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Assume you buy something and pay by credit card. Does anybody know how much time the vendor has to charge your card? Is it still legal if the vendor doesn't charge you immediately, but after months?

The thing is my (officially: non-existent) credit card has now been charged for something.

Let me explain:

  • It's the credit card from my previous company. I left my former company 10 months ago.
  • 10 months ago I received a confirmation from my previous company that my account linked to the credit card would be immediately closed.
  • But the expense only became visible now - months after the alleged closing.

As I haven't used the card for almost a year, there are just two options: 1) I've been scammed or 2) The expense is a service I bought 11 months ago and the company didn't charge me immediately, just after 11 months.

I'm not working there anymore and while working there I was reimbursed expenses but of course it would be difficult to get reimbursed for something that appeared in my account 10 months after leaving my position. In my online statement, the expense appears as generated a few days ago.

I have very limited opportunities of checking whether the service took place alsmost a year ago, so the question is: Would it be legal at all to charge me for something 11 months afterwards?

It's American Express in Europe (EU), if it plays any role.

  • 2
    Is it possible that this is an annual expense for something that you forgot about? – mhoran_psprep Jul 28 '18 at 11:58
  • Do you still have the letter from your old employer saying that they closed the account? – Ben Miller Jul 28 '18 at 12:19
  • You mentioned an online statement. Does your account show online as closed, or still open? – Ben Miller Jul 28 '18 at 12:20
  • I had a confirmation on my work email. Silly me. But I have my email to my former company from 9 months ago where I write that I can still log into my account and I want them to make 100% sure that they closed the account. They never answered. It's not the account fee. It seems to be a taxi. – user71455 Jul 28 '18 at 12:21
  • Seems like a good idea to call your bank, tell them that the charge is unrecognized and the date is definitely wrong, and that you want to contact the merchant directly to see if they can provide more details. Make sure they make a note in your file that you told them the charge is incorrect and are trying to work it out with the merchant first. The bank will give you the name, phone number, and address provided by the merchant in connection to that transaction. Then you can call the merchant and ask why they made a charge when you've done no business with them in 11 months. – Ben Voigt Jul 30 '18 at 3:47
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I wanted to let you know in case this happens to someone in future.

I called Amex today and they told me the card has actually been blocked since October 2017. But, let me quote here, "the fact it's blocked doesn't mean people can't charge you if they have your card details".

I asked them what in this case "blocking" means. But they had no answer for me.

Anyways, what I've learnt is that I will probably write them an official letter to delete all my personal data (thank you GDPR), because otherwise there's no warranty that this won't happen to me in a year or two and I hate wasting time and energy for things like that. The other thing I've learnt is that I will avoid Amex as much as I can. For me it's not normal that you can block a card but people can still charge you.

  • 2
    They won't delete all your personal data, just because you ask them to. Financial regulations will require them to keep the information on file for some years, and the GDPR is full of loopholes to allow that. – Simon B Jul 30 '18 at 22:10
  • Hi @SimonB, thank for your comment. But then, what do you propose? I don't use the card. And I've already wasted plenty of time and money for several international calls to solve the problem. And it's not even closed yet. I don't want to go through that again. – user71455 Jul 31 '18 at 15:48

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