PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Debbie Greenrock always pays with cash.

"I’d rather have a pocket full of money than plastic," Greenrock said.

Recently, she says she was short-changed at a gas station in north Phoenix.

"My bill was $10.41 and I gave [the cashier] $11 and she asked me if I had the correct change," Greenrock said. "When I told her, 'no,' she said, 'well then your bill will be $11 because there’s a national change shortage.'"

Across the country, businesses are asking customers to pay with cards or exact change because of the coin shortage. Some businesses are rounding up purchases and donating the change. Others are giving customers gift cards or credit on store loyalty cards for the balance. Greenrock says the gas station did not give her any of those options.

"That is a very busy gas station, so if they did it to me, how many other people did they take their change?" she said. "Somebody is pocketing the change somewhere. It’s just not right."

3 On Your Side took Greenrock's concerns to the Arizona Attorney General's office. Katie Conner, a spokesperson for Attorney General Mark Brnovich says it's all about communication. Businesses have to alert customers in advance if they're changing how they give change. If there is no notice or a store policy isn't clearly spelled out, Conner says businesses that withhold change could be violating Arizona's Consumer Fraud Act.

Though many consumers are using debit and credit cards right now, 49% of people say they'd still prefer to pay with cash for transactions under $10, according to a new CreditCards.com survey. Ted Rossman, an analyst for CreditCards.com says he expects the coin shortage to be short-lived.

"Cash is still a really big deal," Rossman said. "I think the coin shortage will be resolved in the next few weeks. The Federal Reserve has already convened a task force of big banks, major retailers, Coinstar, Brinks, and they’re aiming to deliver recommendations by early August."

Greenrock went back to the same gas station a few days later. This time they had change, but her coin collection is still 59 cents short.

"I wonder where it went," she said.

Consumers who believe a store is not giving proper notice about its coin policy can file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General's office.

 

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