Open. Closed. Open. Closed.
Dining in Illinois’ restaurants has been a gamble as coronavirus mitigation rules have meant indoor dining restrictions or closures depending on COVID-19 metrics in the state. Curbside pickup and delivery have remained a constant and safe option, but with such high demand, it’s not uncommon for the occasional order mix-up.
“Maybe your soda didn’t come with this [order], so they just credit you $5 or whatever," said Chicago resident Ivan Villarreal, a hospital case manager.
Since the pandemic, Villarreal admits to using Uber Eats and other delivery services more often to stay safe at home.
Back in October, a simple order of two BLTs, two chicken sandwiches, scrambled eggs and fruit punch from Don’s Grill in Pilsen totaled $39.09. But his Uber Eats receipt showed his debit card was charged $4,028.86.
“When I ordered, it looked like there was an error, like a $4,000 error," Villarreal said. "[I] scratched my head like that, that'll take care of itself."
When Villarreal said it wasn’t immediately corrected, he reached out to Uber through the app and requested a refund. Days later, with no apparent response, his pleas grew more desperate, writing "my bank account is negative and being assessed negative fees. I have a family that needs food."
"It was more nervousness because it wasn't really looking at the point where I can't even afford rent," Villarreal said.
He tried both his bank and the restaurant to get the charge overturned, but neither had his money.
"It's kind of like bad luck in the sense where you have this $4,000 missing. You have a restaurant that says, it's not our fault but how can we help. We have Uber that's not calling, have a bank that's saying, you know, we can do this; we have to wait, 14 to 30 days to do this; we have to wait another week to process."
Ironically, the restaurant did help when the staff at Don’s Grill suggested that Villarreal reach out to NBC 5 Responds for help.
Within hours, Ivan's $4,028.86 was returned to his account. In addition, Uber refunded his $37 overdraft fee and provided him with a $300 credit to Uber Eats.
They told NBC 5 Responds, "There was an error on this specific order resulting in the customer being charged the incorrect amount. We have fully refunded the customer and apologized to him for his experience, as well as worked with him to help make things right. Our support team strives to provide high quality customer service each day and we are disappointed this standard wasn't met here."