Traders want compensation after weekend card chaos

6th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 December 2004, BRUSSELS - Belgian traders are demanding compensation for what they say was a 20 percent loss in business after a total breakdown of cash machines and card payments caused chaos for Christmas shoppers over the weekend.

6 December 2004

BRUSSELS - Belgian traders are demanding compensation for what they say was a 20 percent loss in business after a total breakdown of cash machines and card payments caused chaos for Christmas shoppers over the weekend.

Disaster struck for the Belgian retail industry at peak trading time on Saturday when a countrywide collapse of cash card payments left customers unable to pay for their goods.

The shopping nightmare was compounded by cash machines running dry as consumers rushed to banks to take out money.

According to Belgian press reports, shopping trolleys full of goods were abandoned in the aisles of supermarkets as cashiers tried in vain to process purchases.

The payment systems of Bancontact, Mister Cash, Visa, Master Card, Maestro and American Express were all simultaneously affected.

Shopkeepers are now counting the toll of the pre-Christmas fiasco, which could have cost them around 20 percent of business.

Finance Minister Didier Reynders has called an emergency meeting with banking card company Banksys to discuss compensation for the retail industry.

"It is only logical that we discuss compensation," Reynders said on RTL on Monday morning.

Consumer Protection Minister Freya Van den Bossche has said she wants to hold further talks with Banksys, consumer rights organisation Tests-Achats, and Flemish union Unizo, to discuss measures to prevent a repeat of the incident.

Unizo and Fedis, the Belgian Federations of Distribution Companies, called already on Sunday for compensation from Banksys.

Fedis spokesman Baudoin Velge said the compensation was justified because the incident had been caused by an internal malfunction in the Banksys system.

Banksys spokesman Marina de Moerlooze refused to speculate on the possibility of damages.

The company says it is investigating the possible causes of the bank card breakdown but has so far not made any findings public.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

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