Woman says store gave her fake $100 bill during purchase return

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PHOENIX -- A Valley woman says a store gave her a fake $100 bill and now she's stuck with it.

Counterfeit money does exist out there so folks have to be careful.

Here's the deal. If you give a store clerk a $50 or $100 bill, they are quick to hold it up to the light to make sure it's real. But what about when they give you a fake $100 bill?

Veronica Lavin bought a granite table and chairs so she and her family could always get together in the evening.

"I bought it for that reason, that's our focal point," she said. "We like to have dinners together and talk about our day."

Lavin says she bought a dining room set for about $800 from Big Lots just off of 67th Avenue and Cactus Road. But after finding a dining room set for nearly $200 cheaper somewhere else, she bought it and then returned the other set back to Big Lots.

The return at Big Lots went fine. In fact, Big Lots even gave Lavin cash back. However, when she went to immediately deposit the cash at her credit union, she was told one of the hundred dollar bills was counterfeit and confiscated the bill right on the spot.

"At the time, the girl at the window says, 'Where did you get this money from?' and I said, 'I just got a refund for a table at Big Lots and they gave me my money back,'" Lavin said.

To help Lavin explain her story to Big Lots, the credit union wrote a letter confirming one of the bills from the refund was, in fact, fake.

But even after reviewing the letter, Big Lots told Lavin the fake bill couldn't have come from their store and refused to give her another $100 bill.

Lavin says her family told her to contact 3 On Your Side.

After we got involved, Big Lots told us they have a very strict policy about inspecting $100 bills when they receive them, but in a letter they told me, "...There is always the remote chance that we may have taken the counterfeit bill in the first place" and passed it on to Lavin.

However, they did agree to give Lavin another $100. This time in $20s. It's money she says she never would have received without my help.

By the way, because Lavin had so much trouble getting her money back to begin with, Big Lots is also giving her 20 percent off her next purchase.

A big thank you to Big Lots for helping me out on this one.