Bar Charges Me Twice For A Drink, I Get $126 In Overdraft Fees

Freddy watches his balances like a hawk, so he was surprised when TD Bank hit him for $126 in overdraft fees. Turns out the bar he had gone to had accidentally charged his debit card twice for one of his drinks, and though he was careful to stay within his low balance, it set the stage for a cascade of fees.

When Freddy made several small purchases during the beginning of the week, each put his account further into the red, adding up to $126.

Even though the bar realized its mistake and reversed the charge, it happened after TD Bank had already socked Freddy with the overdraft fees.

When he complained to the bank, they said it wasn’t their fault, and that he needed to take it up to the bar. Freddy tried to contact the bar’s management, who quickly started to screen his calls.

Calling TD Bank back, they agreed to chop the overdraft fees in half. His account was still in the negative, so 20 days later he was hit with a $20 fee for that.

“When I called customer service again to inquire about the charges,” Freddy writes, ” I asked, “why wasn’t I given a notice that this would happen through the mail or with a phone call?” They said they had no way to get in touch with me, and it was my job to call them to inquire.” They also said that no further action would be taken against his account.

He later met with a local branch rep who said this information was wrong. Actually, if Freddy didn’t bring his account current within 60 days, it would be closed and sent to collections.

“Since then, I have switched banks and refuse to bank with TD,” Freddy writes.

You would hope they would have shown more clemency in your situation since they can see that the transaction record supports your story. I wonder if you had escalated on the phone to a supervisor or spoken to a local branch manager you could have gotten them to waive all the charges.

I know that when I have a low balance I usually check it at least once a day. Not because I’m a super awesome consumer, but because I’m paranoid. It’s wise to try and leave a little buffer in your account if you can, because you never know when something like this might happen. Transacting mainly in cash helps too, as banking with a low balance at a fee-happy bank like TD can be hazardous to your account’s health.


Edit Your Comment

  1. apple420 says:

    Did he opt in to the overdraft protection?

    • Gort42 says:

      Exactly. If he hadn’t opted in, the second charge attempt would have been denied.

      • Pax says:

        Not necessarily.

        When I opened my current account at a local credit union, I specifically and explicitly opted out of their Overdraft Protection service.

        For years, it worked as you describe: when I had insufficient funds, transactions were simply declined.

        Then, the “opt out is the legally mandated default” rules-change came into play. And guess what?

        I got hit with $30 in overdraft fees, because my explicit opt-out had been lost during the change in how they stored opt-in/opt-out information.

        (After discussion with them, they offered to refund half the fees; I decided it wasn’t worth fighting for more, and then made sure I was again explicitly opted out.)

        Anyway, my point is: not everywhere is dealing with the change in requirements in particularly efficient or effective ways. He might NOT have opted in to that overdraft protection, after all.

        • Difdi says:

          Wait a moment…you’re saying that when the change went in making no overdraft “protection” the default, requiring people to opt-in to get it, they lost their files on whether you had ever opted in, opted out or opted at all. So with no data whatsoever, they opted you in illegally, without your consent, and then charged overdraft fees?

          And you didn’t feel strongly enough about theft, breach of contract and them telling lies to do anything about it? I think you may be posting on the wrong site…

          • kujospam says:

            Most banks in the contracts just like credit cards say they can change the rules anytime. Thats why you become a big company. So you can screw others easier.

          • Pax says:

            They now have ne, one, black mark on their record with me – which is still nowhere near enough to outweigh the many, mnany GOLD STARS they have earned in t5he past.

            One example: my girlfriend’s debit card (then bearing the MasterCard logo) got stolen during a hectic christmas season. Within ten minutes, it had been used for a $200-and-change purchase at MAcy’s, a store neither of us would EVER shop at. She of ocurse went directly to the main office to beg them for help.

            She didn’t have to beg, as it turned out. They got the signature faxed over, and it wasn’t even her name, let alone her signature. So, still on the phone with the manager there, the bank worker asks “did you even look at this signature, and ask for identification?”

            Macy’s says: “the holiday season is always very busy, and we just don’t have time to check signatures.”

            The credit union replies: “Well, we don’t have the time to honor any charges from your company, then.” And hangs up on the Macy’s manager! She then proceeded not only to reverse the charge on my girlfriend’s account/card, but to lock Macy’s out (all charges coming up “merchant declined”, or something like that) for the next couple weeks.

            That’s one of many, many things I like about them. I’m willing to let them slide on the one mistake.

            • scoosdad says:

              Well kudos on them acting quickly on your girlfriend’s incident, but I feel bad for the rest of that credit union’s customers who tried to use their cards at Macys and were declined through no fault of their own. By punishing Macys they probably lost a lot of business when their customers found out why they were declined. That was just dumb.

              • Tongsy says:

                Doubtful. If I get a “Declined” on any of my cards, I’ll try again. If I get the same thing, move on to the next card from a different bank.

                I doubt it cost macys any business, and only cost the credit union. If they even did it in the first place (my bet, they just said they did)

                • Pax says:

                  Might be so.

                  Definitely, it made my girlfriend FEEL a lot better, just to see Macy’s get hung up on by the clearly exasperated-with-their-idiocy girl at the bank.

              • Jennnnnnnn says:

                Actually, he may have misunderstood the rep. I had previously done this with my credit union after a dispute with Earthlink many, many years ago. They would not stop taking money out of my account after I’d called to complain about something with the billing.

                I got angry, called my CU and asked them how I can protect myself from them because I’d signed up for an auto-pay. The CU blocked any Earthlink charges to my account for 1 year. They were banned and unable to do so – but there’s no way Hewlett-Packard Federal Credit Union got away with banning ALL consumers from having an Earthlink charge in 2001ish.

            • somedave says:

              If it had a MasterCard logo on it, the MasterCard rules are more important that what a bank manager says. I’m going to assume the manager was just putting on a show for you.

    • Kingeryck says:

      “Overdraft protection” is a line of credit or savings account that transfers funds to Protect you from Overdrafts. Allowing overdrafts its just that, and denying them is just that.

  2. cash_da_pibble says:

    I would suggest that if you’re going out to a bar at ANY TIME- take Cash.

    • UnicornMaster says:

      or an actual credit card. using debit cards for everyday purchases is how most consumers get in trouble.

      • cash_da_pibble says:

        Unless you get so hammered you forget to get your card back at the end of the night, and have to scour the City for your card.
        Or douchebags charge your card for their drinks, i.e. “Tommy -yeah, that guy- said for me to get drinks for the group, he says he’s got a Tab.”

    • cpkook02 says:

      I agree at bars cash is king. Cash is also better for day to day transactions so that you are not charged for six $3 transactions in overdraft fee’s.

      Furthermore you are living very irresponsibly by not having at least a couple hundred dollars in your checking account at all times.

      • common_sense84 says:

        Uh, the solution is never use a debit card as a credit card. Period.

        It’s too risky, mistakes can drain you account. Get a real credit card for stuff like this.

        • mac-phisto says:

          no, i think the cash at bars idea is a good one. i’ve been a victim of overcharges at a bar before (with a CC, not a DC) – there’s just no arguing that you didn’t order the $300 worth of drinks the tender says you did.

          it may protect you on the bank end, but no one’s going to believe that you were overcharged by the bar – they’re just going to think you got too drunk & forgot how many you had ordered along the way.

          • UnicornMaster says:

            In terms of money savings, tipping the change or $1 on every drink is more expensive than tipping all at once at the end of the night. CC FTW.

            • mac-phisto says:

              sure it is. i used to feel the same way. & it’s generally true – until you experience a situation like i described. i’ll gladly tip a little more for the security of knowing that i’m not going to be stuck w/ an exorbitant bill for drinks i didn’t consume.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        Wow, really? How nice of you to imply that it’s irresponsible if you can’t keep several hundred dollars in your account at any given time. Those folks living paycheck to paycheck thank you for uber snark. And yes, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it’s not the best idea to go out drinking but hey, everyone deserves a little time off.

        OP, next time? Use cash.

    • davebu3 says:

      definitely use cash at bars, its actually cheaper too, they round prices down at most that i have been to so they dont have to deal with change.

  3. ElizabethD says:

    See what drinking can lead to? :-P

    • mikeP says:

      Seriously, who goes out to a bar to get wasted while trying to remember exactly how much cash they have left in their bank account?

      If you are cutting it THAT close where 1 drink will make or break you, then maybe you need to lay off the bar hopping for a week or two. If you have to get drunk, go buy a whole bottle of everclear for 11 bucks. Thats the price of 1.5 drinks nowdays and will go a lot further. :-)

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    In before people blame him for not having enough funds.

    He knew he was not over his balance. But a double charge made it so. Blame the merchant, or the bank, not the OP.

    • HazyCloud says:

      Perfect timing. To the person below, the OP kept track of it. It was the bar that screwed up. Just because he has X in his account, doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy a drink or two.

      • ShadowFalls says:

        True, but if he has learned any lesson from this, he should have learned one of these two. Either use cash or make sure you have enough of a margin for error. If a single drink puts out over, there is no margin for errors there… Though it is not entirely the OP’s fault, his actions did contribute.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        Maybe instead, he should have hit the Green Machine (do TD Banks in the US call their ATMs that? That’s what they call them up here) and took cash for his imbibing. Sure would have saved him the 2nd headache (first of course is the one that comes with the hangover.)

    • craptastico says:

      the bar overcharged him for one drink, but it was his purchases the next week that put him over the limit. he should have checked his limit at some point if he uses his debit card so frequently

      • Admiral_John says:

        I use a debit card almost exclusively for my purchases and I check my account at least once a day, and sometimes more. If OP had been a bit more diligent he’d have seen the error and maybe been able to avoid this whole mess.

      • psm321 says:

        The way I read the article, the later charges incurred _further_ fees, the initial overcharge was what first brought him below 0

    • Panoptic says:

      Okay, he could afford one drink, but the bar charged him for two. Then he went on to make additional purchases, which he got nailed with charges for. Then, 20 days later, he was still in the red. Were these drinks outrageously expensive or something, or did he plan on not having any money for the next three weeks?

      • nucwin83 says:

        Let’s say he had 18$ in the bank. He orders a godawful drink that costs him 10$ (Depending on the bar, I can believe it). 8$ remaining, but wait, the bar has double charged him for that drink, so now he’s at -2$, cue the first overdraft. Over the next week he looks to purchase a couple of 1 – 2$ things since he thinks he’s still got 8$ in the bank. Nope, again overdrafts.

        So it’s feasible, but personally if I were that low on my account, going to a bar would be the last thing on my mind.

    • Griking says:

      So what does being “in” get you?

    • RvLeshrac says:

      When I’m low, I switch to my credit card, then pay off what I put on it.

      That way, I don’t get hit with hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees, just the finance charges.

  5. 4Real says:

    Im sorry but if you cant afford a few drinks on your check card DONT BUY THE DRINKS.. geees people complain about overdraft fees but then dont keep enough money in their account or dont keep track of it.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      RTFA. He did in fact have enough money, but due to the merchant’s mistake he was taken over his balance.

      Further, it’s not his responsibility to pay fees on a mistake he did not make.

      Finally, he clearly stated he WAS keeping track of it, which is why his purchases did not cause an overdraft, the merchant’s mistake did.

      So fuck off, I’m sick of these comments that blame someone for something that they did not cause.

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        Here, HERE!!

      • tbax929 says:

        Well said. I don’t even read the comments as often as I used to because I’m so sick of the blame the OP bullshit.

      • ShadowFalls says:

        Alchohol is known to affect judgment. So keeping “track” might lead to mistakes. The idea is not regarding how poor the person is, but not giving up some margin for error. What if you were mistaken on the cost of a drink and heard wrong? Bars are loud after all.. Prices do change as well, even if you are familiar with the place, so assumption is not a good thing either.

        It isn’t all the OP’s fault, but there is a contributing factor as well. I do think the bank was unreasonable, and I think overdraft fees are total BS when they involve an error that is not your own. It isn’t like the bank was out the money or anything. The other issue with banks is if there was money in your savings, they would charge a fee to transfer to your checking to cover it… Because that actually requires human intervention… and the year is 1910…

        One thing though, didn’t the OP in fact opt to allow overdrafts? If you wanted to avoid such a thing from happening, that would have done the trick. After all, if you do keep such wonderful track of your finances, you don’t actually need to bother with such a thing, right?

    • ArtlessDodger says:

      Did you even read the article? The OP did have enough money for his drinks… however the bar double charged him. Not the OP’s fault.

    • amgriffin says:

      So if you had $2,000 in your account and you bought a $1,500 item but the shop charged you twice for it and your bank account suffered would it be your fault? No. Regardless of the amount, it should not be considered his fault if he was not spending more than he had available.

      • AnonymousCoward says:

        I’ve had this happen at a furniture store. There was plenty of money in the account, if the bank (it was a bank error, not the furniture store) hadn’t double charged me for two pieces of furniture at two different stores on the same day. Then refused to take responsibility for their error. It made a mess on my credit report for *years*.

        I’m not bitter….but the same thing has just happened to this guy, just on a smaller scale.

      • MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

        But why would you buy $1500 worth of something, you could go without for the moment, when you only have $2000 in your account and $500 worth of purchases to make in the next few days.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Wow. High on your pedestal? What if he had $500 in his account, bought something for $300 and wherever he bought it, they charged him twice? It’s not the amount in your account so much as the errors made charging it. Maybe he was only down to $2, but that’s not for us to blame the OP for- I know many MANY people in the area that I live in that survive paycheck to paycheck, getting down to $5 left in their accounts before another paycheck.

      If this is clearly the bar’s fault, a more sensible idea would be for him to take them to small claims to recover the overdraft fees, PLUS opt OUT of overdraft.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        It would be more understandable if a double charged $300 purchase caused this problem on a balance of $500. You’re leaving a $200 cushion in that case. While we don’t know the cushion here, its reasonable to assume it was very small. It’s hard to say this without coming across as placing blame on Freddy, but if a double charged drink at a bar is going wipe you out, maybe you should reconsider going to the bar. Leaving the whole “cushion” aside, what about small emergencies , if you got sick tomorrow and had to pay a co-pay, or buy medicine?

        There’s really two issues I see here. He left a very small cushion, and he’s out drinking when he’s essentially broke.

        I understand people live paycheck to paycheck and often have only $5 in their account right before payday. Maybe they needed to pay rent, buy food or health insurance. Things they need. However, if you’re down to $5 in your account, you might want to seriously reconsider spending $3 of those dollars on luxury purchases.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          So poor people/broke people shouldn’t have any kind of release or pleasure because someone else might make a mistake and bounce their account? Sometimes when you are broke, small pleasures are all you have and can make the difference between staying sane and going crazy. The guy has the right to give himself a treat to brighten his life without having his account overdrawn.

          • wrjohnston91283 says:

            Sometimes you have to do things yourself to protect yourself from other’s actions. Why do we wear seatbelts? To protect ourselves in accidents – many of which are caused by other people’s actions. It someone drives into my car, it’s not my fault, but because I choose to wear my seatbelt, I’ll probably not be badly hurt as if I was not.

          • mrchuck85 says:

            @ sisterfunkhaus

            that is the type of thinking that leads to lifelong negative net worth. People need to sacrifice and insulate themselves with a combination of education, credit and cash and various other securities.

            It’s how generational wealth is created.

            If a cocktail overdrafts your account you’re failing at life.

          • MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

            “So poor people/broke people shouldn’t have any kind of release or pleasure because someone else might make a mistake and bounce their account? Sometimes when you are broke, small pleasures are all you have and can make the difference between staying sane and going crazy. The guy has the right to give himself a treat to brighten his life without having his account overdrawn. “

            Yes, but there is something called responsibility. I’m not poor or broke but even I know that you don’t go spending money just because you have it. Granted, the bar screwed up and double charged him and the bank screwed up by not being human in the matter, but the issue could have been avoided.

            Obviously the OP had just enough to buffer himself, a little bit. At most, how much could one of his drinks cost? $6? $7? If he was watching his expenses like a hawk and an extra $6 or $7 would break him, then he should have paid more attention when he made the other purchases. And if $6 or $7 can break you, maybe going out to the bar should not be your first priority.

            Wants vs. Needs. I want to go to the bar. I need to pay for groceries.

        • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

          Well, in his defense… it’s not like a night of drinking. I hardly call 1 drink being frivolous. Maybe this guy works 24/7, just trying to get by. Completely locking yourself out of any pleasure in life is sure to create a dull, suicidal boy.

          As for your call that he couldn’t afford the drink- he didn’t say that he had $15 left in his account and bought a $10 drink. He had $$ in the account to cover future purchases, but because of this one extra charge, it created the awful spiral effect. He said that he bought a drink, was charged x2 for it without his knowledge, then while making purchases AFTER the drink, (I am assuming by what’s written) that he might of thought he had $13 left in the account, but because he was charged an extra $10 for a drink it was down to $3. So if he spent $3.02… a $35 overdraft. He spends another $5…. a $35 overdraft. $2 cup of coffee? $35 overdraft. ETC….

          Although I agree, if you are that low, you should either be meticulous with checking your balance to avoid errors or just try not to spend any money. I know it’s difficult sometimes, as we aren’t a rich household ourselves but at least attempt :) I’ve been there, done that.

          And, how much was this drink!! Damn!! The most I’ve paid at the bar is $5 for 1 beer, and I never went back. Sure your waitress didn’t decide to add her tip to the charge LOL?

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Agreed. Hell, most people survive paycheck to paycheck, or quite often run out of money and charge the rest . While I’m really glad that many people have tons of extra money in the bank to cover someone mischarging their debit card, most people aren’t like that. And while it is an honorable goal to have lots of extra cash, this guy didn’t. But, he did have enough to cover his drink, and that is what is important. It’s not his fault that someone else made a mistake. And, he shouldn’t have to pay for it just because he didn’t have a lot of extra money lying around.

        Blaming him for someone else’s mistake really reeks of superiority.

    • Kishi says:

      I’m sorry but if you can’t bother to read an article on a website DONT COMMENT ON THE WEBSITE.. Geez, people complain about the OP but then don’t keep enough interest in the story to know what’s going on or don’t read the articles.

      Also, make friends with your apostrophe key. It’s not gonna bite.

    • backinpgh says:

      So you’re saying that if I want to buy something that costs $5, I shouldn’t buy it unless I can afford to spend $10? That doesn’t make any fricking sense. He bought exactly as much as he could afford, no more and no less. Keeping track of your account won’t make a difference when the merchant makes a mistake that you have no control over. Maybe if I buy a sandwich at Burger King I should make sure I have $300 in my account in case they charge me that instead of $3.00

      • yusefyk says:

        No, I think he’s saying if you have not enough money in your account to afford two drinks, you should not use your card to buy one drink. No reason to be insulted.

      • Aedilis says:

        Funny story about that. I was on vacation and I took the family out to dinner at the resort restaurant. Well our bill was just about $80. Doing what I normally do, I rounded up the tip to an even number and it should have been $100. Well turns out they charged our card for $1000.

        The credit card company put a hold on our card because they thought it was fraud and we had to wait until Monday on the week-long trip to get our cards turned back on. We got the amount successfully charged back and the resort was actually very helpful to us. They comped the meal for us, gave us tickets to the waterpark and theme park nearby us, and even gave us a free room service meal.

        We had our check card with us and cash so we weren’t stranded or anything, but I did see how one mistake could lead to a series of unfortunate events. If we had been using our check card for the trip, there would have been some overdrafts for sure as we only keep no more than $1500 in our checking account at any given time. The rest is in savings and CDs.

      • BigErn says:


    • LACubsFan says:

      @Broadway96 You are 100% correct. If the price of 1 extra drink will force you into all sorts of fees WELL THEN YOU SHOULDN’T BE OUT DRINKING. Shit, if you are that broke you need to save every penny, not waste money on frivolous stuff.

      • c_c says:

        Some people just don’t keep a lot of $$ in their checking account because it’s a dumb place to keep money. Doesn’t mean he’s broke. I don’t keep a lot in mine either; however I never use my debit card for purchases, always use the credit card, mainly because shit like this can happen.

        • hansolo247 says:

          While you have a point, keeping an absolute minimum of funds just begs for stuff like this.

          I keep $3,000, minimum, at all times in my checking account. Of course, my checking account does pay (stupid low) interest.

  6. dg says:

    Sounds like some pretty expensive drinks. *grin*

    All kidding aside – the bar caused the problem, and the issues that ensued were a result of their negligence. Send them a bill for the full and complete amount of the overdraft fees, as well as your time and other expenses (phone, copies, fax, mail) to resolve this issue. Give them 10 days to pay in full.

    Send the letter certified, return receipt requested.

    If they refuse it – don’t open it when it comes back. If they accept it and don’t pay, then take their asses to small claims court, and SUE them for the amount you want, plus court costs, filing fees, service fees, and attorney’s fees (whether you hire one or not) – charge for your time, transportation costs, and everything.

    If they show up – make your case. If they don’t and they were served, then ask for a default judgment.

    When you get it, file it, and send them another certified letter that it’s been filed against them, but you can release it for full payment of the judgment + filing fees + transportation + your time + release fees.

    If they don’t pay – then send it to a collection agency and let them go after the schmucks…

    • MrEvil says:

      Wonderful thing about licensed businesses, if you get a judgement against them and they still refuse to pay, one of the first things the state will do is revoke their licenses. Kinda hard for a bar to make money when they can’t sell any booze.

    • hymie! says:

      The bar caused the problem in that they mistakenly double-billed him.

      The bar did not, however, cause the problem that he had $5 in his account and couldn’t afford to be double-billed for the drink.

      The bar rectified the problem they caused by reversing the charge. As a token gesture, they might have refunded one overdraft fee.

      But the bar certainly did not cause $126 in fees, and I think you would be hard-pressed to convince a judge that they did.

      • Billy says:

        If the judge had heard of the concept of “consequential damages” (it’s pretty standard in contract law), the judge would definitely find for the OP.

    • Gulliver says:

      1. You can not under any state law sure for attorney’s fees “whether you use one or not”. You can only collect for what you are actually out. Your time is not compensable. If that were the case I could say my time is worth $1 billion dollars an hour. PAY UP BITCH.
      2. If you file in small claims, even if you paid an attorney that is NOT a compensable expense.
      3. If you win, sending it to a collection agency is the stupidest move you could make. You are paid pennies on the dollar for collection agencies. THEY collect the money and pay you pennies. The correct course of action would be to file a writ. If your judgment was for $150, you could collect the first $150 cash that came in the bar that day (with a court order and sheriff), then leave, after handing them a satisfaction of judgement.

      • Billy says:

        I judged some arbitrations a few weeks ago. They hear these types of cases all the time.

        The parties asked for (and received) attorneys fees and filing fees. It was pretty standard.

        I think it really depends on the court and jurisdiction.

        • Gulliver says:

          Filing fees are different. I have never heard of any jurisdiction allowing attorneys fees in small claims. The entire REASON for small claims is to speed up the process and get them out of the process. Arbitration is something different than small claims court. In fact, no person can be forced to participate in small claims. If you sue me in small claims, my next course of action would be to move it to district court. The evidence rules in small claims are more informal, but district court you are going to need an attorney

    • Pax says:

      2. If you file in small claims, even if you paid an attorney that is NOT a compensable expense.

      Not true everywhere; this varies from state to state.

      • dg says:

        I’m in IL – whenever I have sued someone in small claims court, I’ve always represented myself (known as Pro Se), and asked for “Attorney’s Fees” in the amount of $75.00/hr. Low-end attorneys make $150/hr, so me asking for 50% of that has never been denied by a Judge. I had to go do the research, do the legwork, litigate the case, so I’ve acted as an attorney for myself – why shouldn’t I be paid?

      • dg says:

        I’m in IL – whenever I have sued someone in small claims court, I’ve always represented myself (known as Pro Se), and asked for “Attorney’s Fees” in the amount of $75.00/hr. Low-end attorneys make $150/hr, so me asking for 50% of that has never been denied by a Judge. I had to go do the research, do the legwork, litigate the case, so I’ve acted as an attorney for myself – why shouldn’t I be paid?

  7. Hi_Hello says:

    pay your bank then sue the bar in small claim court. bank isn’t at fault, the bar was.

    on a side note… I don’t like using debit card…. tooo much of a risk… cash or credit card for me. credit is paid in full each month.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I do the same thing just to prevent situations like this. I keep a very strict budget and always put excess funds directly in my saving accounts. By the end of the month, I only have a $100 buffer left in my checking account because everything else has been transferred to savings.

      It’s just way too easy for a debit transaction to get double billed or a temporary authorization to cause a cascade of overdrafts. These kind of problems are much easier to resolve when it’s a credit card — Nothing is declined, no bounced checks, no overdrafts, etc.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        same here, 100 in my checking!! I have an alert if it goes under… only happen once. Another time, it went to 60 because I forgot about a check. Stuff happens, people can blame other people for it or they can put their own protection.

        I’m thinking about changing the 100 padding to 1000 after reading all these incidents.

        One time something got charge twice on my credit card. Call the merchant, issues resolved, credit backed to my credit card, easy.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I have to disagree. The bar fixed it. But what material cost does the bank lose with reversing the fees, other than the fees themselves?

      Correcting such mistakes should be a part of their business, and the potential manpower loss is trivial.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        i would let the judge decide. Did the bar really fixed it? the bar reverse the 2nd charge. I wouldn’t consider that a fix…

        you can blame everyone here and not blame everyone.
        1) bar charged twice but they uncharged it
        2) bank charge him fees but they offer to do 1/2, they didn’t do anything wrong, there was an overdraft.
        3) guy watches his balance but he didn’t make sure he has enough funds for when crap happens.

      • Billy says:

        The bar reversed the overcharge, but it’s still on the hook for consequential damages. It’s a foreseeable damage that arises from the bar’s breach (the double charge). The bar knows it. That’s why they are avoiding the OP’s calls.

        As a practical matter, you’re right, though.

        • common_sense84 says:

          No, it is not on the hook for anything. The bank needs to remove the fee. They have no right to charge it.

          The bar is not liable for charge mistakes. Especially when the guy had to sign the charge slip. He was too drunk to realize what the bill said.

      • macoan says:

        The bar did not fix it, they just reversed the charge.

        Lets say I took a lit flare into your house and your house caught fire and burnt down.

        … did I fix it by taking the lit flare back out of the house? No, because the actions already caused the damage.

        Even though I don’t like to give much credit to a person who is using a debit card without overdraft protction with little money in his account (USE CASH) – I think the bar owes some money.

        A nice letter to the bar (certified) explaining in detail the charges that were put upon you when they charged them twice to the bar, with the notes that you would love to settle the issue now before taking this to court might just get the bar owner to pay up so they won’t have to go through the hassle.

  8. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    If he “watches his balance like a hawk” why is it that he kept making purchases?

    • DigitalShawn says:

      Maybe because the bar swiped it as a credit card,not debit. These sometimes take 3-4 days to withdraw, and some banks do not list them as pending.

      • Mina_da_mad_child says:

        For TD Bank, most purchases, even those from bars, show up as pending as soon as the card is swiped. This has helped me immensly

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It’s just a theory, but it might be because he still had money to spend.

      Don’t be an ass.

      • bwcbwc says:

        If you’re spending the last few bucks in your account in a bar, you may not have a money-management problem. But you probably have a drinking problem.

      • pinkbunnyslippers says:

        Wasn’t trying to be – it’s a legit question. Almost every bank these days posts their transactions in real time. So if he assumedly was at the bar on let’s say Saturday night, and the double-dip caused an overdraft, it would’ve at the very least shown as pending that night. Let’s go a step farther and say that on Monday, the double dips hit the account, thusly “officially” overdrafting the account. If he truly watches his account as closely as he says, and the cost of two drinks (let’s say $20 just to be fair) was enough to overdraft his account, then why would he continue to make purchases?

        At the end of the day, if AN EXTRA DRINK is going to overdraft you, you probably didn’t have that much $$ in the account to begin with, and probably should’ve been keeping a better eye on it, which he claims he does, hence my question.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          At bars and restaurants, most of the time, the card is used as a credit card rather than keying in the pin and being a debit. I know for me when I use it without keying in my pin, it can take a couple of days to post. If I get gas on Friday and use my card as credit (which I do to avoid using my pin and getting my number stolen) it is usually Monday night before the transaction posts. So, it doesn’t always go right on.

  9. Beeker26 says:

    “I know that when I have a low balance I usually check it at least once a day. Not because I’m a super awesome consumer, but because I’m paranoid.”


  10. James says:

    If you’re using plastic use credit cards. Pay them once a week.

    If accidental double charges happens it doesn’t affect your bill/mortgage/rent money or overdraft you. And you can dispute when needed.

    • nakkypoo says:

      Paying once a week is a bad idea. You can usually send two payments per billing cycle, more than that and they charge you a fee for each additional payment.

      • James says:

        ouch that’s a rough fee. Didn’t notice- mine don’t have that. I have it linked to bank account so it simply sends in the payment.

        I do it every 10-15 days actually so the cashbackpoints accrue.

    • c_c says:

      Why pay once a week? I pay off my balance once a month, no interest accrues… doesn’t seem like there’s a benefit to paying more frequently, unless you have money management issues…

    • OSAM says:

      Plastic Credit cards? As opposed to what, paper ones?

    • hansolo247 says:

      Once a week? Are you mad?!?

      I get ~50 days grace, interest free, on my credit card. I pay the statement balance once a month on the due date.

      Paying early just means you forgo interest income. So, I buy using the card, earn ~0.7% doing so in merchant fee rebates, then float it for 50 days earning another 0.14% (50 days, 1% per year on savings).

      On the >$1,000 a month I spend, that’s an extra $8.40 per month, or $100 per year I earn. To use a credit card.

      Just goes to show, if you use a credit card CORRECTLY, it is a source of income, not a source of grief. These stupid new laws are going to end my gravy train so the financial illiterates can be rewarded.

  11. OnePumpChump says:

    The moral of the story is always have at least twice the amount you are spending in your account.

    Or maybe 3 times, in case they triple-charge you. Or…what’s the record for over-charging?

  12. ElDiablo says:

    Why tempt fate?

    “My table saw is great, isn’t it? Lemme just fire that up…

    Aww, isn’t my 12 month old pretty? I’ll just go ahead and put her down her 2 inches from the spinning saw…

    What? My baby died? THIS ISN’T MY FAULT!”

    The merchant is at fault for double charging, but why not have a ‘buffer’ in some way shape or form so you aren’t constantly flirting with disaster?

    • Mike says:

      I have to agree with you, it might not be a good idea to be spending money for anything other than essentials if the cost of an extra drink can overdraw your account. In literal terms the OP has a right to be upset, but in practical terms he should not have been buying that drink.

  13. billybob9280 says:

    Good gosh, are people living like this? You don’t need a drink, you need a bigger bank account! Put 2k in the account and move on to bigger problems in life!

    • craptastico says:

      this might be the dumbest advice i’ve ever read here. why not say “just put a $billion in all your accounts and then you never have to worry about them running low”.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      You want to give all of us who don’t have it, $2k? That’s my take home pay for an entire month. It takes me a LONG time to build up that much cushion. And as others have pointed out, maybe he only puts enough into his checking account to cover what he’s going to spend. The article doesn’t say, we don’t know.

      As far as $2k, what if, like another poster said happened to them, they were charged double for their furniture? Then the $2k wouldn’t have helped. It’s not how much was in there, it’s the fact that the bar/merchant screwed up and charged them twice.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        +10 for this.

        So sick of hearing people say that your checking account should have $X,000 in it. They don’t seem to realise that some of us don’t just live paycheck-to-paycheck because we *want* to.

        I have a fair, but small, savings account that I refuse to touch for anything but the direst of emergencies, but that’s money I’ve accrued over decades of gifts from relatives, along with savings bonds I was given when I was a kid. There’s simply not enough left at the end of the month to have wads of it dumped into savings without worrying about overdraft fees.

        • billybob9280 says:

          Get a credit card. Use only that to make these type of purchases. Pay off the credit card with your debit/checking account. If you see a wrong purchase, you have plenty of time to fix it.

    • runswithscissors says:

      Because most of us can’t just ask rich mommy and one of our even richer step-daddies for $2000.

      • godospoons says:

        If not $2000, $500. $250. If double-charging you for a cocktail–a mistake, granted, but a common one–sends you into a negative balance death spiral, you needed neither the phantom *or* the real cocktail to begin with. You were one late merchant billing or preauthorization away from this situation if a cocktail screwed you, so you were living on borrowed time.

        Boo-hoo if reality intrudes on your self-created right to prioritize your extremely short term joy over potential long term consequences. If you don’t have a two to three month emergency fund to backstop you, why don’t you buy a case of Pabst–in cash–and stay home (or get a second job) until you’re no longer insolvent. And no… this is not a luxury. This is adulthood. Enjoy.

    • TasteyCat says:

      I think this is fair advice. Save more. If you don’t have enough money in your bank account to cover the cost of two drinks, you probably should be saving that drink money for a rainy day.

  14. nakkypoo says:

    It’s probably more hassle than it’s worth for $83 but OP might consider a small claims case. List both the bar and the bank as defendants in the same filing and the judge will decide which of them needs to pay up. They’ll also pay your court costs, so you get a little revenge for them screwing you over like this.

    Also, I usually use cash at bars. Its a risky place to use a credit card… and I really don’t want my bank knowing about my drinking problem.

  15. Slatts says:

    Hello! Earth to consumers — don’t use debit cards. Use a no-annual-fee credit card, and pay it off every month. Cost: $0.00. If you can’t manage this, you probably can’t manage a debit card, either.

    No micro-managing your checking account balance. No worries about this type of situation at bars, gas pumps, you can even — wow! — rent a car, hassle free. This type of situation, on the 1-10 Hassle Scale, with: debit card: 9; credit card: 1 (might still have to call the bar to get them to reverse charges; but even if they wouldn’t, you could still dispute the charge, which is virtually impossible w/ debit).

    • Jeff says: "WTF could you have been thinking?" says:

      I’ve disputed 2 different charges on my debit card over the last 10 years. The bank sided with me on both occasions and even refunded an overdraft fee one of the rogue charges caused. Maybe you need a different bank.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I don’t want to have a credit card and should not HAVE to have one to purchase things without being overdrawn. For some of us, credit cards are like poison and the responsible thing to do is avoid them at all costs. I know people who have gotten themselves in bad situations with cards, filed bankruptcy, and charged them right back up (not me). Credit cards aren’t an option for everyone for various reasons, so it isn’t as easy of a solution as you think. Glad it’s easy for you and that you have so much self control and are uber responsible, etc.. but it just isn’t that way for the whole world.

      The point is, someone made a mistake and this guy suffered. No need to blame him, tell him how he should have been more responsible or should have a credit card, etc… He got screwed plain and simple.

      • TasteyCat says:

        Credit cards are only poison if you use them as an additional source of income. If you pay them in full each month, you get all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks.

  16. Shmoodog says:

    This happened to me once, slightly differently.

    A bar I was at with friends had their cashier screens towards the barstools. I left my debit card to open a tab (one of the last times I’ve done that), and two guys at my bar saw my name on the screen when he entered in my drink order.

    I went back to my friends. The two guys then proceeded to order drinks on my tab, saying they were friends with . When I saw the bill, and said wtf are these extra drinks, the bartender said it was for ‘my friends at the bar.’

    He did not dispute that he had made an error. However, it was a new bar, and a new bartender, and when he tried to remove the drinks debit, he accidentally charged me another $100.

    So at midnight (can’t remember if it was weekday or weekend), I called my bank, Chase, and told them what happened. They spoke with the bartender, who gave his merchant ID, and after half an hour they removed the charges on the spot.

    Needless to say, I have had a phobia about leaving a tab ever since, and I usually make my friends do it. (not to mention my habit of leaving the bar, drunk, without my card or license.)

    Moral of the story: pay cash at a bar, unless you don’t care about these kinds of things.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      scary… i never understand the tab thing… i think it’s just a way for business to get more money from you. I rarely go to the bar, but when I do, I notice my friends who has a tab tend to spend waaaayyyy tooo much. These friends can’t even figure out how to split a check with they don’t drink (actually a lot of people I know don’t know how to do this…)

      I carry a certain amount of cash, and know when I need to stop buying stuff. Sure it’s more work for the waitress or bartender but I tip them for each transactions I make with them.

      • cash_da_pibble says:

        yep. I agree with this.
        If I’m going out I pay Cash, I usually take $40. That should allow me to ahve a few drinks, buy drinks for a friend or two and a snack at some point.
        Then I have a budget in which to work, and can limit both my spending and my alcohol intake.

        If my $40 is GONE- then chances are so am I, and it’s time to go home.

    • Kryndar says:

      Hmm I`ve only ever once had to leave a card to start a tab and even then, if I recall correctly, only people who started the tab could add to it.

  17. Billy says:

    Why isn’t the headline, “Even though bar overcharged Freddy and caused him to overdraw, TD Bank agrees to chop the agreed-to overdraft fees in half (though they were under no obligation to do so). Bar refuses to pay for its mistake”?

  18. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    I’m popping the popcorn to watch the OP massacre that’s about to happen. This should be good.

    Too easy though, Consumerist. We all know what’s gonna happen here.

  19. Hollihocks says:

    Bars and nightclubs NOTORIOUSLY don’t give a shit (at least here in Atlanta).

    I worked in the office of a nightclub (slash private events venue – my job) and when double charges happen (for instance, the server or bartender misrang and voided it), we were not liable. We simply said that “such is the downfall of using a debit card at a bar.” These were tabs ranging from $50-$600 (bottle service). We made them take up overdraft charges with the bank.

    My roommate just had this happen – the server charged her the right amount (like $20) and then a screw up charge of $165! Not even close to the tab! Management didn’t give a damn. Luckily my roommate had the $ in her acct to cover it, but they didn’t even apologize for stupid server error. Not even a free appeteaser. Or like my friend who got charged THREE times last week at one bar – once for the wrong card (void) once for the wrong amount (void) and then the right amount. Screwed his acct up for a week!

    There’s one bar here, Burkhart’s, that would hold $50 on your card even for one $4 drink . It’d go away, but by God, you better be ready to hold $50! Nevertheless, they got rid of it.

    But yes, have cash or be prepare yourself for the slight chance of issues and holds.

    • greggen says:

      Your nightclub might have had a policy that issues like this are “such is the downfall of using a debit card at a bar.” But that does not make legal policy. There is a responsibility to charge the correct amount, and only that amount. If a nightclub makes this mistake often, it would turn towards a criminal nature IMO. Not all of these mistakes caught, the club illegally profits.

      • mac-phisto says:

        this is why it’s important to pursue recovery of any fees with the merchant (in this case, the bar).

        i work for an FI, & as a policy, we work with our members to refund erroneous fees & charges. we do that to provide good service, but in a way, i feel as though we are also doing them a disservice. if merchants are not held liable for their mistakes, they won’t work as hard to prevent them.

        charging someone for a service/good they didn’t receive is not only wrong – it’s illegal. the fees are a byproduct of that illegal activity. they are penalties that should be paid by the party that erred.

      • Hollihocks says:

        Greg – The charges mentioned were voided charges. BUT with debit cards they showed as a hold, thus creating the issue. The charge was corrected on the spot, but don’t disappear from the hold for a few days. That’s when the “downfall of debit card use” came into play.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I like the idea of cash as a way to avoid this (but not as a way to blame the op, he has a right to use the card without being overdrafted.) I have found that cash is best all around for budgeting purposes. I am way more careful when I use cash and am guaranteed not to overspend my budget (we always have a cushion, but I still don’t want to overspend) or be accidentally overdrafted.

  20. zekebullseye says:

    My new bank ( a credit union) has free overdraft protection: if you go empty it dips into your savings account. My old bank would sock me with fees, even if the overdraft was due an obvious error like using the wrong checkbook. My new bank will send me alerts if I go below a certain balance. My old bank, conveniently for them, didn’t. You could get alerted for all kinds of other things but not that. Anything to make money. Their greed didn’t pay off in the long run: I’m leaving Fifth Third and they’re losing a 20-year customer. Plus I tell everyone I can how much they suck so hopefully they’ll lose more business.

  21. drjayphd says:

    Oooh, I’m only three more “WHY WAS HE BUYING DRINKS” away from filling up another punch card. Friendly reminder that the OP didn’t overdraw by spending too much, he overdrew because the bar charged him twice. Read. The. God. Damn. Post.

    • MongoAngryMongoSmash says:


      We just don’t agree.

      “Freddy watches his balances like a hawk, so he was surprised when TD Bank hit him for $126 in overdraft fees. Turns out the bar he had gone to had accidentally charged his debit card twice for one of his drinks,”

      If he watches his balances so much then how did he not check to see what happened at the bar?

      “and though he was careful to stay within his low balance, it set the stage for a cascade of fees. When Freddy made several small purchases during the beginning of the week, each put his account further into the red, adding up to $126.”

      The cost of one drink caused him to go into the red. How can you justify blowing money on something like alcohol at a bar when you have only a buffer of $6 or $7 in your account?

      The bar was wrong! The bank was ridiculous! The OP was not responsible….enough. Meaning. Don’t go out and blow your money if you can’t cover a margain of error that small.

  22. phil says:

    For those blaming the OP on a tight balance: It could have been much worse than 2X.

    I once had a vendor skip a decimal place – charging 10X the actual amount. Do all of you keep enough in your account to handle 10X of any typical purchase? How about 100X?

    In my case, it was a credit card, not a debit card – so fixing it was trivial. The vendor must have been embarrassed: The original charge was canceled, and they never re-billed for the correct amount.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      I had that problem before, too. Mine was on a CHECK though. I wrote a check to pay my student loan for $150 and they deposited it for $1150. Fortunately my bank fixed it quickly when it was pointed out but still, it doesn’t matter how much you have in the bank if you are erroneously charged, it still hurts.

    • TasteyCat says:

      Yes, I can cover 10 or 100 times of anything. I use a credit card. If they don’t want to authorize the charge, it will decline.

  23. hosehead says:

    Not the consumer’s fault. The bar should pay up.

    But, advice; just stop using debit cards to make purchases. It is not worth whatever your bank is offering you. Get a credit card. Use it. Pay it off.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      I’m sorry but I doubt the OP is in a position to qualify for a CC. He carries a $5 balance in his bank account for crying out loud. His only other viable choice is cash. Personally, I don’t go to bars but if I did, I’d only use cash since I don’t want them to even touch one of my cards.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      He may not want to use one either. I do well to live within my means with checks/debits and cash and have a bit leftover for emergencies. I wouldn’t dare tempt myself with a credit card. I’ve been down that road. Haven’t used on in four years. Again, for some of us, not having a credit card is the responsible thing.

  24. Crackpot says:

    The bank’s claim that it wasn’t their fault is incorrect. The correct course of action would have been to file a chargeback with the bank’s claim department, rather than haggle over fees with customer service. Normal banking policies are to refund chargeback fees when the claim is found in the banking customer’s favor.

    FILE THE CHARGEBACK EVEN IF THE MERCHANT AGREES TO REFUND THE FEE. Your bases are covered when you file this. Worst-case scenario: the bank find in your favor, cancels the chargeback, and takes their temporary credit back. If they refuse, point out their policies regarding liability for unauthorized use. This should all be handled in the claims department, as they usually have more leeway regarding overdraft fees than customer service does. Worst-case scenario if you don’t file a chargeback even when expecting the refund: what happened to the OP.

    • invisibelle says:

      This. I posted in another comment, I had a similar situation and went the chargeback route – all fees were refunded.

    • Billy says:

      Can you do a chargeback on a debit card?

      Is there anything to chargeback? The bar gave him back his money. Isn’t that the point of the chargeback (to reverse the charges)?

      The issue is the subsequent fines. The bank could help him out there (and it did, a little), but it doesn’t seem like they are under any real obligation to reverse the overdraft fees. The bank could, of course, do it to be good sports.

      The OP needs to take this up with the merchant that caused the problem in the first place: the bar.

      That reminds me: why is the bank’s name mentioned, but the bar’s is not?

      And another thing: why is the OP asking why he wasn’t informed of the charges? He was certainly informed that overdrafts would cause fines. Is there something that the bank agreed to that said it would call him? He, supposedly, watches his account like a hawk, too. He would know about the fines, right?

      • Crackpot says:

        I can’t speak to why a bank would or wouldn’t explain the fees, but yes, you can do a chargeback on a debit card. The process is usually identical to doing it with a credit card. And yes, fees are generally included in what would be refunded, because otherwise this would constitute you being held responsible for charges associated with unauthorized use/fraud/duplicate charges, which most banks claim you are not. You just have to make sure you point those fees out – with the claims folks, not with customer service. The claims department is more likely to refund them because there’s a specific procedure for doing so. With customer service, that’s when it’s more of a “favor” thing.

  25. humphrmi says:

    Agreed, the bar is responsible for the fees. They’re not returning your calls because they don’t want to pay. Get more aggressive.

    And as others said, use a credit card and pay it off every month.

  26. mjd74 says:

    While it’s certainly not the OP’s fault, if he has to watch his balance like a hawk he might be better off using cash.

  27. backinpgh says:

    All the more reason I don’t give my card for bar tabs…I don’t trust bartenders to begin with!

  28. Mike says:

    In the literal sense, this guy is 100% correct, he should not have to pay for the overdraft fees, the bar he went to should since they caused the problem.

    But from a practical sense many of us feel that the OP has to take some blame for not being realistic. This guy was double charged for a drink, which, let’s say was really expensive and cost $25. An accidental charge of $25 overdrew his account. Yes, he should not have been double-charged, but we live in an imperfect world where things go wrong, perhaps he should have a larger buffer in his account before he goes around charging things. We are not taking about being double-charged for a TV here, it was a drink.

    I know what it is like to be broke, it sucks. And I know that when you are broke sometimes things like going out with friends to have a meal or drink are things you really want to do, even though you barely have enough money. But when you are out being care free for those few moments you no longer feel broke. You can forget about the fact that you can barely pay your bills.

    Being broke sucks, and part of being broke is accepting the fact that sometimes, even though in theory you have the money to do something, perhaps you shouldn’t. I would suggest you create a buffer based on your monthly expenses. For this guy I bet $500 would be enough, for those of us with lots of expenses and such, perhaps we need more.

    Again, the bar was in the wrong, and should at least comp him some free drinks equal in value to the fees, but in truth all they are obligated to do is refund him the cost of the drink.

  29. milrtime83 says:

    Mistakes happen. The OP is just asking for trouble if he is making so many “small purchases” with a balance so close to $0. What happens if one of those places puts a hold on even $10 and that puts his other small purchases in the negative? Who’s fault is it then?

  30. gorby says:

    it’s the bar’s fault, yeah, but who goes to a bar — to say nothing of blowing money on alcohol anyway — when they’re down to their last penny?

  31. invisibelle says:

    The only time I’ve ever overdrawn an account was a charged-twice situation – except with a high summertime electric bill, so my account wasn’t even that low. The bank (BofA) was willing to refund all the fees and stuff as long as I disputed the 2nd charge… I was surprised at how reasonable they were, actually.

  32. dago_31 says:

    We need to have some sort of fault percentage calculation here (and with most posts). Such as 80% bar for double-charging and ducking calls, 20% OP for, you know, paying with a debit card and only carrying enough money for one drink and some penny candy purchases (the “several small purchases” that resulted in the overdrafts), 0% TD as they are merely following the terms laid out in the account.

    And did the bar charge $50 per drink or did the OP make several individual transactions at a penny candy store to rack up the overdraft fees?

  33. AnonymousCoward says:

    I make my own drinks at home.

  34. FishtownYo says:

    He was double charged for ONE drink and that sent his account into this spiral? What would have happened when he made the additional purchases if the drink was charged twice?The same thing. I blame the OP

    • El_Fez says:

      Well, what would have happened if he went crazy doing blow out of the cleavage of hooker and then went apshit crazy with an axe and killed everyone in the bar. I, too, blame the OP for this bad judgment in doing imaginary blow!

  35. FishtownYo says:

    He was double charged for ONE drink and that sent his account into this spiral? What would have happened when he made the additional purchases if the drink wasn’t charged twice?The same thing. I blame the OP

  36. Pastry Minion says:

    Not the OP’s fault the bar screwed up, but probably a good lesson to be learned here- if cash is tight, take out only what you intend to spend in cash. When my checking account hits $50 (hasn’t happened in a while, but has happened) I will pull out $40, leave $10, and pull the card out of my wallet until I get paid or have more money to deposit. If you don’t use the card, you can’t overdraft on it. Sure, it doesn’t protect you from crazy stuff like card fraud, but it does protect you from yourself.

    • FishtownYo says:

      Will the OP state exactly what the one drink cost? No way in hell was it $25 and if it were, I still blame the OP. He should have used an ATM AND WITHDREW THE CASH BEFORE THE BAR.

  37. camman68 says:

    It should be possible for a merchant to “cancel” an invalid charge rather than just credit the amount back to the account a few days later.

    Even if it took the bank 10 days to remove the incorrect charge, the balance would be corrected and never a negative amount.

    Of course, it would cost the banks $$ if they acted like a human….so that won’t ever happen.

  38. HeavyMental says:

    he’s almost to the limit of his credit and he goes drinking in a bar ???

    and he can’t even pay his card 20 days later, does he ever do the groceries ?

    lots of things wrong in that letter, and many more wrongs with the guy

  39. Gulliver says:

    If the bar reversed the charge, the bank should reverse the overdraft fees. I am guessing from the sound of it, the drink took him below his balance, but each additional; purchase would have taken him below if the bar had done everything correctly. Lets say he had $7 in his account, and paid for a $5 drink, the second charge took him to -$3, plus the over draft of $36. He is now $39 dollars in the hole. He made several small purchases? But he only had $2 in his account. Any bank will make you whole again if there was a merchant error. BUT, I am thinking he wants to wipe away NSF and overdraft fees that were going to happen regardless.

  40. czarrie says:

    Protip: If your bar tab twice-over puts you in the red, you might not want to go to the bar in the first place. But the bank still should refund the overdraft fees — and will if you keep on raising a stink about it.

  41. SassySoy says:

    sucks. Its the bars fault for charging double. But they gave him his money back. But is it really their fault that he got slammed with overdraft fees? I don’t think so. If he didn’t have his balance next to nothing in the first place, this post wouldn’t exist.

  42. StevePierce says:

    Geez, if one drink tips you over, don’t use your debit card, pay cash.

  43. HenryES says:

    Another good reason to not use debit cards.

  44. ZukeZuke says:

    Sounds like he would’ve gone into the red anyways.

    They only double charged him on ONE drink, and then he kept making other purchases after that. So unless that drink was like $50 for 1, and then his subsequent purchases were for only for bubble gum, a coffee, etc. then…

    Lesson 1: Keep more money in your account so you don’t have to check your balance online every single day of your life. And waste hours that you’ll never get back.

    Lesson 2: If you fail at #1, learn to not live on the edge of being completely broke, and save some money for a while… namely, stay away from the bar for a week or two or month…

    Lesson 3: Bring cash to the bar next time.

  45. dirtylurker says:

    Are you serious. No wonder you have no money, really go to the bar and waste what little money you have. I love to drink and go out, but cmon did you really need spend what you had left? Go to a liquor store and buy a cheap bottle.

  46. ARPRINCE says:

    Moral of the story….don’t drink if you don’t have money!

  47. Intheknow says:

    I don’t know, but if I only had a few dollars in my checking account, I’d opt for paying with cash, especially in a bar or restaurant.

  48. Mcshonky says:




  49. ldub says:

    Reason #256 to bank at a locally owned credit union, where you stand a decent chance of being able to speak directly to senior management.

  50. jiarby says:

    If you have less than $10 in your bank account is it really a good idea to be out buying drinks at a bar? Keep a comma in your checking account and this does not happen to you.

  51. chocolate1234 says:

    While I feel for the OP, it’s a reminder to everybody that this stuff happens with bars all the time. In this case it was an error – the double billing, but a LOT of bars will put a pre-authorization hold on the card at the beginning of the night. That’s separate from the amount they end up debiting, so essentially the customer has two transactions holding, even though only one will clear through the account. I used to see it all the time. In the case of a bar, never use a card there unless you have a buffer.

  52. sebastian tombs says:

    TD is notorious for this kind of stuff – especially overdrafts – I switched banks when something similar happened to me. Now I keep an account with them only when I travel internationally. They seem to be the only bank that does not charge for using international ATMS for cash withdrawals in other countries. Otherwise I would not use them at all. They were the best bank I ever had when they were Commerce Bank but after the Canadians bought Commerce and switched it to TD Bank, they now are the worst bank I have ever had for normal banking transactions.

  53. FranktasticVoyage says:

    USE CASH!!!

  54. I just blue myself says:

    Wow, I’m really fed up reading all these blame the OP comments. It’s none of our freaking business what he chooses to do with his money. So what if an extra drink cost him to overdraft? That’s not the point of the freaking article!

  55. physics2010 says:

    I think $126 worth of overdraft fees is a bit much, but otherwise I still have to go with the “keep a buffer” crowd. Yes there are a lot of people that live paycheck to paycheck, and can’t get ahead. I understand that it may not be their fault, but I’ve got to give the advice, if an extra $5 charge is going to put you over, then skip the drink and save the money. I understand not everyone has it as easy, but I also know folks that still live paycheck to paycheck that bring down $130k a year and have not more cash than when they were brining down 24k.

  56. clownsRcreepy says:

    *Horatio whips off sunglasses*

    “Looks like he got more than he bargained for…”


  57. Lorelei714 says:

    If someone is that broke why are they drinking???

  58. Kingeryck says:

    It’s probably $125.00 not $126.00 cuz OD fees are $35.00 or $20.00.

    • Gulliver says:

      Really? In looking over my three accounts, none of them are $20 or $35. My primary account is $36

  59. jeepguy57 says:

    If you have 1/8 of a tank of gas, do you justify driving to your friend’s house because he lives 15 miles away, so 30 miles round trip if you calculate your car can make it 40 miles without a fillup?

    I think not.

    If you can only afford one drink on your debit card, you shouldn’t be out drinking.

    Just like if you can’t afford to drive 50 miles, you shouldn’t be out driving 30.

  60. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Hence the reason why I always pay cash per drink at a bar, no matter if it’s my local watering hole or if it’s some bar I’ve never been in. The last thing I need is to get into an argument over how many beers I’ve had when it comes time to pay the tab. “You’ve had 5!” “No, I had 3!” You can pretty much guess who’s going to lose this argument.

  61. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Forgive my naivety on this, being a dumb Canuck, but…

    When you’re paying for something with a debit card, don’t you first have to okay the amount the merchant is about to charge you before entering your PIN? Here’s how it works up here:

    1> You tell bartender “I’ll pay my tab with my debit card.”
    2> Bartender will bring you to the card reader, where (s)he’ll enter the amount you own on the device, assuming it’s not already tied into the point of sale computer–what they once called a cash register
    3> You insert card into reader (debit cards in Canada mostly all chip-based, though you may still have older ones that swipe.)
    4> LCD screen says “PURCHASE: $xx.xx OKAY?” You say yes or no
    5> (in the case of a bar/restaurant) “ENTER GRATUITY AND OKAY.” Enter tip.
    6> “PURCHASE: $(xx.xx+Gratuity) OKAY?” Yes or no
    7> “SELECT ACCOUNT: CHEQUING OR SAVINGS” one or the other
    9> “PLEASE WAIT” and hope for
    unless you didn’t enter your PIN correctly then it’s “PIN INCORRECT TRY AGAIN”
    or if balance in account [is less than] amount you’re trying to spend: “INSUFFICIENT FUNDS”

    Does this work differently in the US? Seriously, I don’t understand how the OP could even be in this situation, assuming the scenario I just came up with is true.

  62. Mina_da_mad_child says:

    I’ve been a longtime customer of TD bank and can say that when you do below your balance for charges that are PENDING, you have the opportunity to deposit more money to cover the debt before the charges clear and not be hit with an overdraft fee. If he watched his balance like a hawk, he would have seen the extra bar charge before it sent him in the red.
    Also, if you disagree with a charge, calling the bank would have alerted them. They will not be able to do anything until the charge clears or is removed by the merchant, but they will note your account and waive the overdraft fee if the only charge that puts you in the negative is the one in dispute. I never, never, blame the op. However, I had a similar thing happen to me in a bar in Miami and when I called TD, they were more than resonable

  63. EcPercy says:

    I am starting to get a little annoyed seeing all these overdraft articles on Consumerist where clearly the person posting the story is at fault…

    Yea, that’s right. I said it! The OP is at fault here… take CASH when you go out somewhere like a bar… You knew your balance was low so it’s your fault. You shouldn’t have been at the bar if you can’t afford a couple of drinks without going over the limit….

    Hard lesson to learn, but I bet you won’t let it happen again. Last thought… you contradict yourself here. You said you watch your balance like a hawk, but you made several purchases throughout the next week before you noticed what happened…

    Pay your overdraft fees and move on. Maybe think about saving up $1000 in your savings account and making your savings account the “overdraft” then you always have money in there just in case.

  64. buzz86us says:

    this is why I use ING direct for my checking purchases if I might make a mistake it doesn’t cost me $25 to borrow $0.25 should I overdraft (like my branch bank).

  65. BomanTheBear says:

    I’m seriously torn on this one. OP should have more of a buffer, but being that I’ve been this broke before, I know how much it can mean to just forget your problems for an hour at the end of the day and have a drink.

    I have a compromise. Buy forties. They could quadruple-charge you, and you’d still be in the green.

  66. Tedsallis says:

    Money is so tight you are one drink away from overdraft means no going out you fool.

  67. EZ says:

    Leave more than 5 bucks in your account.

  68. narcs says:

    go to a cheaper bar.

  69. kungpao says:

    I’d be willing to bet that this guy habitually overdrafts, and that’s the primary reason that the bank won’t do anything for him.

    People whine about over draft charges all the time. It’s BS IMO because if this guy was watching his balance “like a hawk” why the hell was he spending his money at a bar? How bout you NOT have that drink, go home and save your 6 bucks so that you don’t have to worry about the next time your account is that close to being overdrawn.

  70. cmp179 says:

    I know I’ve said this on other posts before, but ING Direct does not charge overdraft fees, even when your account does go negative. That account does have its disadvantages, but they hooked me with that.

  71. Chipzilla says:

    I wonder how often drunk people are “accidentally” overcharged by bars.

    Memo to OP – use cash next time you go drinking.

  72. odarkshineo says:

    spending you last few dollars on a drink might really be the problem….sad.

  73. guspaz says:

    Hrrm, it’s strange to read about a Canadian bank like Toronto Dominion as being so evil and fee-happy down in the US, while the experience in Canada is anything but (they’re pretty highly regarded up here for having good service and great hours). I mean, sure, Canada’s much stricter banking regulation keeps away the bad *practices*, but that doesn’t explain why their US branches are also give bad service.

  74. davidc says:

    How about this: Don’t use DEBIT if you don’t have the GREEN?

    Hmm? If your Debit account is low, then use CC instead. If your responsible enough to only spend what you should have, then using CC is far more fiscally responsible then using DEBIT.

    There are soooo many more benefits to using CC over Debit that I only use DEBIT where I absolutely have to (like Costco). The key is to be responsible and don’t buy stuff you can’t afford.

    It’s pretty simple really …

  75. goldilockz says:

    If you’re so broke that one extra drink charge could put you into a deep dark hole… maybe save what little money you have instead of blowing it on booze? Crazy thought, I know.

  76. BurtReynolds says:

    One drink put him over? Maybe he should be staying at home and saving money rather than drinking at a bar.

    Also, why would you use a debit card on a bar tab? I always use a CC in case I get charged incorrectly. I trust American Express to help me out way more than Bank of America’s Visa Check Card.

  77. BigErn says:

    Freddy watches his balance like a hawk…yet leaves only enough for one drink in his account…seriously? This site should look out for people doing the right thing…that is just odd, certainly not the right thing.

  78. perfectly_cromulent says:

    Does this bank not have a fraud and disputes department?? Could have been such an easy fix.

  79. SyntaxError says:

    If you’re so broke that 2 drinks will overdraft your account, then why are you sitting in a bar in the first place?

  80. FishtownYo says:

    he paid for the bill, so he knew the total charge with the one double charged drink included.

    Apparently not very hawkish on his restaurant bills, eh?

  81. Sasha_Pie says:

    I regularly go to the same gas station and sometimes use my credit card or debit card. For years, they only ever held a $1 for a couple days before the whole transaction posted. One day, they randomly held $100 when I had bought maybe $10 in gas! That hold plus an automatic bill i had going through that day triggered BofA to slap me with an ‘insufficient funds’ fee.

    When the $10 transaction posted and the insufficient funds fee was still gracing my checking account, I called and explained the situation to the customer service rep, noting specifically that after the actual transaction went through, I was clearly in the positive. She started to give me this whole lecture about making sure to leave enough money in my account in case a merchant places a hold… but I came back at her that the merchant in question had held 10,000% more than they had ever previously!

    Thankfully, the rep was able to reverse the charge (to her surprise) immediately. No harm, no foul, but I definitely don’t use my debit card there anymore.

  82. brucewayne says:

    For me this comes down to, if you dont have the funds to not worry about a $5 item being charged to your card, you dont have the funds to buy alcoholic. luxuries and necessities, boozin’ it isnt a necessity if you only have $10 bucks in your account. i know big companies are bad at sticking it to people, but people are becoming less and less responsible.

  83. thaJack says:

    When you’re one drink away from going into the red, you probably should hold off on that drink.

  84. EvilDictator says:

    This happened to me a couple of times before (Lloyds TSB), where I went overdrawn by £1.69 ($2.70), and I was given charges of £15 plus £6 a day and interest. Luckily the first time they were willing to write the charges off after I called and complained, but the second time they refused and I had to pay whatever amount they asked…

    I stopped banking with them and went back to HSBC, with whom I’d been overdrawn by about £1.60 for six months and only had to pay back the £1.60. The joy.