A shopper, who said she felt treated like a criminal at a Sudbury supermarket after unknowingly withdrawing fake money, believes it could have happened to anyone who used the cash machine.
Sally Lambert, of Windsor Place, took out £100 from the cash machine at Sainsbury’s in Cornard Road last Tuesday and then went shopping inside the store.
But as she paid at the checkout, Ms Lambert claims she was surrounded by staff who began diverting other shoppers away from the till, before telling her one of the £20 notes she had given to the cashier was counterfeit.
Ms Lambert said she was “put through a lot of embarrassment”, until she produced the receipt for her cash withdrawal and told them she had only just got the money outside. She was then given a number for Sainsbury’s banking division to resolve the issue.
“I felt totally embarrassed by the whole thing. They said ‘this is forged’ and I said ‘I just got this from your own cash machine’. It was almost humiliating,” she told the Free Press.
“It was as if I had robbed a bank or something. It was as if I had committed a terrible crime, but none of it was my fault.
“I have to say the banking office was apologetic. That’s all very well, but I was put through the ropes up there.
“When they pointed it out, I could see the difference. The face was different and so were the holograms.
“The point is, I’m a good customer. I go there twice a week and a lot of them know me there. It’s not as if I just walked in, dumped a forgery on them and tried to get away with it.
“It’s not just about me. There were two or three people behind me waiting to use the cash machine. I found it upsetting, plain and simple. It made me very angry.”
Ms Lambert’s son Peter said he thought the way the matter was handled on the day was “disgraceful”.
“Mum was fuming about it. She was made to feel like a criminal in front of a lot of people in the queue,” he said.
“She’s there every single week. The staff should know her well. My mum’s point was that anyone could have taken that money out. It’s just outrageous.”
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s Bank said they have now investigated the situation.
She said: “We have stringent controls in place to avoid the potential of counterfeit or damaged notes being circulated from our ATMs.
“We have asked the customer to return to the store so we can resolve the issue.”