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How Accurate Are Coin Counting Machines?

BOSTON (CBS) - A New York man has filed a class action lawsuit against TD Bank, claiming he was cheated twice by their Penny Arcade coin counting machines for a total of $1.51. But the potential pool of customers affected could be in the "hundreds of thousands."

"There's some risk that you're not going to get an accurate count," said consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky of "You're really taking on faith that you're going to get an accurate reading,"

So WBZ NewsRadio 1030 put four other local coin counting machines to the test.

The machines at Eastern Bank in downtown Boston, Leader Bank in Cambridge, Cambridge Savings Bank in Arlington, and the Coinstar kiosk in Brighton counted the coins accurately. Only one dime and one Canadian quarter were rejected.

But Dworsky believes customers should still beware.

"We think of banks as being 100-percent accurate. If I'm off a penny paying them my mortgage, I'm going to be slapped with a late fine," he told WBZ.

In Massachusetts, there's no government agency that checks the accuracy of these coin counting machines, similar to how gas pumps are regularly inspected.

So should they be regulated?

"My sense is, we have enough regulation," Dworsky said. "It is certainly in the banks' interest to have these machines working accurately and they should be checking them, at a minimum, daily. I don't think you need a regulation that says they have to make these tests themselves."

TD Bank is not commenting on the pending litigation.

"At TD Bank, we place a premium on the integrity of these machines, and that's why we clean and test them twice daily to confirm accuracy," Judy Schmidt, the bank's head of corporate media relations, said in an emailed statement.

"We have also launched an enhanced testing program. All of our coin counting machines are in the process of being taken out of service, and will be evaluated and retested. Our machines will be brought back into service when we are satisfied they meet our performance requirements. Additionally, we will be enhancing the routine maintenance and testing of our machines."

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz reports

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