Man wrongly charged more than $11K at Chicago grocery store

CHICAGO -- A Chicago man said his bank account has been drained after he was charged more than $11,000 for a $90 grocery bill.

"I have bills to pay, I have a phone bill to pay, parking lease, a car payment I have to make," said Nick Blanusha.

Blanusha picked up his groceries at a Mariano's store Wednesday. He ordered online and was getting curbside service. His bill showed $90.96, but he said when he gave his card for payment he was charged $11,552. While his grocery bill receipt reflects the correct price, his transaction shows he was in fact charged more than $11,000.

"(The store employee) said 'Yeah, its $90,'" Blanusha said. "I signed the receipt got in my car and then went home to check my bank account to see if my stimulus check had hit and, uh, noticed that it was empty. And I looked back at the receipt and noticed I had been charged $11,500."

He said local Mariano's managers were helpful at correcting the problem, but they told him the transaction reversal would take four to five days through the bank while his checking account balance remained zero.

Blanusha contacted the WLS-TV I-Team to see if they could help.

After the I-Team got involved, Blanusha said he got a call from Mariano's.

"They said, hey we feel really bad about this, we want to make it right and we just found out about it at the corporate level; let's see what we can do to make sure you can pay your bills on time and we can make you whole again," he said.

They also gave him $250.

Mariano's said in a statement:

After learning about what happened with customer Nick Blanusha we contacted him to apologize for the error, and let him know the entire charge was refunded, including the charge for his order. Mariano's will also take care of any fees or overdrafts that this may have caused.

In this case, Blanusha used a checking and debit card, which is a popular form of payment and is protected if you need to dispute a charge. However, for more protection you may want to use credit card if you can for most transactions, since that doesn't pull money directly from your checking account.
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