$2,243 Burger King Bill Leaves Customer Overdrawn, Pissed Off

A $22.43 sack of burgers turned into a huge pain in the ass when Burger King accidentally debited $2,243 from Bryan Sampson’s bank account, leaving him overdrawn and unable to use his debit card lest the overdraft charges keep piling up. Burger King said the manager wasn’t available to correct the mistake because it was a holiday weekend… but the local media was happy to answer the phone.

From KTVB:

Bryan Sampson’s wife picked up food for the family Saturday – totaling $22.43. But a whopper of a mistake left the couple’s account overdrawn. A clerk at the Burger King charged them $2,243.00 – with the decimal point in the wrong spot!

Bryan said he didn’t notice the charge until Sunday – but now the mistake is causing big trouble for the family’s finances.

“My bank account now is overdrawn $473, so anything that might come through at midnight is gonna be charged a $35 fee,” Sampson said. “I know there’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 charges they’re gonna charge me for at $35 bucks a pop

Sampson said the assistant manager told him they had cancelled the transaction instead of crediting his account – and that the store manager would not be in until Tuesday – after the President’s Day holiday to correct the mistake.

Burger King should really work on developing a system that will not allow cashiers to accidentally debit thousands of dollars. It isn’t as if this has never happened before.

Burger King Charges $2243.00 For A Meal
[KTVB] (Thanks, Dave!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Fry says:

    If it was a debit card, then wouldn’t the customer have to “okay” the ammount before putting in their PIN anyways?

  2. homerjay says:

    Its possible he processed it as a credit card which would still take the money out of his account but not require him to put his pin in. Theoretically, though, he SHOULD have been required to sign the receipt if that was the case..

  3. AndyRogers says:

    Not if it was a check card which works the same as a credit card.

    I need to get in the habit of looking at the receipt before I walk away. That’s something that could/should have been corrected on the spot.

  4. JustAGuy2 says:

    Another reason to use credit cards, not debit cards. If there’s a billing error, I’d rather have at least three weeks (and sometimes as much as 7) to get it corrected than zero.

  5. Burger King and Wendy’s still have the swipe machines behind the counter and they take your card and process it as a credit card no matter what it is. Mc Donald’s is the only one that I know of that has the keypads out on the counter so you can do debit.

  6. joeblevins says:

    Lots of times, low cost transactions are run without requiring a signature. And hell, requireing a signature wouldn’t have helped, as the card was already charged.

  7. homerjay says:

    @joeblevins: $2200 is a low cost transaction? :)

  8. Fry says:

    Would you guys mind explaining to me how thar all worksd, then?

    North of the border:
    Debit card: Cashier puts in amount, customer okays the amount, chooses which account to withdraw from, puts in their PIN, and waits for it to be approved, then gets a copy of the receipt. The customer sees the amount before it goes through.

    Credit cards: Cashier swipes card, puts in amount, has one recepit signed by the customer and the other given to the customer. The customer doesn’t see the amount until they go to sign the receipt.

  9. Fry says:

    @Fry: Excuse the typos, I was typing sideways and missed those two…

  10. DeeJayQueue says:

    I’m not sure exactly how this works, but a lot of places just swipe the card and don’t ask if it’s credit or debit. Plus, since the addition of credit card reading is relatively new, and not built into the registers yet at some places, they have a whole separate system for handling them. They swipe the card and have to type in the amount that gets charged onto the card by hand into a tiny little machine.

    It’s a shitty system, and it’s probably only there because they only grudgingly take credit cards as payment and wanted the cheapest system to handle them with the lowest transaction fees. Since most fast food joints are franchised, the owner pays the fees instead of the corporation.

  11. IrisMR says:

    And what about the customer? He had to autorize the transaction SOMEHOW.

  12. Tallanvor says:

    Many places don’t require a signature for credit card purchases under $25. –I only started seeing it a couple of years ago.

    Should his wife have looked at the receipt when she received it so the problem could have (hopefully) been corrected sooner? Yes. But equally so, Burger King – both at the store level and the corporate level – should have staff in place to fix such mistakes, even over a holiday weekend.

    And then there’s the question as to whether or not fast food restaurants should be able to processes charges of that magnitude. –Maybe it happens more often than I’d think, but I just don’t see many people needing to spend over $1000 at once!

  13. renilyn says:

    Easily explained… happens all over the place in the states. For example: Walgreens will ‘charge’ your Debit/Check Card when getting prescriptions without a signature. Sonic swipes your card and hands you a receipt without a signature. Burger King does the same. Taco Bell does the same blah blah blah

    It is what they call ‘convenient’. Ya, I can see that this guy and his family find this realllll convenient. *rolls eyes*

    Too bad that these incidents don’t force these businesses to change their policies.

  14. Crumbles says:

    OMG, I’m still using a card that directly takes money out of my checking account because I’m stupid! Now there was a mistake and I want to cry about it!

    Get over it. Everyone has been told to never use your debit card for purchases since like 1980. If you still want to do it, then put up with mistakes happening sometimes.

  15. TangDrinker says:

    I’d also like to point out that the clerk working probably noticed it but thought it was machine error and didn’t say anything to the customer.

    I was in a Dunkin Donuts last week where the clerk rang up a combo incorrectly. I asked her if she had rung it up correctly, and she said, no there was a price increase. The manager also backed her up. I pointed at the signs above their heads and said, well, it still says it only costs x amount, not z amount. The manager said “I had this problem a few times this morning at the drive through, it’s a price increase.” I told them I’d gladly call the NC Dept of Weights and Measures (which was located 2 miles away) and kindly ask them to investigate – at which point they realized they had made a mistake and were ringing up the combos as individual items and gave me my refund.

    Was I a jerk for complaining about a 50 cent overcharge? I don’t think so. I hope it saved a few other people 50 cents.

    My point is that you should ALWAYS check your receipts, no matter how small, because if they’re mis-charging you, they’re probably doing it to others.

    I’m very sorry this family had this experience.

  16. satoru says:

    Actually this happened to me a long time ago. I rented a car out on the west coast. When I returned it everything looked fine and the receipt was good. When I got back to the east coast I decided to buy a new DVD (Men in Black which tells you how long ago this was) and the charge was rejected. I thought it was just the credit machine that was broken, but it bugged me. I call my bank and they tell me that instead of the $200 for the car rental they charged me $2200 instead! Similarly it was a long weekend so I couldn’t get it resolved until the Tuesday.

    Fortunately it was my credit card so there wasn’t much damage done in that respect. Just the inconvenience of not having a credit card for the weekend, so I just compensated by using cash.

    Stuff like this makes me feel that debit-cards really aren’t worth the trouble. Holds at gas-stations, car rentals, now at fast food joints! Credit cards are the way to go.

  17. kimsama says:

    @Crumbles: You’re right! Businesses should have no responsibility whatsoever to charge people correctly. It was all the OP’s fault! I’m so glad you pointed that out.

    P.S. sarcasm

  18. huntsterUNC says:

    We accidentally overcharge customers at my business from time to time. (maybe 2x/year) Usually takes a few minutes to check out a transaction report to see what happened and then we happily refund any overages. If our mistake causes them to overdraw, we do require them to show proof with a bank statement b/c we had a guy try to snake us one time for some extra $$$ when he never even overdrew his account.

    Only sucky part is that the money comes out of your bank account instantly, but on a refund, it takes 3-4 business days to get back there. I have to explain to customers that we’ve done our part, but the bank is siting on your money now.

  19. cef21 says:

    @homerjay: Look at it from the Clerk’s perspective: “Do I ask for a signature? No, it’s under $25. Ok. Just put the receipt in a drawer.”

  20. DeliBoy says:

    @Crumbles: Ok, do you then mind if I take the time to write out a check while in front of you in line? Do fast food places even take personal checks, I wonder?

    The point is: simmer down now.

  21. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Okay, everyone is saying that charges under $25 don’t need a signature, right? Also, places like Burger King have registers that are designed for ANYONE to use, very very simple. So if the charge is OVER $25 (as in this case), wouldn’t it automatically require a signature?

    Also, she should check her recipt.

  22. forgottenpassword says:

    At the very least I hope BK pays all the overdraft fees.


  23. JustAGuy2 says:

    No, the point is that responsible, prudent, consumers pay with credit cards, get cash back, get to borrow money for free, and pay zero interest by paying their bills on time.

  24. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @Fry: Nope. If the cashier is swiping your card you don’t see the amount until you get the receipt.

  25. @Fry: You can swipe debit cards as credit cards, no pin required. In some situations, you don’t sign a receipt. For example, if you pay-at-the-pump at a gas station, no signing, just the printed receipt. At my drugstore (Walgreens), no signing under $25, although you still have to approve the amount on the swipe-machine.

    At all the local fast food places, no signing. I’ve never bought more than $10 of fast food at a time, so I don’t know if that’s for ALL transactions or if it tops out, but you don’t sign. And if you do drive-through with two windows, they swipe it at the first and you don’t get the receipt until the 2nd window.

  26. Nytmare says:

    Why does the total have to be manually keyed into the debit processor instead of being automatically transferred from the register?

  27. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @JustAGuy2: No, the point is that business shouldn’t be overcharging their customers.

  28. @AlteredBeast: It depends on the system they use. Gas stations never make you go inside on a self-swipe because it’s $25.01 … you can charge as much as you dang well want without signing at a pay-at-the-pump. But other places it’s common, like drug stores, will have a cutoff.

    Someone should call a Burger King and ask if they have a cut-off on the no signature thing. I could see how if 99% of your transactions were under $25 (or $40 or whatever), building a cut-off for no-signature transactions might not be a high priority. Although right about now it should probably START to be a high priority.

  29. NapiersNews says:

    @Fry: No, at fast food chains all cards are run as a credit card even if its a debit card. McDonalds often will have a debit keypad.

    I for one hardly carry cash and always use my debit card as a credit card. Some banks charge a fee to use your debit card, granted not many, but some. This is mostly at gas stations I have noticed.

    This is clearly a combination error of the computer system at Burger King and the worker behind the counter. I for one, have noticed so many workers that are not trained on the computer systems but are put on the front lines.

  30. zarex42 says:

    This is why you should never use debit cards. There is NEVER a reason to, a credit card is ALWAYS a better choice. I realy don’t get this.

  31. Nighthawke says:

    Best solution as the previous consumerists put it, go CREDIT CARD! And with a responsible company too. Mine monitors usage patterns and if anything looks funny, they halt the processing process and call me. So far I’ve not had a problem aside from the morons imprinting the cards screwing up by the numbers.

  32. timmus says:

    Who? check
    What? check
    Why? check
    How? check
    Where? bzzzzzzz

    The location is Boise, Idaho. Even the original TV station article fails, as it just says “a local Burger King”. Consumerist and KTVB should not be pussyfooting around. This BK should be hung out to dry and made infamous for making this mistake and not fixing it right away.

  33. econobiker says:

    @AlteredBeast: Yeah surely there is some way to kick out huge transactions or ones over a certain amount for a signature.

    As for gas pump transactions some places stop the pumps at $75 no matter what- can be a pain if filling a work truck or using the same pump for two cars.

  34. Asvetic says:

    What no Manager on duty? That’s okay, my lawyer works over holidays…

  35. thetango says:

    This happened to me at my Veterinarian a few years back. The receptionist missed the decimal point and charged me about $1000 more than my bill was.

    She immediately caught the error and did a “return” on the payment.

    The problem then was (as was in this case) that the return wasn’t going to show up in my account for a few days.

    I immediately called Bank of America’s 1-800 customer service and asked what I should do. I certainly didn’t want to be “out of money” and overdrawn in my checking account.

    The customer service representative said that I should dispute the charge — that way the $1000 would be back in my account immediately. When the return posted to my account she suggested that I call BoA back to “undispute” the disputed charge.

    I followed her advice … and it worked! :)

  36. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    Use Cash.

  37. welsey says:

    I think the bank would just come and kill me if I put that much on my debit card. I’m a poor college student with terrible money management skills and that would overdraw my account so much…now I have a new fear.

    Also, with everyone saying “they don’t require a signature for low transactions” “Wait aha! this is not a low transaction what now?” I have a feeling the clerk was just operating in autopilot for the receipt because it’s unlikely he or she would have been like “here sign your $2000 dollar receipt, normally we don’t do this but your $22 worth of burgers has somehow cost you thousands” without noticing something was up.

  38. yesteryear says:

    no one has mentioned the fact that although merchants often ask “debit or credit?” if they don’t ask, they are going to run it as a debit, because they are not charged a terminal fee for “credit” purchases on a check card with a visa or mastercard symbol.

    i agree that in this instance the consumer should have checked her receipt. i am one of the few human beings left on the planet who still uses an old fashioned debit card (without the visa/mc symbol) and in a situation where the cashier is actually keying in the dollar amount, i always check the receipt. usually you can tell this is what’s happening if the pin pad is a separate device connected to a standalone debit machine. otherwise, the $2,200 amount would have popped up on the register and the consumer would have known what was going on from the beginning.

    however, i don’t think the moral of this story is about a stupid consumer, it’s about a gigantic corporation that doesn’t have someone on staff on a holiday weekend – although their stores are happily open to accept your money – to rectify huge errors like this one.

  39. ccouvillion says:

    @zarex42: Unfortunately, some people don’t qualify for credit cards and debit cards are a convenient alternative. Personally, I will not carry a debit card. When my bank switched from ATM cards to debit cards, I stopped carrying one. I’ve heard too many horror stories about bounced checks due to intentional fraud and mistakes like these.

    Of course checks aren’t immune, I had an insurance payment check go through at 10x the written amount (on a holiday weekend), but then it was clearly the bank’s fault and they fixed it, waved the NSF charge on the check that bounced and wrote a letter explaining the mistake.

    The long and the short of it, it was the clerk’s fault and they should have rectified it as soon as possible, even if that meant calling the manager at home to do so. And Burger King should figure out a way to limit charges without manager’s approval to something reasonable.

  40. joeblevins says:

    @homerjay: I am betting that at that Burger King, most transactions wouldn’t require a signiture, since they are used to low level transactions. And the woman wouldn’t have checked the price anyway. She was too busy making sure she wasn’t in a ‘How can they cancel the Whopper?’ commercial.

  41. coan_net says:

    This story jumps the gun a little – would be nice to see what happens on Tuesday once the holiday is over. That is if Burger King will do the right thing of taking care of the extra charges the user had because of their mistake or not.

    I mean as of right now, Burger King can still do everything correct in fixing this mistake, but sounds like the consumer was quick to get attention to the story and not get as worried about getting things fixed.

  42. ChuckECheese says:

    At my local BK, the cashier swipes the card on the register, neither button-pushing approval nor signature are required, and I don’t get a receipt until I receive my food. I’m verbally instructed what my order number is at the time of ordering, in either Spanish or English, depending on how dark and wavy my hair is. Unless I investigate my receipt during my Whopper, I would never know what they charged. But I will start checking all such receipts carefully. Oh, and some people just don’t have credit cards and can’t get them, so get over it.

  43. kc2idf says:


    If it was a debit card, then wouldn’t the customer have to “okay” the ammount before putting in their PIN anyways?

    No. That’s an ATM card. Stores mistakenly call them debit cards, but they are not.

    Debit cards work (from the POS POV) like a credit card and are indiscernible from credit cards save for what the card may have printed on it.

  44. Jeangenie says:

    When I was a retail manager, there was no way in hell to close out the register without making sure that the cc’s matched. You could be over/ short on cash and it was ok, but all electronic payments had to match. This would be a fairly obvious mistake and if I was the manager we would automatically adjust the transaction to the correct amount before sending the batch in. My understanding is that a visa checkcard transaction could be cancelled until the batch was submitted to the bank (an electronic deposit at the end of each register’s shift) without affecting the consumer. The sale was pre-authorized until that point.

    I am sure that this store manager will be in the shiz-it for the mistake on his end anyhow, before it came to light in the media.

  45. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    True. It’s also true that the OP, by using a debit card, has the financial equivalent of a set of tires that will burst if they’re inflated one pound past the level printed on the tires.

  46. Chols says:

    I had my account double charged by Cingular once and it overdrew me. My bank refunded my overdraft fees because of it. No big deal, unless your bank sucks.

  47. TexasBelle says:

    @zarex42: I don’t understand the whole “debit is better” argument, either. I have friends who swear by debit cards because they don’t trust themselves to pay off a credit card every month. WTF? Adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s who don’t have the self-control to not charge more than they can pay? I just don’t buy that. I think too many people are drinking the kool-aid of bank marketing campaigns.

  48. madrigal says:

    A lot of places just swipe the card and then ask if you want a receipt. No signature or pin number required.

  49. darkened says:

    @Jeangenie: That’s something I never would have thought of before from lack of experience in retail. I’m glad I have one more piece of knowledge to levy in the event some absurd occurrence like this happens to me.

  50. gingerCE says:

    I know I read somewhere recently that debit card use surpassed credit card use for the first time.

    I can believe it. I use my debit card, especially for smaller stuff because it helps me keep track and limit my spending.

    I agree with the posters that usually fast food places if under $25, they just swipe the card–no signature required. It’s a flawed system.

  51. RokMartian says:

    A lot of the fast food places I have been in have credit card machines installed as a separate machine, so the amount is punched in separately from the cash register. I check both the cash register and the cc terminal receipt, so you can’t always go by the receipt from the cash register.

    Oh, and another problem I encountered a few days ago – the little hand-held unit to punch in your pin # – I could barely read the numbers and I couldn’t tell how much it was showing. I decided then to start using it as a Credit card from there on out.

  52. aka Cat says:

    As far as BK being unable to correct the mistake because it was the weekend: that’s probably because the bank was closed. Which sucks, and I’d put the blame for that on the bank.

    And a signature isn’t a guarantee that *nothing* will go wrong.

    A few years ago, a clerk typed “5325” into the credit machine instead of “53.25”. I saw the mistake when she handed me the slip to sign, and a manager canceled the transaction.

    But the credit card company put a $5325 hold on my account when the slip was generated. Even though the transaction was canceled, the hold wasn’t lifted until Monday.

    I wasn’t hit with any fees since there was no actual charge, but it was inconvenient. And embarrassing, when the next store told me that my card was declined because I was over my limit.

  53. Peeved Guy says:

    My debit card has a maximum charge amount (that I can set). I think, right now, it’s something like $300. Any charge over that amount on my debit card gets denied on the spot. Found that little tidbit out the hard way trying to buy some tires a few years ago. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it and kept the cap in place. Woulda come in handy here, me thinks.

  54. reviarg says:

    Always, ALWAYS look at the receipt to confirm the amount you are being charged. Many of the people working at fast food restaurants are in a hurry to get orders taken care of so mistakes can occur. I lucked out at Burger King a few years ago with the opposite situation. The cashier was in such a hurry to charge me $5.50 that she must not have hit the 0 properly and I was only charged $0.55 for my meal.

  55. disavow says:

    The bank’s processing system shouldn’t have let this go through to begin with. They’re as much to blame as BK.

  56. Had something similar happen once. A fried chicken joint had just updated their credit running hardware and the employee entered the last four digits of my credit card where she should have put the price. Completed the transaction (by putting the 4 digits in the right place as well as the wrong place). Then, ran a second transaction, a return, for the difference between the last four of my debit card and the actual price of food purchased (about $60).

    Friggin’ BoA instantly debited my account and put a hold on the credit. No fees, but I think we could have negotiated something if there had been.

    OP should be sure to get on the phone with his bank proactively to keep things straight and have an accountability trail.

  57. edrift101 says:

    I use my debt card daily to purchase lunch from places like Burger King. Typically, they NEVER ask for a signature and often “forget” to hand over a copy of the receipt.

    The looks I get when I ask for one… sigh…

  58. ElizabethD says:

    That’s a WHOPPER of an error!

    (can’t believe no one has already said this)

  59. DeeJayQueue says:

    The other day I was at the gas station, using my debit card like I always do, and though I wanted to fill my tank, the pump shut off after $19.84 worth of gas had been pumped. Confused, I called my bank. Turns out I only had $19.84 in there, and now was down to 0.
    (don’t give me shit about having less than $20 in the bank, it was the end of the month.)
    I’m saying this because if a dummy terminal at a gas pump can tell how much money I have in my account, there’s no excuse for any other debit/credit system to know any less. Holds and pre-auths are bullshit revenue generators for banks.

  60. DeeJayQueue says:

    @ElizabethD: You mean, like the picture from News 7 that goes along with the article?

  61. Crumbles says:

    @kimsama: Yea, because that’s what I said! I said the business shouldn’t have any responsibility! Oh wait, I never did say that! What I said was this person needs to accept that when you use something that directly debits your checking account, don’t cry about it when mistakes are made.

    @DeliBoy: Ever heard of a credit card? Or how about cash?

  62. redhelix says:

    That’s retarded. In pretty much any supermarket, a transaction over $500 requires approval from a supervisor. Shame on BK for not having the same safeguards.

  63. Javert says:

    @JustAGuy2: Thank you for stealing my thoughts :)

    I stopped using my debit/check card for anything a couple years ago when I had the epiphany that if anything goes wrong, sure the bank will correct it within 3 days but in those 3 days I will have nothing in my checking account. Auto bills could bounce and incur further fees. Why take the risk? Use a credit card. If there are any problems, you are not out a cent for a day whereas not so for the check/debit card.

    Sure, this would annoy me. I had a tux for a wedding that cost me almost $2200 for a rental but a quick call and it was fixed and I was not out any money because it was a credit card.

    I feel bad for this guy but he should know the risks. Stuff happens. Sure, hate Burger King but it was a mistake.

  64. snoop-blog says:

    @Fry: you can use a debit card as both: a debit card (which will require you to enter your pin, but not sign), and a credit card (which requires no pin, but sometimes your billing zip code, and requires you to sign.) cashiers don’t always do the proper thing and have you sign, and some small purchases won’t require signatures either. %90 of all debit card purchases are made as credit card purchases. if they run it as debit, they have to offer you cash back, like pulling it from an atm, hence the reason it’s called a “debit” transaction. if you run your own card at a machine, next time it asks for a pin, hit cancel, then credit. you will have to sign, and it won’t require a pin. this is good to know if your in a shady place with people around you and you don’t want to enter your pin.

  65. snoop-blog says:

    i’m surprised their system would eve allow an employee to imput the amount.

  66. disavow says:

    @Javert: It’s a mistake that never should have happened, because both Burger King AND the bank should have safeguards in place to prevent it. BK shouldn’t be able to run a $2243 transaction, and the bank should verify available balances before approving transactions. Simple as that.

  67. macinjosh says:

    1. A POS system at Bk should not allow a transaction that is over $50 without having to simultaneously turn two keys that are 20 feet apart.

    2. The POS systems should require you to enter the number of cents not dollars. Typing 2243 would be a transaction of $22.43. One less keystroke to get the right amount, and one more to get (what is probably) the most common wrong amount.

  68. forever_knight says:

    dumb asses using debit cards. when will they learn?

  69. snoop-blog says:

    @forever_knight: ok i must be retarded because i fail to see how this is the consumers fault? go troll somewhere else.

  70. DeliBoy says:

    @Crumbles: This discussion is not about habitually using debit cards, so save your consumer spending lessons for another thread. You won’t have to wait long – every few weeks Consumerist features an article on how ATM/debit cards are bringing about Ragnarök.

    Let’s say that Mrs. Sampson used her debit card this one time. It’s a damn shame that KTVB didn’t report specifics on this family’s banking habits, but without this critical piece of data we can’t assume anything. Let’s also say that was out of cash and/or credit cards. Hell, let’s say that she grabbed the wrong piece of plastic. Do you still have a massive problem with her behavior? Do the Sampsons now have license to cry when mistakes are made?

  71. NoWin says:

    I wonder if the higher amount could also have been a “Pre-authorization”, where the customer does NOT validate that verification (but it none-the-less blocks the funds for use for 3 business days).

    Normally, the subsequent actual transaction debit transmitted afterwards then deletes the higher hold amount previously transmitted to the bank.

    The manager (providing it is a trained manager…) should have been able to over-ride that, or even transmit a reversal on his card-pad.

    When you buy something using your debit card at a store the merchant must preauthorize the transaction to verify that the card is valid and there is sufficient funds available to cover the cost of the goods or services being paid for. Usually this is done once the cashier has passed the items through the optical scanner and rung the total purchase price into a cash register so the actual amount of your purchase is known.

    In the case of, say a gasoline purchase, when all you do is slide your card into the pump prior to dispensing any gas there is no actual amount to preauthorize. Due to the high cost of gas Visa and Master card hold the card issuer (bank) liable for the first $75.00 for this kind of transaction.
    Most banks reduced the “pre-auth/hold” amount to anywhere from a few bucks to $40.00. To avoid the “preauthorization”, one would just pump the gas first and then pay the cashier they will process only the actual amount of gas you bought now that it is known.

  72. chemmy says:

    I was at BK last night. They forgot half my order so I had to back in… I paid with debit. Got the little receipt showing a debit purchase. But when I got the order receipt (the big one with the order details on it) it said I paid $20 cash and got back $6 and change back.

    I immediately checked the credit card receipt and I was charged the correct amount.

    Why would the store receipt show I paid $20 cash and received $6 change back?

  73. Fry says:

    @kc2idf: North of the border, all our debit cards ARE our ATM cards. There is no difference up here. The debit card, which you get directly from your bank, is linked DIRECTLY to your bank account and will automatically withdraw money with every purchase from your account. It is virtually impossible to get overdrawn when using a debit card in Canada. In my second post here, I told how it works here. Is it really THAT different, though? It doesn’t make much sense to me how you guys use cards in the US.

  74. Fry says:

    @ElizabethD: Look at the pic…

    @snoop-blog: It really IS that much different then up here. You must enter a PIN when using a debit card, and you MUST sign the receipt when using a credit card. The machine automatically knows what the card is when swiped, and with debit cards it withdraws the money immediately from the user’s account, but only after it got verification on the total, the PIN matches up, and the money is shown as available.

  75. JustAGuy2 says:


    US vendors who don’t require a signature when paying by _credit_ card have a deal with the card issuers – the vendor pays a modestly higher merchant fee (to offset the increased risk of fraud), but is willing to do so, since it speeds up transaction cycle time.

  76. Crumbles says:

    @DeliBoy: “This discussion is not about habitually using debit cards, so save your consumer spending lessons for another thread.”
    Obviously they need to be taught more since stupid people are still using these fake visa cards.

    “Let’s say that Mrs. Sampson used her debit card this one time…Hell, let’s say that she grabbed the wrong piece of plastic. Do you still have a massive problem with her behavior? Do the Sampsons now have license to cry when mistakes are made?”
    Yes. She is still an idiot for having a debit card with a fake visa on it. Mine doesn’t because I’m not stupid. I also have all my money in my bank account right now, how is she doing with her money? Oh that’s right. It’s GONE.

  77. Fry says:

    @Crumbles: Unless I am reading your comment the wrong way, let’s keep this civil, shall we?

    @JustAGuy2: It says she used a debit card, though…? I kind of understand how you guys do credit card transactions, it’s the debit side that is leaving me confused about this.

  78. Scuba Steve says:

    I always pay cash when there’s another human involved in my order.

  79. UnnamedUser says:

    Rule One! Never, never, ever use a debit card for anything anywhere except at your own banks INSIDE ATM. Never!

    The risks are just too high and the law is on the side of the bank and POS operator.

    Rule Two! Never, never, ever use a credit card in a sit down restaurant, where your card leaves the table to somewhere you cannot see what’s happening to it. Never.

  80. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:


    Taco Bell has them as well. Probably KFC also.

  81. lincolnparadox says:

    @UnnamedUser: As far as Rule 2 goes, do you always pay cash at sit-down restaurants? How do you pay for your meal in a sit-down place? I guess you could just ask to “pay at the bar” or “up front.”

  82. sventurata says:

    @Fry: You don’t have to sign for Paypass/blink/”signature not required” purchases under a certain amount … like $25 at Loblaws.

    This might answer your questions about Cdn/USA differences.


    Historically, Americans were more averse to adopting debit technology, preferring instead to rely on charge cards (like AmEx), credit cards, personal cheques, or (gasp!) currency. Installing dual debit/credit functions on the same cards was a simple marketing technique to wean Americans off their chequebooks, even if they didn’t want or qualify for a credit card.

  83. coraspartan says:

    I feel this guy’s pain. Last week, I called a friend’s vet to make a payment on my friend’s account. The balance on the account when I called was $505.35. I wanted to pay $25 of the balance.

    Well, the lady I talked to accidentally ran my debit card for the ENTIRE AMOUNT of the balance–or $505.35. She immediately ran a credit of the entire amount and then re-ran my card for $25.

    I went to check my bank account the next day, and I had $150 overdraft transfer because the $505.35 charge was pending but the credit wasn’t showing up. Luckily, the overdraft amount just came out of my savings so I wasn’t charged for it. But $505 of my money was tied up until 2 days later, when the credit showed up.

    So those people who ask if he looked at the receipt–in my case, it didn’t matter–I knew she overcharged me but my bank listed the charge as pending and not the credit. It was so frustrating!!!

    BK should be responsible for all of his overdraft fees. It’s their F up.

  84. Fry says:

    @Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: The link wasn’t helpful, but your other paragraph was. Thanks. So with the dual-use cards, you don’t need to use a PIN, but can instead opt to sign? And for under $25 purchases (and the like), you can choose the signing option instead, and end up not signing? If so, that’s a little fucked up… Seems a little too easy to steal someone else’s money.

  85. jswilson64 says:

    @Crumbles: There were debit cards in 1980??

  86. shadow735 says:

    Burger King is legally responsible for any over draft charges as well as cost associated with any negative credit reports as well as sending a letter to their bank.

  87. aka Cat says:

    @lincolnparadox: You pay the same way as with a card. They show up to take your card, you hand them cash. If it’s close enough to exact for the bill + tip, you say ‘keep the change’. If not, you request the amount of change you’re expecting. “I’d like $6, please. Keep the rest.”

    I don’t pay cash all the time, I don’t carry enough cash unless I’m planning ahead. But I try to, because it is less worrisome.

  88. Kendra says:

    Here’s a system: Cash.

  89. forever_knight says:

    @snoop-blog: i thought it was common knowledge that debit cards are riskier than credit cards for this very reason? no, it’s not the consumers fault for the error, BUT it would never have been an issue if the customer paid with a credit card. hence, the dumb asses comment.

  90. jswilson64 says:

    @chemmy: You need to call your card issuer’s fraud-prevention dept. immediately. BK has probably figured out how to “float” that extra $6 for a day or two. If your receipt doesn’t show exactly what you paid, call the fraud dept. (guess what dept. I work for?)

  91. Nighthawke says:

    He dug the spurs into BK and called Home Office.


    He got his money back and BK is to take care of any incurring overdraft charges.

  92. richtaur says:

    Will there be a third strike I wonder? Seriously, there are way too many other (better) burger places to put up with garbage like that.

  93. xgenius says:

    Why would you eat that garbage?

  94. hexychick says:

    @Crumbles: Clearly you are without error in life and couldn’t possibly make a mistake. God forbid anyone use a debit card for a transaction – Oh my God!

  95. Kajj says:

    @AlteredBeast: There’s no system prompt. The receipt prints no matter what. If the cashier didn’t notice it was over $25, he or she probably threw the receipt away without looking.

  96. barty says:

    @Kendra: Exactly. I seldom use my debit card at fast food joints just for that reason.

    However I still don’t understand why so many national fast food chains are still using these card processing machines that require a separate manual input opposed to a POS system that handles the entire transaction. Unless someone makes an error ringing up the order, it significantly reduces the amount of human error.

  97. ClankBoomSteam says:

    I’m picturing BK’s creepy “King” mascot coming to this guy’s door, handing him an oversized check for the balance in the guy’s account, and then bracing himself for a devastating kick in the nuts.

  98. CindyLouWho says:

    @Chemmy: As long as the credit card receipt reflects the right charge, you should be fine. The actual meal receipt doesn’t mean much, except for the total amount due and to show what you ordered was correct. Most likely they hit a $20 button on the computer as you were pulling around to expedite the order when you pulled up. They probably just picked the $20 button because it was the closest amount to your order total they did not have to hit more than one button for. If they were busy, they probably did this to help their drive thru time. If they weren’t then the person was just lazy and did not want to press more than one button when they knew change wasn’t due. When I worked fast food in college, a coworker would do this for the former reason. I doubt it’s fraud, though.

  99. yesteryear says:

    because this discussion has already veered so far off course, i’d like to offer another bit of advice to everyone out there: don’t eat at burger king… and if you do… stop calling it BK. that’s so 90s.

  100. yesteryear says:

    @Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: i am in your mixed up files.

  101. ClankBoomSteam says:

    @yesteryear: Hey, you’re lucky I’m not using ’70s lingo — I’m old enough that the 1970s Burger King ads are the ones that still really stick in my head…

  102. drjayphd says:

    @Crumbles: Stay classy, soon-to-be-smoten (if there’s justice) commenter.

  103. Gorky says:

    This wouldnt happen if people werent too lazy to grab a $20 from the ATM once in a while. I hate when people always use their damn cards for 5 bucks or less. It drives up prices for everyone else because all the convenience stores and fast food restaurants raise prices to compensate for the fees. What ever happened to the days when people only whipped out a credit card for an unforeseen emergency. We never paid for fast food with a credit card 30 years ago and we dont need to do it now. BTW Same with cell phones.

  104. FLConsumer says:

    @TexasBelle: I still don’t understand why / how using a debit card is any different from a spending perspective than credit cards. I only have credit cards and when I pull up my bank’s website, it clearly shows me the balance in my checking/savings/money market accounts including a total (let’s call this A) and right below that it shows the current amount on each card and the total owed (let’s call this B). So… if I did my math correctly, A-B = amount of money I actually have to spend. Brilliant!

  105. FLConsumer says:

    @Gorky: Airline miles, cash back, and easier accounting. The cash back alone is worth it.

  106. sue_me says:

    If Burger King screwed up, they’d BETTER pay all the overdraft fees. The proximate cause of the overdraft was Burger King, not the customer.

    Too bad banks don’t care who they bilk for money, as long as they get to bilk.

  107. dmk2113 says:

    I work retail and I’ve made this mistake before, which is why you double-check the price before you send the transaction through and if you screw up even then (and we all have before), CANCEL THE GODDAMN TRANSACTION. It is not that hard to work one of these machines.

  108. rjhiggins says:

    @Crumbles: Score! Crumbles is first with a ridiculous blame-the-consumer posting. Well done!

  109. sventurata says:

    @Fry: Sorry ’bout that. Too much multitasking!

    As far as I understand; yes, the dual-use cards can be run as credit or debit functions. Not something we’ve resorted to in Canada, thank God!

    no sig required > $25 purchases: gas stations and Loblaws (in Ontario) are the biggest purveyors, but fast-food (notably Timmie’s) is on it as well. It cuts down on the service time because the transaction is completed as the credit card swipes. Sure, it’s risky, but the merchant’s floor limit usually doesn’t fully authorize purchases under $50 anyway. (Meaning that they don’t wait for the bank’s auth confirmation to run the transaction as approved.)

    Debit cards aren’t eligible… and so far it’s just MasterCard opting to use PayPass technology. Chase VISA in the US has “blink” which is a similar RFID deal, but no takers in CDA yet.