On July 14 2020, a Facebook user shared the following screenshot, showing a Kroger receipt, a “change shortage” fee, and a post about how the customer purportedly paid with a credit card or debit card (making the already questionable fee even more objectionable):
This was posted by a guy in a group I’m in. Check your receipts!!!
Hey team… Here is one… We been talking about coin shortage all day… Here is a receipt from my cousin..Look close… Has anyone had this yet???
This just makes me mad! Looking over my KROGER receipt and I was charged a “CHANGE SHORTAGE” fee. I was not told about this. Of course mine was only $0.38 cent. But. I USED A CREDIT CARD!!! I didn’t even use cash. Why was I charged a change shortage fee??? And the manager says he was not aware of this and he couldn’t do anything about it!!! Seriously??? Multiply that times the thousands of customers that go in and out of there and that’s thousands of dollars they are stealing from us.
Part of the status update was covered in contemporaneous news items about Kroger’s imposition of a “change shortage” fee:
Due to a coin shortage at the Federal Reserve, Kroger will no longer return coin change to customers. Instead, the remainders from cash transactions can either be donated to charity or applied to the customers’ loyalty cards to be used on the next purchase.
Kroger officials said, “at Kroger, we are implementing several creative solutions to minimize the impact to our customers…We know this is an inconvenience for our customers and we appreciate their patience. The Treasury Department expects the shortage to diminish as more regions of the country reopen.”
That reporting noted that customers “using self-checkout will still be able to receive coins,” making the claim in the post even more baffling — coins were being returned as change in some circumstances, so the purported imposition of the fee on credit or debit transactions.
As far as the screenshot went, it did not appear to yield any clues about whether or not Kroger was imposing a “change shortage” fee on customers using credit or debit cards (the form of payment was not immediately visible). On Kroger’s Facebook page, a commenter tagged the official Kroger page in a comment on an unrelated post and asked about the claim:
You have some explaining to do. I’ve been hearing people having their change rounded up to the next dollar while using a debit card? Kroger that has nothing to do with a coin shortage
Kroger directly responded to the comment, but did not actually address the question:
Thank you for reaching out. Our associates will ask you if you’d like to round up at checkout to donate to support The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, a public charity committed to creating communities free of hunger and waste. If any customer has a question about their receipt or an issue with this happening without their consent, they can speak with the store’s customer service desk for further assistance. Thank you.
We asked Kroger about the post and purported policy, but we have not yet received a response.
Kroger acknowledged imposing a “change shortage” fee on transactions, with the exception of self-checkout terminals. In news reporting, an outlet said Kroger would “no longer return coin change” to customers, but that seemed specifically to address cash transactions. A secondhand claim about Kroger imposing the fee on customers paying with plastic did not include the portion of the receipt indicating the transaction was “credit” or “debit,” and when asked, Kroger replied but did not answer. We currently rate this claim Unknown.