I ordered some parts online on Saturday. My Debit card was immediately charged $200 for the purchase. The merchant began processing the order on Monday and charged my card again for the same amount, my balance decreased by $400.

I asked the merchant and they said that the first one was a 'pre-authorization' charge and should drop within 'a couple of days'. I talked to the bank today (Tuesday) and they did not really understand what was going on and said that according to their policies I should file a complaint by tomorrow (48 hours from the transaction).

I am confused by what I should do, why wouldn't the merchant just settle the pre-auth charge? Should I dispute this transaction now or wait a couple of days?

  • 1
    Who are you going to listen to, a stranger (as remarkably bright and good looking as we all are), or the bank that has the power to return your money? Mar 3 '20 at 11:23
  • It is a very common behavior, I see it at least every week, and the first one always disappeared after some days. That doesn't mean you are not cheated.
    – Aganju
    Mar 3 '20 at 16:24

The merchant should have just settled the pre-authorization like you said, but they don't have to. Sometimes they just make a second "real" transaction and let the pre-authorization expire by itself after a couple days. Keep in mind that they haven't actually taken your money until the charge has "posted" (is no longer pending). I would just wait, and make sure that only one of the charges actually posts to your account.

This is a big reason why I will use a credit card and never my debit card for online purchases. Using a CC means that the bank's money is on hold when a charge is pending, not my own.

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