What happens if the Walmart money order machine breaks after you’ve paid?


Man, I hate the armpit of America.  But it’s really the only place in my area that still take non-named VGC w/o a big hassle.  And of course the money order machine is broken half the time.  On this day though, on a Monday morning, it was working…or so the cashier thought.


Money order machine broken

So I had bought 2 money orders and swiped my 4 debit cards.  Usually after this point, the clerk then reads a number on the money order machine and the machine starts printing.  However, this time, the register prints out a little note saying that communication to the money order machine wasn’t working.  The cashier tries to reboot the machine and still not working.


CSM to the rescue?

The experienced cashier then calls up the CSM, who of course tries to reboot the machine to no avail.  Then she smartly decides to try it from the other register.  Still no go.  Then the CSM pushes a button on the register and the usual receipt prints out…w/o any money orders.  Well that’s no bueno.


Assistant manger to the rescue?

The CSM then calls up the assistant manager who tried the same things.  They couldn’t VOID the transaction since it was a money order transaction and I had paid with debit cards.  I think if I had paid in cash, they would have been able to refund me.  However, since they couldn’t do that, the CSM then “closed” the register and counted the money, like it was the nightly close routing.

The CSM then walks away with my receipt for 5+ minutes, then comes back, and basically hands me $2K in cash.  The assistant manager told me that they wouldn’t be able to refund my debit cards, they’d pay me in cash.  In all honesty, I wasn’t THAT happy with the outcome because the cashier and CSM knows me and knows the game of using VGC.  And the CSM told the assistant manager, “He used gift cards”  and not “debit cards.”


Lessons Learned

If the money order machine breaks on you after they’ve debited your debit cards, it looks like they’ll pay you back in cash.  While that’s a great outcome, it may shine light that you are using gift cards, which is never a good thing.

  • James

    I’ve had this happen to me before. The worst is when it happens on a weekend and when the cash office is closed. They handed me the receipt, told me that they have to make sure with the cash office that the money is in their possession and then repay me the $2k in cash. I had to drive back to Walmart (30 minutes away) the next night (can’t go during the work day) and the manager had to see notes from the manager who was on duty when the cash office was open and see that there was an extra $2k in their records before handing me $2k in cash.

    • Miles per Day

      That does NOT sound like fun.

    • Wesley Murray

      No way in hell I would trust Walmart with 2K of my money unless a Walton them self called me up and wrote a letter saying to give me the money

      • James

        Well… I wouldn’t trust them either. Problem is, they had $2,000 of money in their possession via drained gift cards and I had no money orders to show for it. I had two choices, throw a fit until they gave me money back and with the cash office closed and no way to verify that they had my money in their possession, this probably would have been counterproductive (and wouldn’t have helped my cause). As unhappy as I was to walk out of the store, I think it really helped that I was cooperative when I went back the next day. It took maybe about 15 minutes to get everything sorted out and for the manager to see that the cash office had $2,000 in extra money but once that was sorted out, they gave me the money. I’ve seen some very difficult customers at Walmart (people whose non-MS moneygram transactions didn’t go through correctly, returns that didn’t get accepted, etc.) and I find it’s helpful to be as cooperative as possible. I did express disappointment before I left the first time but it was clear that there was nothing I could do at that point to get my money back other than come back the next day.

  • Carl Pietrantonio

    That especially sucks if you had paid fees for the gift cards, too. Getting the face value back without TOO much hassle is good, but the fees are adios so a money loser though just a small amount. I am wondering if soon the entire M.O. thing is gonna die too.

    • RL

      I don’t get your logic. The fee are already paid to get the GC’s and he is turning those GC’s into cash, with the MO or the Cash he received.

      • Carl Pietrantonio

        Um, say he bought 2K worth of GC for face plus $5.95 for each $500 GC. That is 2023.80, right? Then he gets back $2000 in cash and STILL does not have a money order or two. He is out the fees for the GCs. Makes sense to me anyhow.

        • Miles per Day

          No Carl. I’m out $23.80 regardless whether I have $2K in cash at the end or $2K in MO. Either way, I’m depositing the cash or MO back to my bank account. The $23.80 is a sunk cost at that point.

          • Carl Pietrantonio

            Ah, yes, so you are. My bad interpreting what was happening.

  • Can you do split transaction with KATE? or you just buy $499.30 MO?

    • Miles per Day

      I don’t think you can split at KATE. Never even tried.

  • disqus_l7GXsYbTLi

    I made the decision a while ago that 2x or 3x is simply not worth going to Walmart… never looked back.

    • Miles per Day

      I feel ya