Covering Louisiana

Oct 15, 2013 7:16 PM by Letitia Walker

Walmart stands by decision to take food stamp cards during system glitch

Walmart is sticking by the decision to let shoppers continue to buy products on their food stamps cards, despite knowing the system had malfunctioned.

Several Louisiana stores reported customers loading up on groceries after the spending limit seemed to disappear from their cards for a few hours. Yesterday, a spokesman with Louisiana's Department of Children and Family Services said those companies that allowed people to buy past their limits would be responsible for the overages- not Louisiana taxpayers.

We asked Walmart how much the company may have lost, how many people went over the limit, if they would be prosecuting those that did, which stores were affected and if policies would change in the future as a result.

They didn't address any of those questions and would only say they were looking out for the best interest of their customers.

"There was an unfortunate set of circumstances following the EBT systems outage over the weekend. We made a decision to continue accepting our customers' EBT cards so they could continue to purchase food and other necessities, and we know we made the right choice because that was what was best for our customers. The issue has been resolved and there wasn't any material impact on our U.S. business.
Throughout this situation, our focus has remained on our customers. The issue has since been resolved and there wasn't any material impact on our U.S. business," says Kayla Whaling, a Walmart spokeswoman.

We spoke with employees in Acadiana, who weren't allowed to comment on camera, but tell us "it was worse than when Hurricane Katrina hit" after Saturday's outage.

Xerox, the vendor for the EBT system, says the system went down when a back-up generator failed. Residents in 17 states were affected.

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