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Why Debit Cards are Tools of Satan
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Old 07-08-2006, 12:15 AM
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Default Why Debit Cards are Tools of Satan

I just had a spectacularly sucky customer, in the best tradition of so many described here. I mean, it was classic.

The issue? His wife had checked into the hotel while he was still en route, and had allowed her credit card to be swiped and authorized for charges. The first that I heard of this was when he stormed up here and slammed down a new card for us to charge because the room was only to be held on his wife's card -- which turned out to be a debit card.

The problem with debit cards is that once the money is authorized for charges, if you don't charge your room on that card, the money is still held in limbo for five to ten days.

He knew how debit cards worked. He works for the bank. And I was going to release these charges right now.

"I'll do what I can, sir."

"No, you'll do it and you'll do it now."

We went back and forth for a bit before I finally got him to go away. I called the service that handles our credit card transactions, only to be told that because the cardholder (Mr. (censored)'s wife) doesn't have cancellation insurance or some such, there's nothing our service can do. The cardholder has to call their bank.

I had already told him he might have to call the bank, by the way, only to be told, "No, you'll fix it and you'll fix it now."

I called his room and told him what our service had relayed to me. He responded that on Monday they'll contact the fraud division of their bank and fix us good. It's an errant charge, and all.

The problem here is that there is no charge, much less an errant one. The money is being held, but it hasn't been spent. I dearly, dearly hope that his bank will be kind enough to inform him of that.

Lastly, if he works for the bank, he ought to know that there is a way to contact someone, even after closing in matters like this. But, maybe they don't do that at the bank where he works. Just because it's common practice at most every other bank in the country, who am I to judge? If he wants to wait until Monday to fix the problem, which could have been fixed half an hour ago if he wasn't such a (bleep), that's quite alright.
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Last edited by Antisocial_Worker; 07-08-2006 at 12:17 AM.

  #2  
Old 07-08-2006, 12:27 AM
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I would have responded, "No, you will SHUT UP, and you will shut up RIGHT NOW and listen to me!" in my loudest, most take-control voice.
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2006, 12:50 AM
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I found that out the hard way myself. But geez - he had no reason to be such an ass about it.

Hubby & I went to a comedy show and they offered a cheaper rate if you stayed at the hotel so you can get as drunk as you want and not worry about driving home. We don't have CCs anymore - just our debit card.

We were surprised to find that there was a "holding fee" for almost $500 on our card for over a week - even though the comedy package/room was $210. So we had to pay rent late, and got 3 overdraft fees for automatic payment bills that tried to deduct from our account but the money wasn't accessible. What was sposed to be a romantic night out was horrible. And the hotel had no running water but didn't tell us until after we paid and checked in.

The next business day I called my bank asking for a detailed list of such rules and policies and they told me there wasn't any.

Now I just don't use my debit card for anything other than groceries and small purchases. I can see why the guy was upset - but being he works for the bank - you'd think he'd know his own companies policies, and you'd think he'd understand it's not the hotel's fault.
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  #4  
Old 07-08-2006, 12:54 AM
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That's the thing... If he worked for the bank and knew their policies, wouldn't he know how this whole thing works? I get the feeling that this is one of those people who threatens to sue because they're a lawyer, when in reality if they actually were a lawyer they'd know their case has absolutely zero merit, and wouldn't go around threatening hapless employees with such stupid crap.
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Old 07-08-2006, 03:12 AM
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Why do they put in holding fees that are larger then the agreed upon cost, in the first place?
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2006, 03:24 AM
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I know for gas stations, when you use debit at the pump, they preauthorize an amount that should be enough to fill a tank (even at today's prices) just in case you wish to buy that much.

I imagine that a hotel checks the card for enough funds to cover any possible extra costs such as room service, renting special programs on the tv, and etc...

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Old 07-08-2006, 04:14 AM
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This can work in reverse, too.

Gas stations like 76 and Safeway will put only a $1 hold on your card until they charge the entire amount. If people were tight on cash, they could theorhetically spend the money reserved for the gas.

Ay!

  #8  
Old 07-08-2006, 06:57 AM
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What our property actually does is hold the amount it would take to completely pay for the say plus a little extra -- about twenty dollars extra. The problem here is that Mr. (censored) and his lovely wife had booked a room for two nights. The amount trapped in limbo is the amount it would take to pay for both nights, plus tax, plus the extra in case of overrruns.

But what it boils down to is him not believing me and not listening when I told him it's a problem on his end, and he'll have to call the bank.
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