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Are you being shortchanged by coin-counting machines?
It's easy to take all the coins that have been accumulating in your home and put them in the coin counter at your local grocery store or bank. But can you assume they'll give you an accurate total?
To find out, the Rossen Reports team carefully separated hundreds of dollars' worth of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies into bags worth $300 each. Then they put them into Coinstar machines at several stores, as well as Penny Arcade machines at various branches of TD Bank, one of the country's largest banks.
Though the Coinstar machines delivered accurate counts, several bank machines shortchanged the Rossen team by various amounts.
Edgar Dworsky, editor of Consumer World, said he was "shocked" at the result from coin machines at the banks: "If you are a penny off paying your mortgage, they are going to slap you with a late fine. And here they are giving you less for your money? Not right."
In many cases you're charged a fee for using a coin-counting machine — anywhere from 8 to 10 percent — so if the machine isn't accurate, you're losing even more.
Rossen Reports also contacted TD Bank corporate, which told NBC News: "We are disappointed with the experience that The Today Show had with our Penny Arcade coin counting machines." They said they "place a premium" on their integrity and "clean and test them twice daily."
After what Rossen Reports found, TD Bank told NBC News they are pulling all coin machines out of service at all branches nationwide for evaluation and re-testing. Those machines will go back into service only when the bank is satisfied they meet performance requirements. TD Bank also told NBC News they're enhancing their routine maintenance program.
TD Bank offers these tips for using their Penny Arcade machines:
• Make sure your change is free of lint and dust.
• Note that the machine will count any U.S. coin except for the Eisenhower dollar or silver dollar coins.
• Consistently add your coins into the counter once you begin, since the machine may complete your transaction if a time lapse occurs.
• If you have any questions or concerns, one of TD's customer service representatives will be happy to assist you on the spot.