Shell Oil retail customers recently faced more than $12 million in duplicate payments as a result of an internal communications issue, according to the company.
On the day the duplicate payments were incurred, Shell said the error was due to an outage caused by AT&T, StorefrontBacktalk reports. Upon further review, the company retracted its statement and AT&T asserted that its network did not have an outage. More than 400,000 transactions were double-charged.
Shell spokesperson Theodore Rolfvondenbaumen said that the extra charges occurred because of information and communication issues within the organization. The company's payment processor, First Data, has been an involved in other duplicate payment problems, including the Hannaford grocery store chain situation four months ago when customers were double-billed and retailers were double-paid, the source reports.
The oil company has not gone into further detail about what went wrong internally, but said that it is conducting an IT investigation. Duplicate payments can also occur in accounts payable. Organizations can prevent duplicate payments to their suppliers by seeking the services of a third-party that can review their accounts payable systems, as well as identify duplicate payments, overpayments, and other business process breakdowns.