Do Bank Coin-Counting Machines Shortchange Customers?

Photo (cc) by JeepersMedia

It’s an unsettling thought for anyone who has ever used any coin-counting machines: They could be short-changing you by undercounting the coins you pour into them.

That’s exactly what TD Bank’s coin-counting machines have been doing “for years,” resulting “in the loss of millions of dollars for consumers,” according to a proposed class action lawsuit filed last week.

Use of TD Bank’s coin-counting machines, called “Penny Arcade” machines, is free for customers, the bank’s website states. Noncustomers are charged an 8 percent usage fee, according to the lawsuit.

The primary plaintiff in the case, Regina C. Filannino-Restifo, opened an account at a TD Bank branch specifically to be able to use the Penny Arcade machines for free, according to the lawsuit.

She “owns a number of coin-operated washing and drying machines” and uses the Penny Arcade “to count the coins from these machines on a regular basis,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also cites an April 6 “Today” show report for which several Penny Arcade machines as well as Coinstar counting machines were tested with deposits of exactly $300.

The Penny Arcade machines undercounted by anywhere from a few pennies to more than $43, while the Coinstar machines were accurate down to the penny, according to the report.

TD Bank pulled its Penny Arcade machines out of service after the report.

Last week, in a separate report by CBS MoneyWatch, TD Bank declined to comment on pending litigation, but a spokesperson said by email:

“We place a premium on the integrity of these machines, and that’s why we clean and test them twice daily to confirm accuracy. Our machines will be brought back into service when we are satisfied they meet our performance requirements. Additionally, we will be enhancing the routine maintenance and testing of our machines.”

CBS also reports that TD Bank’s troubles prompted PNC Bank to pull its remaining coin-counting machines from its branches earlier this month. A spokesperson said:

“We began the process of phasing out our in-branch coin counters last year for a variety of reasons, including low customer use. In addition, we have taken recent media reports, calling into question the accuracy of coin counters in the industry, very seriously.”

Which coin-counting machines have you used, and what has your experience been with them? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

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