Cynicism or Honest Mistake?
March 29, 2008 10:27 AM   Subscribe

US Bank Credit Card(REI VISA Card) My bank account was double-billed for my full payment. I have been using this account and paying online for about a year with no prior problems.

**Preamble: I have been paying bills on the internet since the day after Al Gore invented it, and have traded stocks online since Charles Schwab introduced its DOS-based "Equalizer" software circa 1991 on a 2400baud modem, so I know most of the ins and outs of online financial transfers. More to the point, I know to *NEVER* hit the authorize("submit", "make payment" or whatever button twice). End Old fart Seniority claim**

Anyway, My US Bank REI Visa card that I use for just about 99% of my day-to-day purchases was double-collected this month, to the tune of $2900 X 2. This is the only credit card I have that doesn't have the "automatically pay my full balance every month" option, but there are certain other advantages to using it, so I still use this as my mainstay, manually making my online payment every month.

Last Sunday, still several days short of the payment due date, I was able to log on No We're doing maintenance right now... message, just a regular logon, was able to access my account. When I went to pay, the site told me that I had no payment account set up and I would need to set one up, which is crap because I already have a payment account set up and have been using it every month to pay this card for almost a year. I figured they were doing maintenance and just logged out.

Monday mid-day I logged in and everything looked fine and I paid my full balance as usual. I can't remember what, but something wasn't right/didn't look right at the end of the transaction. I know not to use the "back" button, not to reauthorize, etc. so I just closed the browser and decided I would look on Tuesday and wouldn't be the least bit surprised if I saw no payment, as I figured they were probably toiling with a weekend upgrade gone awry.

Tuesday I checked and guess what? I've got two payments for $2900 credited to my account. Wonderful. Called customer service and they agreed to fix it post haste. I told them that it was even OK if the money came out of my account twice and went back in once, even if it took a day or two (luckily I have enough to cover the double payment, I know a lot of people would be in a much worse situation if a large payment was double-taken). Today I checked online and no further activity indicated in either account(both withdrawals taken from my payment account, Wed, I think). I just fired off a nasty email to my CC company.

I'm willing to accept the remote possibility that I caused this situation through fat-fingering. I just thought I would check in and see if anybody (particularly those that pay their bills in full every month) have seen any other strange goings-on. I know I'm providing $2900 of additional short-term liquidity to US Bank that I wasn't planning on. I was merely wondering if anyone else has found themselves in a similar vessel?
posted by Rafaelloello to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't worry about it, they'll get it figured out. The last thing they want is to loose a customer.

I too have an REI credit card thru US Bank. A few months back, I tried to pay them more than I owed them (rounded up a $990 full payment to an even $1000), giving them a little extra interest free dough until my next bill. The website wouldn't let me. It wouldn't LET me give them money. If they have/had a check in place to keep me from giving them money I didn't yet owe them, I don't think they are going to try and keep your money here.
posted by pwb503 at 11:01 AM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wait, now I see, this is one of those "is this a manifestation of the ass slamming our economy is about to give us" questions. Really, this is an honest mistake. I don't have enough dealings with REI (or even Visa) to talk about them, but this stuff happens with every company. Years ago my parents opened a Best Buy credit card to buy some large appliance and they were billed twice, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't Best Buy trying to scam them. They may have bad software or stupid employees, but it's something that happens and it isn't part of a master plan. (To this day they dislike and distrust Best Buy. Sheesh.) And I've been double billed before ... my web hosting company comes to mind. Luckily that's only $14.95. They double bill me sometimes, and then take one off, and I don't know anything about it until I get my credit card statement weeks later. Anyway, your issue sounds like a burp with the whole online payment thing. They probably shouldn't have reopened quite so soon after maintenance.
posted by iguanapolitico at 11:35 AM on March 29, 2008

(Of course, if that second $2900 never comes back to you, do come back and tell us, and tell me where I can stick my "oh, the economy is a fresh flowery bouquet as long as you keep a positive attitude" attitude. ;)
posted by iguanapolitico at 11:39 AM on March 29, 2008

Response by poster: I have no doubts that I'll get my money back, in fact I believe it's illegal for a credit card company to allow you to carry a significant credit balance for more than 30 days. I believe if I stopped using my card today the worst case is that a check would show up in my mailbox in 30-45 days. I think the most likely answer is a poorly implemented system upgrade. 2nd most likely is I screwed up. OTOH, if every customer who had a history of paying their full balance got double-dipped (even if they corrected the transactions in 7-10 days), that still bodes well for fixing any short-term cash-flow problems the bank might have, but I agree a conspiracy like this would be far-fetched. The shenanigan would surface pretty quickly, I would presume.

Did you know that if you pay your credit card balance off every month you are known as a deadbeat in credit card company parlance? I wouldn't put it past them to try to make some coin off their worst customers.
posted by Rafaelloello at 11:56 AM on March 29, 2008

Response by poster: If they have/had a check in place to keep me from giving them money I didn't yet owe them, I don't think they are going to try and keep your money here.

It's funny that you mention this, because I asked the CS rep I talked to on Tuesday, saying it doesn't seem logical that an online site would accept a $2900 overpayment under any conditions and she replied:

"I know some other sites have that feature, but on our site if you hit the button twice...

That might actually be the moment I became a little suspicious. Her answer seemed a little too "canned"
posted by Rafaelloello at 12:05 PM on March 29, 2008

Actually, I'd go with their online banking site is just lame. I also use my REI Visa as my primary card and I hate that site. Why can't you schedule a payment? Why does it send you the "your balance is due soon" message a month before the balance is due and not closer to the time it's due? I'm simply under the impression that USBank simply doesn't feel the need to have a decent online app to compete.
posted by advicepig at 2:27 PM on March 29, 2008

"Deadbeat!" I like that. I have certainly known that credit card companies love those of us who carry balances (some wonder if that's some sort of strike against them, but of course it's just the opposite) but didn't know there was such a great term for prompt, full-balance paying customers.

Well, maybe in fact they do have a lot of trouble with people hitting the button twice, so she's used to rattling off that answer. Buttons should automatically be disabled once they're pressed ... sigh. (Or, other safeguards should be in place.)
posted by iguanapolitico at 3:17 PM on March 29, 2008

Response by poster: Update: They say I submitted two separate payments 2 days apart and that they'll keep my money for two weeks. Bullshit on both counts.

> Account Ending in: 5529
> Dear
> Thank you for contacting U.S. Bancorp Service Center, Inc. via our
> website.
> We do show that two payment so of $2,902.23 were submitted online. The
> first on 03/22/08 at 3:08 a.m. and the second on 03/24/08 at 2:36 p.m.
> When a payment is reversed, it will take between ten and fourteen business
> days for the funds to sent back to your bank.
> You are a valued cardmember and we appreciate the opportunity to be of
> assistance.
> Sincerely,
> Travis G.
> Service Advisor
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> At U.S. BankĀ®, we have safeguarded cardmembers' money for more than 150
> years. Internet Banking is no exception. We take all necessary
> precautions to ensure your accounts and personal information are secure.
> For your protection, please DO NOT send personal information such as
> Account or social security numbers through unsecured email. To send
> personal information through email, please do so through our secured email
> service.
> Simply:
> - Point your browser to
> - Select "Contact Us" at the top of the page, and click the "Email Us"
> link
> - Submit your information through the form provided

posted by Rafaelloello at 4:56 PM on March 30, 2008

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