Many faculty, students and staff at Delaware State University were hit with overdraft fees and strapped for cash last week due to what university officials are saying was a technical glitch.
The problem occurred in the software that the school's food service provider, Aramark, uses to process credit and debit transactions in DSU's four dining halls.
The glitch caused the processing of debit and credit transactions made between September and December in the dining halls to be delayed in posting to customer accounts, said Carlos Holmes, director of news services for Delaware State University.
The glitch was eventually discovered, but the correction of that problem caused every transaction made between those months to be automatically deducted from the affected credit/debit cards on Jan. 13.
Aramark and DSU released a joint statement on Friday that stated both parties have agreed to reverse the charges and restore the funds to the accounts of those affected.
"Some students, faculty and staff had over $100 disappear all of a sudden," Holmes said. "I've heard accounts of people on tight budgets. Some people had bills to pay and all of a sudden the money was not there. There were some overdraft charges for some people, so DSU got together with Aramark and agreed we would reverse the charges. So we have been working since last week to put that money back in people's accounts because that should not have gone unnoticed for several months."
Jacqueline Saez's daughter was one of those affected. She had 23 transactions post to her account on one day.
"My daughter's account was overdrawn by $100," said Saez, who resides in East Orange, N.J. "I thought that was unfair to students who expected to have money in an account and now their accounts are overdrawn with a negative balance."
It is unclear how many people were affected, according to Holmes.
Beverly White said her grandson, a sophomore at DSU, was also affected by the problem. Her grandson was left without any money on his debit card and, according to White, some students were also having problems using their meal plans.
"It seemed to me they didn't care about students on campus," White said. "It's been fixed now, but…they couldn't buy food on campus because their accounts were depleted."
In an email sent to students and faculty on Jan. 15, Dr. Teresa Hardee, the school's vice president of finance, said it would most likely take between five and seven days for funds to be returned to all of the accounts affected.
"The university is working with the card processor to expedite this process," Hardee wrote. "The university is committed to providing assistance to our stakeholders regarding any inconvenience related to the late posting of Aramark charges. We continue to appreciate your patience in this matter."
Page 2 of 2 - The email also stated that those who have questions after the charges have been reversed should contact the university's Controller Michelle Martin at email@example.com.