Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Is Only A Test

I find it frustrating that gasoline stations can charge $75.00 to your debit card, just so they can be sure you have enough money to cover the cost of a tank of gas. The $75.00 disappears within a day or so and it does not remain on the permanent record. But what if I had $30.00 in my checking account and I wanted to put $15.00 worth of gas in the tank. Wouldn’t the $75.00 “test” withdrawal mean I go without gas?

On multiple occasions, we’ve had our bank freeze our checking account because in too short a span of time we have pumped gas twice. The actual gasoline charges show up from two different stations, perhaps one in Rhode Island, another in Massachusetts. But two $75.00 charges also appear. Those look as if we had bought gas in another part of the country, simultaneous with the other purchases. The bank’s computers read all of this data and raise a red flag - which we absolutely appreciate. But without those two “test” charges we wouldn’t be on the phone with the bank trying to sort out legitimate from fraudulent.

I know when the gasoline prices hit the $4.00 a gallon mark back in 2008 or so, there were many “gas and dash” thefts from gas stations. But there ought to be a better way to handle these transactions now.


GAIL said...

Very strange, I haven't run into this at all in Georgia. I always use my debit card, do you suppose that makes a difference?

Ms Brown Mouse said...

That’s outrageous, amazing, So very, very glad that sort of silliness does not happen here!

Kate said...

I have had it happen before. It is only for debit cards. They are the easiest to scam from, so banks red flag them. I always use a credit card when I get gas. Also, I most often go to full serve (only full serve allowed in Watertown) so I just pay cash. I love my gas station crew! Is it bad when they know you...oh no its only bad when the liquor store guy knows you haha.

Pink Granite said...

Hi Gail -
I'm glad it hasn't happened to you!
It makes me wonder if there are state differences or perhaps corporate differences, because we use our debit card for all gasoline purchases.

Hi DMM -
Australians must just be more trustworthy when it comes to gas purchases!

Hi Kate -
Well that's the best explanation I've seen - thanks!

And that's fascinating that local by-laws mandate full serve gas stations in Watertown.

LOL! Liquor stores and bars are a problem - especially when you walk in and everyone yells "Norm!" or "Kate!" as the case may be!

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Well, we are a lovely bunch of folk, that's for sure :)

Ms Brown Mouse said...

O, also, I haven't actually bought petrol myself for abut 150 years! So, I could be wrong, but Mr Brown's never mentioned it and it's the sort of thing he'd go on and on about :)

Peruby said...

You can go inside to pay. They will charge you the exact amount.