28

I purchased a laptop online through the official website, my card was charged immediately after I made payment. The item arrived around two weeks after that.

I checked my banking app and discovered that the money was returned two days before the item arrived saying that it's a reversal payment. I have contacted the company from whom I purchased the laptop and they said that they have received the payment and that I should refer to my bank. My bank said to contact the seller as they have forwarded the payment and suspected an error on the company's behalf.

It has been three months and I have not been charged even a single penny. How should I proceed?

Additional note: I never initiated any return procedure even by accident since after finalizing the payment I never checked on the status of my order and I was notified of the products arrival through my mobile phone.

6
  • 29
    Is it a debit-card or a credit card? you attached both tags. Nov 29 '20 at 13:09
  • I actually have no idea but I guess it's a virtual debit card since I have to have the amount before I can use it, I am very new to this kind of things.
    – kroent
    Nov 30 '20 at 14:11
  • 3
    A debit card removes the money immediately from a linked bank account. A credit card requires a monthly payment. Nov 30 '20 at 14:40
  • I recommend you check your credit rating at the major houses (Equifax, Experian, or equivalent in your home country) to make sure nobody has filed a report on this purchase. Dec 1 '20 at 13:12
  • On a related note, a few months ago Amazon billed my card for a purchase I made in late 2017! After quite some investigation we determined that Amazon had shipped my purchase back then without ever having billed me, which I hadn't noticed at the time, and they finally got around to it, more than two years later. You also might find this charge coming back unexpectedly some time in the future. Dec 1 '20 at 14:01
47

In my opinion, you've done more than you need to do.

Some would argue that you didn't need to do anything at all. It wasn't your fault that payment was reversed and it is the job of the seller to take care of that.

You've informed the seller that you don't believe you were charged for the laptop. You don't need to do anything else. Let them take care of it if they choose to do so.

You may get a free laptop out of the situation, but you've done nothing wrong so you don't need to feel guilty about it!

15
  • 83
    But the OP should keep the money aside for quite a while (years - the exact time may depend on jurisdiction) in case they ask for it after all. Nov 29 '20 at 14:01
  • 2
    I would suggest investing it, but that's not really aside. I wonder whether there are any risk-free investments (i.e. ones where the risk is covered by somebody else)?
    – wizzwizz4
    Nov 29 '20 at 21:16
  • 1
    @wizzwizz4: A treasury bond is probably the closest equivalent. They are technically at risk of default if the US government decides not to pay them off, but this has never happened and they are widely regarded as very safe investments. However, if you plan to sell early, you might have to worry about the yield curve inverting.
    – Kevin
    Nov 29 '20 at 22:06
  • 4
    "Some would argue that you didn't need to do anything at all." - in many jurisdictions, keeping money that you received by error and which you know doesn't belong to you, can land you in prison. See e.g.: 1, 2, 3.
    – JBentley
    Nov 30 '20 at 11:12
  • 7
    Yes. If when you discovered the error you had done nothing and hoped that no one would notice, that would be unethical and probably illegal. But if you notify the company about the error and they do nothing, and you notify the bank about the error and they do nothing, what more are you supposed to do? Presumably either the seller or the bank will eventually find that they are short the money, but as I assume it's a few hundred dollars and not millions they'll likely end up writing it off.
    – Jay
    Nov 30 '20 at 16:59
14

I basically agree with gaefan, you've done more than you need to. I would say that contacting the company should be enough. But there is one thing missing in that answer, thus I'm writing this as a separate answer.

Do you have any proof that you contacted the company? Something that the company doesn't control, like an email? If you don't have that you might want to send them an email about the whole thing, to get proof that you've contacted them about the issue. Then there's no risk of you getting into trouble about it in the future.

You can also choose to not contact them again, in that case you probably won't be in trouble but might have to pay for the laptop in the future, which could be years from now.

7
  • Thank you for answering, I only have the call logs on my phone and their screenshots. I don't have any recordings of the call though, will that suffice as a proof?
    – kroent
    Nov 30 '20 at 14:15
  • 8
    @kroent I would say you want a clear statement from ther store saying something to effect of "We have received your payment, we think your issue is with the bank." If you have that in your screenshots then great. Otherwise, send an email about it. You don't just want documentation of the problem itself, you also want documentation of them saying everything is fine on their end (ideally dated, too).
    – Steve-O
    Nov 30 '20 at 15:12
  • 1
    @kroent Having a similar statement from the bank about their position wouldn't hurt, either.
    – Steve-O
    Nov 30 '20 at 15:16
  • 3
    @kroent I would advise not to do this. This answer makes it sound like you need proof to make sure you are not accused of a crime or something. You do not need anything like that. No matter if you send another email or not: If the company asks for their money (even years later) you will probably need to pay. If they don't ask for your money, then you did nothing wrong. If the company has such horrible bookkeeping, it's not your job to do their job for them.
    – Nobody
    Nov 30 '20 at 15:45
  • 3
    @Nobody, you might be presuming the OP is in the US or another country where the law is "innocent until proven guilty." Not all countries are like this and you need to prove your innocence. Having as much documentation as possible to show that you, as the customer, did as much or more than necessary to CYA and that it's not your fault you got a free laptop/whatever. This also helps prevent a debt collector from doing their job, since you can prove the company told you that you don't owe them anything. The OP can still pay, but it prevents negative marks on credit or police reports. Nov 30 '20 at 18:31
2

Open a savings account at an online bank, as a "holding tank" for the money you'd have used to pay for the laptop. Then if the vendor realizes their mistake and charges you again then you'll have the money.

If after a year they haven't reversed it, I'd take that as a sign that they aren't coming back for it.

11
  • Thank you, so 9 months to go it is 🤣. I am really afraid they might charge more for the laptop since I bought it overseas using a card from my country which has a low exchange rate.
    – kroent
    Nov 30 '20 at 14:18
  • 1
    @kroent I hope you kept the receipt!!
    – RonJohn
    Nov 30 '20 at 14:47
  • 2
    This is way more work than you should put into dealing with the seller's bookkeeping problem for them. Just keep the money wherever you already keep your money. Nov 30 '20 at 17:57
  • @R..GitHubSTOPHELPINGICE opening a savings account at an online bank is trivially simple. (In the US, at least. Maybe it's still hard in financial backwaters like Europe.)
    – RonJohn
    Nov 30 '20 at 18:18
  • @RonJohn: Only if you're already using that bank. If you're not, even if they claim to make it simple, you have to be satisfy yourself that you're going to be able to access your money and get it back. Just the research to determine that is a ridiculous amount of work. Nov 30 '20 at 18:19

This site is temporarily in read only mode and not accepting new answers.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .