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Trillian's avatar

A company double charged my debit card, what can I do?

Asked by Trillian (21064 points ) January 7th, 2010

I rented a car last weekend and took it back on Monday, 4 Jan. They were supposed to charge me $159.00. I found out the next day that they had actually charged me $318.00. When I called them they first said that they had “released” the other $159.00 and my bank was holding it. My bank said that they transaction was complete as $318.00 and no funds were showing from the company yet. Then the company said the money would be back in my account in up to 10 business days. I’m currently overdrawn because of this. My bank is aware of the problem and has removed the overdraft charges, but I’m still carrying a negative balance until the money goes back. Do I have any legal recourse? The car company is kind of blase about this, but the fact remains that this amount was not supposed to be charged in the first place. Should they not just fork over the $159.00 and get the other back when it hits my account? Doesn’t this violate some kind of law?

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18 Answers

SeventhSense's avatar

Did you use a debit card to fund the transaction? That is why you use a credit card. It will be credited but they always take a large deposit hold on a card when you rent a car.

wonderingwhy's avatar

with the charges reversed the bank can’t do much else. you should have a receipt to take to the car company and their records should verify your charges. it can take time for the company to get you the refund though because it has to go through a management chain. you could go to small claims court over it but do some research on your state/local laws first. if the car company doesn’t seem to be processing, keep calling them to get an update.

HGl3ee's avatar

Call the company and tell them to pull their heads outta their.. um.. rears..

SeventhSense's avatar

Companies do this all the time. They have millions of people’s money earning interest off these 2 week holds. But they do have the right to charge a larger hold in the case that you keep the car longer or take off with it altogether. Some lessons suck.

Trillian's avatar

@SeventhSense Hmmm. That isn’t exactly what happened. They had put the entire balance “on hold” when I took the car, but the girl said specifically that the actual charge on Monday was $159.00. She said the same thing to me when I took the car, because I specifically asked about it. I wanted to be sure how the transaction was going to work. I believe that she made a mistake because when I was inthe office finishing up on Monday, she was doing her thing on the computer and she said “Ohhhh, oh no.” I asked her what and she watched her screen for a minute, then said “Oh, no it’‘s ok”.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @SeventhSense use a credit card. Debit card users complain about having money tied up all of the time, but the thing is that is how it works. Hotels “hold” money in case there is a problem, I think even gas stations hold a higher amount than you might spend on gas, and it takes a a little time for it to actually show as the actual amount you spent (I am not sure about that one).

I will never understand why people use debit cards. Unless you are really bad with money why not hold onto your money for a few weeks and earn some interest? I know we are not earning much the last year in interest, but as a standard practice I have probably made several thousand dollars over the years charging everything on my credit card.

Also, can you get frequent flyer miles on debit cards? Or, money back? Just wondering, I have no idea.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Trillian
Believe me. I’ve been there. You can’t win.
In NY you can’t even rent a car anymore without a credit card.

JLeslie's avatar

Credit cards are not perfect either, but better. If a merchant charges you incorrectly and then does a credit or void, it can take a day or two for it to be removed. But, the thing is with the debit card the merchant can do everything right and you still have money on hold. You have to put yourself in the place of the retailer. Like with a hotel they want to have some sort of security for incidental charges. Your debit card is like cash, so they are holding some of your cash until they know exactly how much you have spent in their hotel and that the room has not bee damaged.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Trillian
They generally take a week’s hold regardless of what they tell you. Every single person that walks through the doors asks the same question and they are not going to be bothered arguing with everyone. Regardless just let it go and chalk it up as experience. Life’s too short. Your time will be better spent trying to find a way to cover the shortage.
Peace out.

Trillian's avatar

Sigh. Why ya gotta lash out? I made a decision years ago not to have a credit card anymore. I’m still recuperating financially from having had to leave a pill head s/o in August. That was why I had to rent the car in the first place. It was a truck. I had to go back and move some more stuff he was keeping as he was being thrown out. The bakers rack wouldn’t fit in my car. And as I said, they held the money over the weekend while I had the car, I expected this, but the charge was twice what the girl stated to me. They ADMITTED to having made a mistake. To me and my bank. So, like I said, my bank is aware and very kindly not charging me overdraft fees. I just never heard of such dishonesty and wondered if it were against the law or something.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Trillian
I’m sorry that life is difficult. I’m not lashing out at you. And you’re ahead of yourself with the recouped overdraft fees. Focus on working towards not having to worry about this in the future. This too shall pass my friend.

Trillian's avatar

@SeventhSense That response was for @JLeslie , who advised me to use a credit card. Also, the statement was meant to be tongue in cheek. I’m working on the nuances of this type of communication. Thanks for taking the time to answer me.

SeventhSense's avatar

Oh Ok. You can use the @ symbol with the name and use ~ for sarcasm.
And @JLeslie is the last person who will lash out at you. She is actually very considerate

Trillian's avatar

@SeventhSense, Is there a symbol for humor? Sarcasm seems adversarial to me. Am I thinking incorrectly? Do people take the ~ sarcasm as being funny or combative? I don’t want to come off as combative or defensive.

JLeslie's avatar

@Trillian Sorry if I came across as harsh, it was not my intention. I was just pointing out the benefits of using a credit card. In the media all we here all of the time is cut up your credit cards. I take issue with that advice, I have said this many times on fluther.

I have total empathy for your predicament, because it seems because of the error the rental car company made you are very inconvenienced. Unfortunately, there is nothing they can do to help you because of how the system is set up. It is completely unfair. I personally cannot see any reason why these things do not happen in real time, I would assume we have the technology for that. Also, it is not common knowledge that the banks do this with debit cards, so most people find out how you did, at a bad time when money is tight.

Also, I just reread what I wrote and I think maybe you were offended when I wrote I will never understand why people use debit cards. Unless you are really bad with money that also was not intended for YOU, I should have substituted the word you with they, I was referring to the PEOPLE in the beginning of the sentence, a general statement.

I’m glad you said something so I could clarify. Online communication can be misconstrued so easily, hard to know for sure a persons tone or intention.

SeventhSense's avatar

Anytime. :)

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