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I was in a hotel recently and they did a pre-authorization hold on the debit card. It was initially shown as real charge in my banking app, the hotel staff told me to not worry it's just a pre authorization hold and it will be released after check out( this was not part of the price, just a deposit). However, after checking out, the money never returned. The hotel insists that it was released, my bank says they see a full, true charge. Bank said I can file for charge back if the hotel doesn't reply to formally asking for proof of cancellation.

My question is, how can this happen? Is the malice of an involved party? Is this because it was a debit card rather than credit card? Could it be that it was because my bank account is not in the same country as the hotels account?

I have tried to find related things online and was surprised that there isn't much info on the matter.

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My question is, how can this happen?

Humans are imperfect.

  1. They fat-finger things and write buggy code.
  2. They're defensive and lazy, too, not wanting to admit to mistakes.
  3. Computers just make mistakes faster.

Is the malice of an involved party?

Hanlon's razor: never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Having said that... remember the Wells Fargo scandal? Sometimes people are stupid, and sometimes people are corrupt.

Is this because it was a debit card rather than credit card?

Yes. This problem can only happen when using a debit card (which is one reason why I never use debit cards, the other being fraud protection).

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  • Let's add this to the list of why Dave Ramsey's isn't someone whose advice I'd ever follow. Jul 28 at 22:30
  • "Yes. This problem can only happen when using a debit card". Why do you say that? A credit card can just as easily be improperly charged.
    – Daniel
    Jul 29 at 11:47
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    @Daniel but with a credit card, you are not out of that money immediately.
    – Aganju
    Jul 29 at 12:25
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    @Daniel the money isn't out of your checking account until you explicitly pay the CC bill. When disputing a charge, pay all of your CC bill except the disputed part...
    – RonJohn
    Jul 29 at 13:03

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