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Foodies and Credit Cards

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I am asking for your opinion: Lunch at a less than memorable establishment with great friends that we have not seen for months. Friendship made the meal tolerable. I paid the check and add a generous tip. About 2-3 hours later, I happened to check my bank account. The bill which was $96.53 was withdrawn and a second withdrawal for $965.33. Certainly, I believed this to be a mistake that could be corrected by a simple review of the receipts from the last few hours and a quick chargeback. NOPE. After speaking to two managers at the restaurant, I learned that the waitress knew she made the error but decided not to tell me or bring me a copy of the voided charge. I have spent the last 24 hours attempting to have my monies redeposit into my account. I have spoken to 4-5 bank associates and the last person realized that this is crazy and put the money back on my account. I lost several hours on the phone, missed dinner plans, late to a play (that I thankfully paid for prior to this), late to morning meetings because I'm on hold with the bank, and stressed!! The whole incident left a bad taste in my mouth (and the food was not good enough for a return visit anyway) and enough anxiety to decrease my life expectancy by 1 month. What would you do at this point?

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  1. From the way you tell the story, sounds like you were using a [i]debit[/i] card instead of a credit card.

    Debit cards have some pretty big hazards, this one among them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wayne keyser

      If you used a debit card, there is very little recourse. If you use a credit card, charge backs are pretty easy and fast.

      Always use a credit card for the consumer protection they offer.

      1. re: Sid Post

        I suspect it depends on your bank. My bank treats my debit card the same way it treats my credit card.

    2. the keys on the credit card doohicky. . . they stick sometimes. (gotta tell the staff esp cocktail servers not to touch it with sticky fingers).

      this error should have been caught by management when closing out everyone's tabs and doing the end of the evening paperwork, and corrected at that time before the charges were finalized. sounds like mgmt prefers to cover their own butts and throw the server under the bus in this instance. very unprofessional indeed. sucks for you of course-- my sympathies & hope it can be worked out quickly.

      1. I can understand the posting within hours, they probably did a batch run of all their CC receipts and yours was included. On the charge error, all you have to do is call the CC company and dispute the charge, the CC company will flag it and not authorize payment until resolved.

        1. what bank do you do business with?

          i'm a Bank of America customer and all disputed charges are immediately reversed and investigated by the bank. i've had to do this three times in the past two years and i've always gotten the call from BoA in a day or two telling me it was all set and settled in my favor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ScubaSteve

            BoA is great about disputed charges. I've only had an issue one time, but had no problem getting the charges removed.

          2. Hang on a second. Maybe I'm reading this incorrectly, but it sounds to me as though the waitress inadvertently processed a $965.33 debit, then immediately voided the transaction, but "decided not to tell me or bring me a copy of the voided charge."

            If that's the case, she made an honest mistake and did what she could to fix it immediately. Your only complaint appears to be that the bank processed the debit transaction instantly, but took a day or so to credit the money back after that transaction was voided.

            How is this the restaurant's fault?

            1. Your description of events indicates you used a debit card, which seem to be emerging as the plastic currency of choice quickly. I won't ever put a debit card in a stranger's hand. My only credit card is American Express, which does a wonderful job of resolving disputes, and is truly a cardholder's advocate.
              Question for my enlightenment: how does one pay a restaurant bill with a debit card, which I thought requires you to enter a PIN number into a device? I think you may be bringing a vulnerability of debit cards to the attention of many here, unfortunately at the expense of all your aggravation, stress, and time.

              25 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                debit cards are treated as credit cards by most all restos. you either need a signature or PIN for them to process correctly.

                1. re: Veggo

                  I don't know about other banks, but I have a choice and use my debit card exclusively as a credit card. I have trouble remembering pin numbers and don't see the logic to writing it down and carrying it with me.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    Our "ATM" card is a debit card also. So at the bank we enter a pin but if we use it elsewhere, as is stated above, it just requires a signature. Debit cards provide almost no protection legally. One's bank may do the honorable thing but there's little legal protection.

                    As to what the OP should do at this point? Well, s/he has gotten it straightened out, won't be going to that restaurant again so clearly isn't interested in any comps. If there are any bank charges for this, I'm sure those can be recovered from the restaurant. OP has vented his/her spleen here, to family, friends, associates, everywhere. There IS nothing else to do. It was a mistake. Let it go.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      I don't use my American Express as a credit card. My debts are paid fully at the end of the month...unlike credit cards where portions of debts can be paid monthly with interest.
                      That being said....American Express, as wonderful as it is, isn't perfect.
                      Debit cards are not credit cards Using a debit card requires money in the person's bank account in order to cover the charge. If the money isn't there the card can't be used unlike the credit card.
                      I have never had a problem with my debit card that wasn't rectified immediately by my bank.

                      1. re: latindancer

                        Just because you pay your balance at the end of the month doesn't mean your AMEX is anything other than a credit card. They're extending you credit from the date of purchase until the end of the month.

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          I didn't understand that either. But maybe there's something not explained/understood.

                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            Many decades using an American Express Charge Card.
                            There's a difference.

                            1. re: latindancer

                              I too have an Amex card. What IS the difference? We pay our balance in full but it's a credit card not a debit. I SO don't understand. Please explain.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                There are those who claim that the term "credit card" should only be applied to revolving accounts - that is, accounts that have a minimum payment of less than the statement balance, with interest charged on the unpaid balance. They call Amex and similar cards that require payment of the entire statement balance "charge cards."

                                IMHO it's a false distinction. Either way, the lender is extending credit. The only difference is the terms on which it has to be repaid.

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  I agree with you. I believe it's called an "unsecured loan." And, BTW, we have an Amex that is a "revolving" account with 0% interest for the first year plus. We got it in order to leave our IRA alone in these lose-lose times. Another, BTW, I never use "IMHO" just "IMO." Not a darn thing humble about MY opinions :)

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    I use the H ironically.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Hi,

                                      Just wanted to contribute.

                                      When you use a debit/credit / bank card and don't use a pin the proprieter can legally take $50 over the purchase price and hold for 3 buisness days.I have been bit by that dog before.I live in Fla.Not sure if this law varies by state.

                                      Robin

                                2. re: latindancer

                                  Check http://www.americanexpress.com - even THEY call it a credit card across the top banner of the window. It says "American Express Credit Cards, Travel Services, and Business Credit Cards."

                                  And Amex extends credit to pay over time as well. I've asked to "pay over time" on several large work-related purchases. No problem. They charge an interest rate on anything not paid for within that billing cycle.

                                  So as alanbarnes said - just because you pay the full balance at the end of the billing cycle, doesn't mean it isn't a credit card.

                                  Many decades using an Amex credit card. There's no difference.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Yes, Amex has credit cards now (you can carry a balance, you have to pay high interest rates). The original green or gold cards were charge cards (you had to pay the balance on the due date, if you didn't, you didn't get charged interest but you did get nasty letters).

                                    Obviously AMEX realized there was much more money to be made in interest charges and changed the structure.

                                    1. re: hsk

                                      However, as alanbarnes said above - the company is STILL extending the cardholder credit until payment is made. Even with the original green and gold cards. So how was it *not* a credit card? Amex essentially handed you a temporary loan of money. That's giving you credit.

                                      1. re: hsk

                                        "The original green or gold cards were charge cards".

                                        Exactly, hsk, thank you.
                                        I have the original Amex charge card, 30 years actually, and I have no idea what their current credit cards involve. I'm not interested.
                                        If I go on a vacation for 2 months, and charge everything to the card, I pay the full amount at the end of the month.

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          I have an Amex as well but these days there is always the option to carry a balance. I don't know if it's truly just a charge card any more.

                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                        Regardless of how you're choosing to define it...
                                        I have one of the original charge cards and it's the policy of my card to pay it off at the end of the month, not a choice.
                                        I don't have a choice.
                                        Hsk has explained it clearly and correctly.

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          And if one DOESN'T pay it in full, do they come to one's house and take the first-born child?!?!?

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Exactly. You do have a choice. They might not have an immediate interest amount charged on the non-payment, but they allow moving a purchase or two to pay-over-time. Even when my original green card was a "pay it off at the end of the month", it was easily switchable to a pay-over-time situation on a single purchase or two - just place the phone call.

                                            So there *is* a choice; it's just a preference to pay it all off each month.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              I don't know what you're talking about but I'll take your word for the type of card you have.
                                              There's no choice with the American Express card I have. it's a different type of card.
                                              American Express, historically, was a charge card, for certain people, that was paid, in full, at the end of the month.
                                              It didn't matter how much was charged....one dollar or $100,000. It had to be paid off at the end of the month.
                                              I'm not sure why this is so hard for some to grasp but that's the way it was/is.
                                              Things have changed with American Express, as hsk stated and I'm not inclined to comment on monthly payments because it's not the type of card I have and don't have the choice.

                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                I think you've missed LW's point. Were you NOT to pay it in full, you can easily arrange with Amex for temporary changes to the pay-in-full requirement. You and everyone else with that type of card still have options. As I asked above, what are they going to do to you??? BTW, your tone is a little off-putting.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  AmEx, which for decades was a pay-it-off-at-the-end-of-the-month CREDIT card, began, several years ago, offering cardholders the option of carrying a balance with interest expenses. Cardholders could opt in or do nothing. For those who "did nothing", the balance is due monthly. For those who opted in and carry balances, they are going to ...paay....to ....plaay.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Thank you, c oliver. That was exactly my point. Everyone has the choice. Perhaps latindancer didn't way back when s/he first got the Amex green card, but s/he does now. Just because s/he chooses NOT to exercise that choice is a different matter altogether.

                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Just a sidenote...
                                                  You may be thinking people have the choice of whether or not to have a AMEX charge card or credit card.
                                                  I suppose this may happen now, I don't know because I've always had the charge card.
                                                  I do know companies who offer the charge card are very strict with their distribution.
                                                  There are several strict quidelines the person applying must qualify for..at least it historically was. I don't know what the application is like now.

                                  2. Oops, just reread your post. You wrote "copy of voided charge." So was it a credit card or debit card?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Don't credit card issuers batch charges and invoice monthly? I didn't think they could drill into your bank balance without some action on your part, to pay it. That the OP saw the debit within hours, isn't that only possible with a debit card?
                                      I am more concerned now because I have 2 debit cards I didn't ask for but came with deposit relationships. The daily maximums on each are frighteningy high, much more than I would spend in a day anywhere on earth. I asked both banks to lower the maximum in the event of fraudulent use, and both responded that they don't have that flexibility, but that I am "protected" in the event of fraud. I would not want to have to put that promise to a test. Sure, I can leave them home or cut them up, but for foreign travel they are absolutely the best for getting cash from ATM's.

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        Given the circumstances, you should ask your bank to spell out (i.e., give you in writing) the terms of your fraud protection. Traditionally, debit cards don't do much to cushion the customer from fraudulent use, but given their ubiquity and the popularity of using them for transactions with businesses that take MC/Visa, some banks are offering the protections MC/Visa do (cf. Caroline1's post above), where the cardholder is only liable for the first $50 of fraudulent activity. (In reality, most issuers seem to fully cancel fraudulent and contested charges.)

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          My bank tried to send me a debit cards and I told them I didn't want it and only wanted an ATM card. They sent me an ATM only card. Banks must get some kind of fee from the retailer for the use of their debit cards. Certain places will take an ATM card with a PIN, but I don't believe you can "sign" for something with it.

                                      2. You're writing this on a Sunday. It's not a banking business day. I've had the same thing happen to me.
                                        The charge(s) you used to pay with the meal (judging by the immediate debit from your checking account) are pending. The restaurant, when you use a debit card, simply puts it through to authorize the charge. The restaurant, tomorrow, will put the correct amount through ($96.53) and the other charge will simply drop off. The associate you spoke with today put it back in today but it would have happened automatically tomorrow. You're not using a credit card, you're using a debit card. They're different.
                                        It wasn't the restaurant's fault. It's a stupid mistake on their part but nothing would have come of this.

                                        1. How does a credit card charge show up in your bank account 2-3 hours later? Mine usually don't show up for 2-3 days.

                                          I've heard of credit cards where the preauthorized charges show up right away, and people get upset because the charge is for more than what was paid (POS terminals in restaurants preauthorize for 20 to 25% more than the amount of the bill), but presumably there's some indication that it's not the actual settled amount. It's not a big deal unless you're really close to your credit limit, an error like this will freeze your available credit. Otherwise just wait a few days and you'll see what's actually posted to your account is the real amount, not the preauthorized one.

                                          33 Replies
                                          1. re: hsk

                                            Maybe it's just me, but $965 instead of $96 is a pretty big deal for a lot of people who don't have huge credit lines or bank accounts (depending on whether a debit/credit is used). For the most part, it's more like $75 at a gas station or something similar, not a difference in the factor of 10.

                                            1. re: queencru

                                              I'll second the notion that $965 instead of $96 is a big deal. I primarily use my debit/check card for everything except purchases like airfare or hotels where the protection of a credit card is more important to me. I'm very, very careful about keeping my account balanced, I always know how much is available and never make purchase I can't cover. Between paychecks it is not unusual for my account balance to be high enough that I would make a $100 purchase, but an accidental $1000 charge would clean me out.

                                              1. re: mpjmph

                                                I wasn't suggesting that $965 instead of $96 isn't a big deal if it was charged and needed to be reversed, I was just saying that I thought it might just be a preauth amount that wouldn't actually be charged when the POS was settled. In that case it's only a big deal if the $900 in credit limit on your card for a day or two is important.

                                                Speaking of hotels, they regularly preauthorize huge amounts (like thousands) on your card when you check in, and only settle the final amount (which may only be hundreds) when you check out. If you don't have enough in your credit limit you may find charges in restaurants, etc. get declined while on your trip.

                                                1. re: hsk

                                                  Some (though in my experience, not many) restaurants preauthorize for 20% more than the actual bill because they want to make sure you have enough funds available to cover the bill and tip.

                                                  A $1000 preauthorization on a $100 restaurant bill is not reasonable or normal. If a restaurant routinely preauthorized the bill + 900% I would not go there, ever. This case was clearly not a preauthorization, as the OP said the restaurant manager admitted it was an accidental overcharge.

                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                    "A $1000 preauthorization on a $100 restaurant bill is not reasonable or normal. If a restaurant routinely preauthorized the bill + 900% I would not go there, ever. This case was clearly not a preauthorization, as the OP said the restaurant manager admitted it was an accidental overcharge."

                                                    I disagree, I think the manager was just saying that the wrong amount (the preauthorization) was input with the swipe. You can't seriously believe anyone would do that on purpose, come on.

                                                    The preauthorization amount has nothing to do with the restaurant itself. If you come in and your bill is $100, I swipe your card for $100 and it tells me authorized or not, with no mention of the amount above $100 that it has authorized. As far as a $965 swipe vs. a $96 swipe, I think it's pretty clear that this was a simple error on the servers part, likely a misplaced decimal point, rather than an attempt to mess with the customer. The server probably didn't mention it because the mistake was immediately deleted and they thought it truly was (but they were wrong). Those preauthorization amounts generally stick around for a day before they settle into the final amount. Go ahead and check your statement online right after you dine out with a credit card, you'll see the preauthorized amount there. Then it will go away.

                                                    1. re: mpjmph

                                                      Any time a restaurant runs a credit (or debit) card, the bank or card company treats it as a preauthorization. Think about it - you decide on the amount you're going to tip **after** the card has been run. There is no charge, so there's no overcharge. In this case, there was a $965 preauthorization.

                                                      And it's also pretty clear that it was an accident. The server tries to preauthorize $96.53 and inadvertently double-bumped the "3" button, for $965.33. Certainly not normal, but not necessarily unreasonable; it's a mistake that anybody could make. Moreover, the OP noted that the server immediately voided the transaction. So s/he did everything possible to correct the mistake.

                                                      The problem here isn't with the restaurant, it's with the bank. If you've got plenty of money in the account or plenty of available credit, then waiting a day or three for a $1000 hold to get cleared up isn't a big deal. But if you're skating close to the edge, it could be huge. I mean, what if the OP hadn't checked the balance online and the card was declined at another restaurant the next day? What're you gonna do, wash dishes? Worse yet, if it's a debit card, the bank could bounce checks until the preauthorization was removed. Bad juju.

                                                      Banks are good about freezing up our money instantaneously and giving it back in their own sweet time. They get notice that you **might** be spending a hundred bucks at a restaurant, and you're not going to touch that money until they're sure of the exact terms of the transaction. But when a merchant posts a credit, or the customer deposits an out-of-state check? Most banks are going to treat those funds as an interest-free loan for as long as they can.

                                                      The customer is the innocent victim here. The restaurant made an honest mistake and tried to fix it. But the bank dragged its feet putting the money back into the account. That's where the fingers should be pointing.

                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                        I guess what I meant to say was that the difference between the bill and the amount charged was clearly not due to a preauthorization intended to cover the tip. I agree that 965.33 vs 96.53 is obviously an accidental key stroke, I would forgive a restaurant I really liked for an accident like that, though I would appreciate a heads up. I understand why restaurants and other business preauthorize for more than the actual bill, I have no problem with it if it's done within a reasonable range.

                                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                                          So many comments here underscore the simplicity and safety of paying with cash. And the little extra profitability to your favorite restaurants is not a bad thing during trying times.
                                                          For credit card mileage and point junkies, I suggest methadone.
                                                          For those charging meals to be paid with money they have not yet earned, I suggest staying home and eating a ham sandwich.

                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                            "For credit card mileage and point junkies, I suggest methadone."

                                                            How's methadone going to pay my airfare to Hong Kong?

                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                              Methadone won't, but you will. Credit card premiums are a refund to you of a small portion of fees and interest you have paid, or for which you have liability to pay in the future.

                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                Only once in all the years I've had a credit card have I had to pay any interest on my cards and that was due to an oversight on my part. If you are vigilant and take care of your finances credit cards are more then a convenience they can be very beneficial.

                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                  Your discipline is admirable; it means that I and others are subsidizing your plane ticket because our (and your) $95 dinner bill is $97 as a result of the "transactional friction" of credit cards.
                                                                  Credit card premium programs have 2 purposes: to encourage the exclusive use of their card, and to encourage non-essential purchases. The average US household has $7700 in credit card debt. Tick. Tick.

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    I'm not sure the acceptance of credit cards necessarily increases the cost of the meal. There's no doubt it creates an inefficiency that increases the overall cost of the transaction, but you have to compare it to the inefficiencies created by other payment forms.

                                                                    Cash payments come with a risk of theft by employees and third parties. Those risks can be insured against, but that costs money, too. Checks come with a risk that the instrument may not be collectible or that the owner will incur collection costs. I wonder what happens when you take those risks, spread them over a large number of transactions, and see how they compare to gross revenue.

                                                                    With credit cards, the business owner pays 1-3% of the total transaction price in exchange for a high degree of certainty of getting collecting. It would be interesting to compare those transactions costs to the more erratic costs involved with cash and checks.

                                                                2. re: Veggo

                                                                  Or that they're gambling you'll pay. Nothing wrong with using a card that has a minimal fee and a good rewards program. So long as you pay it off in full at the end of each month, you win.

                                                                  I use mine for everything. In the last year or so it's paid for first class upgrades to and from Hawai'i, a weekend at the Fairmont in SF, and a couple of free flights within the continental US. Not bad for the ~$35 investment.

                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                    It appears that those who are solvent and savvy with their credit cards can benefit, indirectly enough as not to challenge a conscience, at the expense of the ignorant, destitute, and reckless. These plane tickets don't fall out of the sky.

                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      In cases like this I so wish I had a mustache I could wax and twirl.

                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                        I like to provoke fair debate about worthwhile topics, but your mustache metaphor flew over me, perhaps bound for Hong Kong.

                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          http://www.hotink.com/wacky/dastrdly/...

                                                              2. re: Veggo

                                                                But, Veg, I thought you said that you use Amex. Like us, I know you pay yours off.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  C, my feckless contribution to this thread is to advise the innocent to steer clear of the siren song of tempting credit traps. As you know, I am an economist by profession, and I have strong feelings about those who exploit the misbegotten.

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    I did NOT know that about you. Need to do some snooping obviously. But, yes, there are so many people who don't get it. I'm also conflicted about the division of fault - between creditors who mislead and creditees (is that a word?) who make foolish decisions. We're dealing with an elderly friend who will pay $50 on a $100 credit card bill with a 20% rate even though she can well pay it off. A lack of savvy is a dangerous thing.

                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      The "ignorant, destitute and reckless" are being exploited by the lenders, not their fellow cardholders. To the extent the "solvent and savvy" are taking advantage of anyone, they're taking advantage of those same lenders.

                                                                      I'll admit that I fully exploit the advantages offered by the card issuers. But they're big boys, and can take care of themselves. To the extent that my benefits are drawn from their profits on the purchase transactions I make, I stand by my comment above - credit cards have transaction costs, but so do cash, checks, and house accounts. To the extent that the benefits exceed those profits, well, I'm not going to stay up late worrying about it.

                                                                      That said, I'm a huge advocate of lending reform. Exploitative credit practices, and the all-too-common lack of ability to say no to easy money, are what put our economy in the position it's in right now.

                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                        Such a useful sidebar discussion! I hope some mothers can teach .....their children well.....
                                                                        CSNY

                                                                  2. re: Veggo

                                                                    I would like to go cash, but I am a single mom with teens. I use a credit card for restaurant meals, unless it's something quite inexpensive, because I do not want to chance having large amounts of money in my purse for various reasons.

                                                                    I do pay my credit bill every month and have excellent credit, so the money is not the issue. On my end, it's safety. My card does not have points as far as I know, so I do not benefit from using a credit card. I just know that I can pay and not worry about a mugging etc.

                                                                    1. re: CyndiA

                                                                      Please, please remember that a mugger doesn't know what, if anything, is in your purse, so the main thing is to stay safe. Also nowadays, stolen credit and debit cards are easily sold also. So, stay safe and eat good food :)

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        It is sad when the Solomon cut-the-baby-in-half compromise seems like the best way to live in a credit-dominated world.

                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          c oliver - I agree in terms of what may or may not be in my purse. But, I would be an easier target as a 5'4" female with only younger people with me generally.

                                                                          My credit card company is excellent. Someone used my number (idenity theft), and the credit card company took care of everything on that when I called.

                                                                          Veggo - I am not trying to argue on this. I do not spend beyond my means so could and would go cash. Sometimes I do pocket cash or have some in my shoe etc. which is a sad way to do things, but I know if someone says: Give me that purse . . . well, it's not worth getting hurt or killed over. The cash would be gone. My credit card company, I could call.

                                                                          But, yes, I would just like to pay cash and do when it's down the block here in a small town.

                                                                          1. re: CyndiA

                                                                            CyndiA, "do when it's down the block here in a small town". I love it.
                                                                            I sure miss those times in those towns. It's delightful that you have one.
                                                                            Keep enjoying , Veggo

                                                                    2. re: Veggo

                                                                      V

                                                                      If the definition of methadone includes 2 tickets on a 14 day cruise in the mediterranean, then jfood agrees. the pleasure of travelling with no cash expediture is a major inhale-exhale, and smile.

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        I have been enlightened by others that the expense of some of the premiums in cc programs do not all come out of your hide in various forms, and playing the game smartly can be advantageous. Cheers to those more adept than me, and enjoy a fortnight of halcyon seas!

                                                        2. re: hsk

                                                          I believe the OP was using a debit card not a credit card.
                                                          Not being a debit card user, I imagine that a debit card purchase the funds are debited from your account immediately.

                                                          These days you can write a check to a business and they can "clear" that check immediately and debit your account and get their funds.

                                                          1. re: monku

                                                            As I said,when you use a debit card and do not PIN it,the proprieter can take as much as they want over and above the amt of the purchase to cover themselves.In Fla they can hold the $ for 3 days.

                                                            R

                                                          2. re: hsk

                                                            OP used a "debit/check" card not a "credit" card.
                                                            The bank debited their checking account almost immediately if they were able to see it show up within 2-3 hours. Debit/check cards have no "credit limit," it's based on the available funds in your checking account, that they'll either put a hold on or in this case they took the money out of the OP's account.

                                                            Most people have a higher credit limit balance than they do checking account balance. So pre-authorization on a "credit" card is almost meaningless unless you're near your credit limit.

                                                            Use a "debit/check" card for a rental car deposit and they can put a $300-$500 hold on your funds until the car is returned, then it might take up to two weeks to get those funds released back to your account.

                                                          3. I'm just curious what this has to do with "foodies", and not just "someone who happens to go to a resto"?

                                                            Also, I'm surprised that no one has made a comment along the lines of, "Well, servers had a hard job and make peanuts, it's good to help them out like that now and then"

                                                            1. While reading through all of this, I kept thinking it would have been nice if the waitress had been up front with her error. Even though she corrected it, I would have wanted to know how my finances had been inadvertently fiddled with. It may not have made any difference in the end game, but it struck me as slightly suspicious.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: cuccubear

                                                                THIS WAS MY POINT OF CONTENTION - why didn't the waitress tell me about this mistake . Regardless to the use of a debit or credit card, why not tell the consumer. I gave her a tip...I think I want it back.

                                                                1. re: 2cooks5eaters

                                                                  Well, then go there and say that.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Not worth my time to return. But I have spoken to the manager about my concerns. I learned that I'm blessed to have that money without needing it immediately. Integrity is an internal characteristic that the waitress did not have.
                                                                    Thanks for your input.

                                                              2. After reading this article I'm glad I don't have a debit card and wonder why anyone would want one.
                                                                http://www.pirg.org/consumer/banks/de...

                                                                The fraud limit on a "credit" card is $50, on a debit card it could be as much as $500 if you don't notify the issuer within 2 business days. The other downside with a debit card is someone gets a hold of your card and they could drain your checking account before you know it. A pre-authorization could block your funds and if you're close to your checking account limit deny further purchases or create overdrafts in your checking account.

                                                                You have more protection with a "credit" card than a debit card. If there's a problem with your "debit" card you're fighting to get back your own money. As opposed to a problem with a "credit" card you're only disputing how much you owe the credit card issuer.

                                                                Using a "debit" card can be riskier than using a "credit" card. They aren't the same things.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: monku

                                                                  I've had fraud committed on my debit card....the bank put the money back in immediately and settled it afterward.
                                                                  There's no problem with debit cards and my bank.

                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                    The OP said it took at least 24 hours to get their account straightened out and the money put back and there was no fraud involved.

                                                                    Reading your post above you use an AX credit card and pay the balance off every month. I'm all for letting someone giving me a 30 day free float too. I'm curious why do you choose to use a "debit" card? I'm just wondering if maybe I'm missing something and I should have one too.

                                                                2. So has the OP not shown up again???

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Sorry, I didn't realize the discussion had reached this momentum. I'm amazed by the responses to my presented issue.

                                                                  2. Process of Transaction:

                                                                    1.Credit Card Auth
                                                                    2.Credit Card Final.

                                                                    What happens is the server types in the amount to be charged and swipes for an initial auth. If on a weekend, it wont clear up till monday if they put the wrong amount it. Then when you're signed they close the card to the correct amount. I think what happened is that she authorized your card for some obscene amount on money, then when she realized it she re authorized your card. It happens all the time, however dependent on where and when, and what type of card. The funds could be held for up to 48 hours.

                                                                    There are also two big differences. One is an in processing card for the wrong amount and the other is a transacted card for the wrong amount. One just holds the funds till the close of the night at the batch posting. The other is really charging you the wrong amount. It's important for managers at restaurants to know what happened to rectify the situation.

                                                                    1. Were you able to settle the problem?
                                                                      I know how frustrating something like that is and I'm wondering if everything turned out the way it was supposed to.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                        Money returned after hours on the phone with bank. Integrity of waitress remains questionable. I am grateful for the responses and variety of views expressed. Thanks

                                                                        1. re: 2cooks5eaters

                                                                          Glad you got the money back. I hope the waitress honestly thought the void had taken care of it and was not just trying to hide the error.