regions hadn’t received their refunds by Tuesday.

Bank of America Merchant Services, which processes Navy Installations Command’s transactions, finished processing the refunds Sept. 29, spokeswoman Capt. Wendy Snyder wrote in an email Thursday.

However, the interchange service that routes transactions to banks and credit-card issuers can take up to four business days in some cases, she said.

Bank rules on reversals and multiple transactions from the same vendor can create further delays, officials said.

Of $2.45 million in duplicate charges to customers in Japan, about $52,000 remains unrefunded; out of an another $2.45 million in Guam, $48,000 hasn’t been returned, Snyder said.

Out of $17,765 worth of duplicate charges in South Korea, $16 is still waiting to be returned.

All $10,348 from Singapore has been refunded, with a small amount remaining from duplicate charges at the Naval Postgraduate School in California.

The duplicate charges covered purchases between Jan. 22 and June 23.

While some customers were left waiting for a locker room tab at the gym, others who spoke with Stripes had negative checking account balances after thousands of dollars in day care expenses were duplicated.

Some Navy customers have struggled with banks and credit unions after trying to recoup the fees, though Navy Federal Credit Union and others have said that they will issue fee refunds.

The Navy will reimburse any overdraft fees not covered by banks. Those affected can submit documentation to local MWR departments, or via email at mwr_creditcard_FAQ.fct@navy.mil.

slavin.erik@stripes.com
Twitter: @eslavin_stripes

A sailor runs at Purdy Gym at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, one of the places throughout the Pacific where customers received duplicate charges for good and services purchased between Jan. 22 and June 23, 2016.
TYLER HLAVAC/STARS AND STRIPES

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