Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Hazards of Debit Cards

We use our debit cards for 90% of our day to day transactions. We like debit cards because we can keep track of our spending, we avoid debt by avoiding credit cards and by spending present dollars, we stick to our budget and our allowance system since we are limited in what we can spend.  90% of the time our debit card system works well, but everyone once in a while something goes wrong and since our debit cards are tied to our checking accounts, when things go wrong they can go way wrong.

Mr. Sam recently ordered car parts (for our antique car, his hobby) that totaled about $300.   Since the purchase exceeded $300, we discussed and agreed that he could go forward with the purchase (one of our rules requires us to discuss and agree on any purchase over $300).  He waited until the second half of the month to make the purchase so that he would have more than enough money to go forward with the purchase.

Unfortunately, the car part company put the $300 transaction through three times on his debit card which triggered an overdraft to our main account.  Ugh!  I was furious and disappointed and I really want to call the company and chew them out.  Luckily, Mr. Sam noticed the problem the day it happened so he got on the phone with Wells Fargo and the car company to work a solution.  The car company had reversed the two extra charges and Wells Fargo agreed to forego the overdraft fee, but it took a number of calls and about and hour of time.


John @ Married (with Debt) said...

Wow, that sounds awful. One of those things that can't truly be undone. Hope you get it straightened out.

Sam said...

Thanks John, Mr. Sam did get it all sorted out, the second and third charge were already cancelled by the car part company but we had to get the bank to (1) believe it and (2) refund the overdraft charge. Thankfully Wells Fargo came around and no damage was done (and no charges) but it could have been worse if Mr. Sam had not discovered the triple charge early on in the game.