Thursday, July 13, 2017

MLGW temporarily suspends kiosk payments after weekend run on machines

    MLGW President and CEO Jerry R. Collins Jr. pulled the plug temporarily on 187 self-service kiosks after thousands of customers stood in line making minimal payments hoping for deeply discounted utility bills.
    The self-service kiosks will begin taking MLGW payments on Thursday, July 13. “We are confident that the software problem is behind us, and the system is reliable,” Collins said.
    Collins said that MLGW was hit with a weekend double whammy: a software computer glitch in the vendor-operated machines and a social media rumor that former Memphis Grizzly Zach Randolph had made a $1 million donation to help people pay their utility bills.
    “Basically, the numbers (of a person’s bill) were off by a factor of 100… If a person paid $5 on a $500 bill, it looked like that (the remainder) was at or near zero on their balance,” Collins said. On Saturday, nearly 19,000 customers made partial payments at TIO Networks kiosks.
    An additional 4,000 customers made payments with clerk-assisted TIO merchants. Another 12,000 customers paid online, by phone or with another clerk-assisted vendor and were not affected by the TIO error.
    An undetermined number of customers wrote checks on closed bank accounts due to the rumor, which MLGW has graciously agreed to waive the $40 returned check fee for checks in the amount of $20 or less.
    Based on a preliminary investigation, a local resident posted on social media that Z-Bo had made a $1 million donation to help people with their utility bills. The post went viral and prompted long lines at the kiosks in convenience stores, gas stations and community offices.
    TIO Networks Corp. operates the machines and takes payments for phone, cable service and utility bills. The $2 service fee TIO charged to kiosk customers has been credited to their MLGW accounts. The fees totaled about $37,000. Collins said MLGW staffers noticed a problem with one or two kiosks on Thursday night and Friday. The staff placed a work order with the vendor to make the necessary repairs. “The staff thought it was an isolated problem. As it turns out, it was all the kiosks operated by TIO Networks,” Collins said.
    He added, “Certainly, the software problem could have been identified and fixed quietly if it had not been for the false rumor that was on social media. It just took off like wildfire.”
    “MLGW’s computers were not compromised. Nobody was hacked,” Collins explained. “No one was harmed from a financial standpoint.”
    While the rumor about Z-Bo was false, Randolph has said he will still donate $20,000 this fall to Plus-1 as he has annually.

    Memphians responded by challenging others to supplement Randolph’s generosity with #50forthecity at ioby./org/project/50-city. Randolph just announced he is leaving Memphis to play for the Sacramento Kings.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...