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While travelling two months ago I made a purchase in a store abroad with a card, everything went smoothly. Today I received a call from my bank saying that only yesterday the transaction went through and because of the change in the exchange rate there is an overdraft on my account (I terminated the contract for that card, so my balance was 0).

The bank proposed either to pay this overdraft sum or to write a cancel request for the transaction. But since I received the purchased goods in the store, I don't think I have a right to ask for cancellation.

So, my question is if the merchant has the right to delay the transaction that much? I paid with my card knowing the exchange rate at the moment, but if they actually charge me two months later, the rate can differ drastically. Is there anything I can do about it, except just paying the overdraft?

Details: the card (Visa) was issued by a Russian bank, the account is in RUB, the payment was in France in EUR.

  • To best answer this, I know people will want to know what countries are involved and what card was used. – Alex B Aug 21 '14 at 13:46
  • Why is there an overdraft? Was this a normal credit card or something else? – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 21 '14 at 14:54
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    If you cancelled your card with a balance of 0 before the transaction was posted at all, then aren't you being charged the entire cost of the purchase (at today's exchange rate), rather than just the loss caused by the exchange rate move? – GS - Apologise to Monica Aug 21 '14 at 15:25
  • It was a normal debit card. I don't know how goes the process of payment with a card, but that's how I see it. There was a blocked sum of money, suppose the price for the goods was 100 EUR, the exchange rate on the day of purchase was 40 RUB per 1 EUR, so 4000 RUB was blocked. I withdrew everything else from the account, so I had 0 RUB. For some reason the transaction was settled only yesterday, say the exchange rate was 50 RUB per 1 EUR, and my payment was recalculated to 5000 RUB resulting in 1000 RUB overdraft. – grozhd Aug 21 '14 at 20:02
  • Now, about 3 years later, I'm curious how this ended up being resolved. – Kevin Fegan Sep 28 '17 at 21:13
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I suspect that in practice given the circumstances, the bank will be willing to cancel the transaction if you ask them to. You can legitimately argue that you authorized a 100EUR transaction at the time of purchase, not two months later.

That will of course leave you with 4000 RUB, and in debt to the shop. Whether that debt is legally 100 EUR or 4000 RUB is debatable. However you could then write to the shop explaining what happened and highlighting that their delay caused the foreign exchange loss and offering to pay them 4000 RUB by whatever means you can (e.g. convert in EUR and send them a money order, taking away the costs of doing so). I suspect they will accept because they don't have any other practical means of getting more money from you.

I would also feel perfectly justified in doing so given that it was their mistake to delay the charge, and there was nothing you could have done to avoid the problem.

Alternatively if the bank doesn't cancel the transaction, then I think your only recourse is to write to the shop asking for a partial refund. If they don't agree it's unlikely there's much you can do to force them.

All of this assumes the amounts are of the scale described in your comment (100 EUR). If it was e.g. 1000 EUR or 10000 EUR, then both you and the shop have much more incentive to try to take more forceful action. However the international angle will still make it quite hard.

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