Amazon Screws Up Refund, Charges $2,288.44 for $750 Of Gym Equipment

Reader Craig ordered some gym equipment from Amazon, but he accidentally used his debit card instead of his credit card. Realizing his mistake, he immediately tried to correct the problem. He went through the change payment process right away and figured all was well. Of course it wasn’t, and he ended up getting charged $2,288.44 for $750 worth of equipment when Amazon got the refund process backwards. Twice. See how it happened after the jump.

On March 20, I purchased some equipment for a home gym at When I hit the ‘Place order’ button I realized that I had used the wrong credit card to purchase the items. I immediately went through the ‘change payment’ process and thought all was well. I was very wrong.

It turns out that 5 out of the 6 items had been charged to the wrong card (my debit card, personal checking account). I simply called amazon and told them about the mistake. I had to speak with a supervisor, but in the end I was on my way to a refund of 572.11 for the mistaken charges. Seven days later on March 27, I finally had my refund processed…or so I thought. They charged me again…..572.11.

So now I have already paid for the items with my credit card, but have now been double charged on my debit card 1,144.22, hardly a small sum of money. Mind you, I have bills to pay…mortgage, car etc. Well here some the overdraft fees. I called amazon again to tell that they had made a mistake and charged me instead of refunding me. They apologized and said that a refund would be made in the amount of 1144.22 to my debit card. They instead refunded my credit card 1144.22, not my debit card. So at this point I am still missing my money…Overdraft fees, overdraft fees. I called again and explained they had refunded the wrong card and needed to reverse what they had done. They apologized and said that they would charge the credit card and refund the debit card…great. So yesterday I check my bank account to see if my refund has come through…charged again!!!! 1144.22.

So at this point I have overpaid $2288.44 for $750 worth of items. I sent them a nastygram and got on the phone again. The CSR was rude and insisted that a refund was made despite me telling him that my balance was negative thousands of dollars. I finally got him to understand the situation and also explained that they would owe me 245 in overdraft fees….yes, 35 bucks a pop. He had the nerve to tell me that they would not refund that money. I will keep you posted. I received an email this morning apologizing that a mistake had been made. Give me a break. does anyone at amazon know the difference between a debit and a credit? Do I need to draw a picture??

While obviously none of this would have happened if Craig didn’t screw up in the first place, it’s ridiculous that Amazon would confuse a refund with a debit. Craig, put your bank in the loop on this, if you haven’t already. Then gear up for a polite EECB to Amazon, starting with If the EECB doesn’t hit, it’s time to initiate a chargeback.

(photo:funny strange or funny ha ha)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Buran says:

    Ouch. Good luck. And I’d pull that debit card entirely from their site so you can’t accidentally choose it again.

  2. BondJBond says:

    This is not as insidious, as it sounds, and essentially may not be a huge issue at all.

    Debit Check cards are horrible pieces of technology, and noone should use them.

    When you make a purchase with credit, there are generally 2 steps, Authorization, and Charge.

    With a true credit card, this is seamless, and causes no issues.

    With a Debit card, BOTH steps can cause the amount to be removed from the bank account, resulting in a phantom “double charge” and in THIS case, when the refund was initially “Authorized” he may be seeing a second charge.

    This certainly MAY be an issue with amazon, but it is most likely an error by the end user, that in the end, will result in him possibly not paying for the items at all.

    Amazon didnt refund the wrong card, it is VERY likely that the ONLY payment they have on file, at this point, is the Credit Card, and it is the Bank, “holding” the 1100 dollars from the account.

  3. javi0084 says:

    “I sent them a nastygram and got on the phone again. The CSR was rude…”

  4. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @javi0084: Nastygram being an email I would assume… one that the CSR probably didn’t even see.

    Besides, at this point, $2000 later, I would be screaming so loud the entire neighborhood would hear me.

  5. trinidon2k says:

    i thought was no longer a valid email address

  6. sgodun says:

    Give me a break. does anyone at amazon know the difference between a debit and a credit? Do I need to draw a picture??

    Apparently YOU don’t know the difference, dipshit, so stop blaming Amazon for your mistake. Yeah, Amazon screwed up — but so did you, and you did it first.

    I am awestruck that this story got greenlit. A customer makes an error, the vendor makes another error, and somehow this is the VENDOR’S fault? STFU.

  7. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @sgodun: No, the vendor made *three* errors.

  8. PunditGuy says:

    The vendor didn’t make one error; by my count, the vendor made at least 5 (each credit instead of debit is really two mistakes). Crap happens, but for a business to make the same mistake repeatedly on the same transaction is not only ludicrous but likely points to a serious CSR system flaw.

  9. hoosierdaddy812 says:

    I’m wondering when people are going to stop blaming the customers for these types of transactions. We’ve all made mistakes and simply using the wrong card only takes a wrong click on two on Amazon.

    Although, I also believe that you need to get your bank in on the loop and if Amazon doesn’t get things fixed have your bank call them directly and get that money back so you can pay your bills.

  10. BrockBrockman says:

    I think the problems isn’t the original futz, as much as Amazon’s assurances that they fixed the problem, when in fact they made it about five times worse.

    If Amazon had told our consumer that they couldn’t change it from debit to credit in the first place, then we wouldn’t see this story; and I’m sure our consumer would have eaten his own bitter mistake without complaining.

    This is kind of like walking down a sidewalk and tripping on your untied shoelace; and when some guy reaches out to help you up, he instead punches you in face about five times.

  11. hypnotik_jello says:

    @sgodun: No, you STFU and stop blaming the victim

  12. DoktorGoku says:

    @sgodun: You may want to actually read the articles more closely before calling other people names.

    I really do hate it when CSRs get defensive of genuine mistakes, though. It’s happened to me a few times with Comcast (yes, I know- and no, there aren’t any alternatives :P )

  13. KogeLiz says:

    I’m blaming the victim.

  14. t-r0y says:

    @Buran: And destroy the debit card! Unless it’s your ATM card too, then first request an ATM only card from your bank/CU. Unless they won’t let you have an ATM only card, then find a bank/CU that will. Unless …

    Oh, hell, the banks are winning.

  15. Copper says:

    I did that the other day, but was able to quickly fix it. No problems. Now I’m way relieved I didn’t caught with this problem, too.

    Good luck.

  16. Buran says:

    @t-r0y: Already switched to an ATM-only card! But still, in this case, Amazon just plain screwed up.

  17. jimconsumer says:

    Don’t pay the overdraft fees. Tell your bank these were fraudulent charges (they were) and that they (the BANK) need to immediately reverse the charges and the overdraft fees.

    The first $572.11 is your fault; you authorized it in the first place. If you incurred overdraft charges for that, you need to deal with it. However, anything beyond that is NOT your fault, those are unauthorized, fraudulent charges, period. You are supposed to have the same protections with a debit card that you have with a credit card. Go down to your bank today and insist those protections be put in force. This is no different than if some scammer had charged a couple grand to your card without your permission.

    I had this conversation with my credit union when I bought something with Paypal. I told Paypal to charge my credit card and they processed the transaction as a bank transfer instead. I called Paypal immediately when the final receipt screen showed up and I saw THEIR system’s error (I’d specifically picked my Amex card as the primary and secondary money sources) and told them to cancel the transaction. They refused, claiming they were unable to. They then tried to take a bunch of money out of my checking account three times (money that didn’t exist in that account), incurring three overdraft fees, over a period of three days.

    I refused to pay the overdraft fees and had to literally fight with my credit union. The charges were fraudulent and unauthorized; when I talked to Paypal I told them, “DO NOT attempt to take this money from my account. I do not give you authorization for this transaction.” They ignored me, thus, fraudulent. It took quite a fight to get the idiots at the credit union to understand this and get those fees refunded.

    So when you get to your bank be prepared for a fight but do not back down. You did not authorize $2288.44 in charges, therefore you should not be liable for all of those overdraft fees. As I understand it, there are federal protections against fraudulent charges and, hence, bogus fees incurred as a result of fraudulent charges. If the bank won’t fix this, threaten them and be loud and obnoxious until they do.

  18. Buran says:

    @sgodun: I think that in this kind of situation, the card is run as a credit card, so on their end there’s no difference between the two.

    I know that back when I had a debit card I could run transactions just like a credit card.

  19. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Contact your bank about the overdraft fees. If you convince them that Amazon charged your card in error (the refund posting is usually required as “proof”) you can usually get them to issue a credit. Even if you are still waiting on the refund from Amazon its worth contacting them now.

    Give Amazon one more chance and tell them you will have to dispute the charges if they don’t get it right. They have to pay fees to their bank even if they win the dispute (which they wouldn’t in this case).

  20. Buran says:

    @jimconsumer: “The first $572.11 is your fault; you authorized it in the first place. If you incurred overdraft charges for that, you need to deal with it.”

    No, he didn’t. He immediately withdrew authorization by changing payment methods. Amazon had authorization to draw from his credit card, NOT the debit card which he had removed from the transaction.

    Amazon’s responsible for pushing through an unauthorized transaction and, I think, the overdraft fees resulting from their fraudulent transaction.

  21. LikeYourFace says:

    @BrockBrockman: “This is kind of like walking down a sidewalk and tripping on your untied shoelace; and when some guy reaches out to help you up, he instead punches you in face about five times.”

    That’s the best possible summation for this story. Lol!

  22. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    @jimconsumer: The Rejected transfers that entailed the fees are much harder.

    I have found that banks will almost always credit fees caused by transactions that are later reversed. If the transaction failed, it can’t be reversed and you have quite a fight.

  23. ideagirl says:

    and the winner for non-productive post of the day is…sgodun

  24. STrRedWolf says:

    Forget the Exec Carpet Bomb. Contact the bank(s) now and charge the whole mess back.

  25. trujunglist says:

    Man, I missed the excitement of sgodun i guess =

  26. wesrubix says:

    user error.

  27. sodden says:

    I absolutely detest debit cards. Stores generate enough confusion with credit cards. Why would anyone let them access their bank accounts directly like that?
    A acquaintance of mine bought some furniture for over $700 and used a debit card. The store was going out of business, debited her bank account, and never delivered the furniture. If she’d used a credit card, there would have been no problem getting a refund. Her only recourse was small claims court, I believe, and even that might be have difficult due to the store’s bankruptcy.