Man Gets $126 In Fees Refunded After Bar Charged Him Twice For One Drink

Freddy was furious. $126 in overdraft fees? Even though his balance is sometimes down to the wire, he is careful to make sure he has enough funds in his account. Ah yes, but this doesn’t account for when they mess up.

Turns out a bar he bought drinks at on his card accidentally charged him twice for one drink. They reversed the charge, but not before he made a few more small purchases on his overdrafted account, incurring multiple overdraft fees adding up to $126. TD Bank agreed to cut the charges in half, but said he should go after the bar for the rest. Oh, and if he didn’t bring his account current soon, they were going to close it and send it to collections.

Then Freddy sent his story to Consumerist and we posted it. Within a few days, TD Bank called him and agreed to reverse all of the charges. Hurrah! Once again, the power of getting your horrifying true customer service complaint out there pays dividends.

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


Edit Your Comment

  1. clownsRcreepy says:

    Freddy got fingered….

    • rbleader says:

      /net/rbleader$ finger freddy
      finger: freddy: no such user.

      Oh, sorry, wrong finger.

      Anyway, this is as it should be. You shouldn’t get punished for something you didn’t do.

  2. cynical_reincarnation says:

    I know some people wont agree, but I’m glad I’m with USBank.

    Every time I’ve had a problem, they have been very accommodating.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You’re right, I don’t agree.

    • UberGeek says:

      I overdrafted my US Bank account and miraculously caught it the day an unexpected charge was set to post (it was valid buy my budget spreadsheet indicated it should post the next month). I quickly transferred money from savings to checking and prayed. I fully expected them to post the large checks first and the deposits last. All the charges cleared and I’ve gone three months and counting with no overdraft fees. They may have some nasty stories out there, but I haven’t experienced one yet. Wells Fargo, on the other hand…..

  3. minjche says:

    Good work, Consumerist, this is the kind of thing I like to see.

  4. GearheadGeek says:

    Except for the overdraft vs. reject-charge decision, though, this really ISN’T so much the bank’s fault. It’s the bar’s fault (or their clearing house) for the double-charge.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Sure, but why should the bank get to make $126 off a small error at the bar?

      • Billy says:

        Because that’s what the OP and the bank agreed to.

        • kc2idf says:

          Okay, then why should the OP be liable? As I see it, the bar owes the $126, and since the bank has now agreed not to charge it to the OP, it owed to the bank by the bar.

          Why the bar? Because they’re the ones who screwed up.

          • ssaoi says:

            BS. Business will make mistakes. Especially bars. It’s not the bars fault the guy only had $5 dollars in his account and kept charging other items which the OP and the bank agreed too. The bar owes him for that overcharge and that 1 fee.

            • kc2idf says:

              It is not the bar’s fault the guy had only $5 in the account. True. It is, however, the bar’s fault that he was cost $126 in fees, because it is the bar’s mistake that caused this, not the OP’s. The OP did not make a mistake. The bar did.

              You can say not having a minimum of $x in your account is a mistake. Strategically, this is true, but technically and legally, it is not. You should be able to spend your account down to the penny at no penalty. You should not need to keep money around in case someone else screws up. If someone else screws you up, it is incumbent upon that someone else to make you whole.

              • ssaoi says:

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

                So can Freddy keep charging and it’s still the bar’s fault?

          • Billy says:

            I agree that the bar is ultimately liable for what caused the cascade of charges from the bank. But the bank is entitled to the fees per the agreement between the bank and the OP. I’m assuming that the agreement between the OP and the bank doesn’t account for when a merchant screws up the transaction. I’m basing this assumption on what the bank told the OP after halving the fees, “he should go after the bar for the rest”.

            I’m glad that the OP got satisfaction from the bank, but if he didn’t, he could have gone after the bar for the overdraft fees (whether he could be successful with that is a different question). The bar certainly has no obligation to the bank to pay those fees: only the OP has an agreement with the bank as to overdraft fees.

    • Sardis says:

      The bar made a 5 dollar error and made a 5 dollar correction. That is all they owe. If they were to be held liable for all these fees then they would not take debit cards at all in the future. That would harm all of us non dumbasses in the world.

  5. sirwired says:

    Certainly it was nice for the bank to give in, since it exposes the craziness of the overdraft fee system. But if the bank hadn’t given in, the bar should absolutely have been on the hook for the screwup.

  6. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:


  7. Geekybiker says:

    Wrong people took the fall. Good for him, but the bar should be the one paying.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Overdraft fees are ridiculously high for the service they offer. This guy needs to change his overdraft option. But the bar shouldn’t get slammed with $126 for double charging someone. It’s disproportionate and wouldn’t have been so costly had the customer not been on the edge.

      If the transaction log shows an obvious error (double charge and credit) there is no reason the bank should keep the penalty fee money.

      • kc2idf says:

        I disagree. It’s the bar’s mistake; it should be their liability.

        Granted, nothing could have happened instead. but consider these analogies:

        If you yell “fire” in a crowded theatre and it results in an orderly egress, then you are a jackass (unless there is a fire), but nobody got hurt. You probably owe the theatre for lost revenue and some such, but that’s it. This is the equivalent to the OP having excess cash sloshing around in his chequing account to cover the accidental double-charge.

        On the other hand, if you do this and cause a stampede, you should be liable for the hospital and medical bills of anyone who got hurt, and the wrongful death penalties with anyone who got killed. You caused it, you pay for it.

        In this example scenario, you don’t know what the impact will be, but you are still liable for it.

        Granted, the bar didn’t do this on purpose, but they need to be liable for whatever they caused.

        • Scoobatz says:

          Granted, the bar didn’t do this on purpose, but they need to be liable for whatever they caused.

          Good point. There’s a bar out there somewhere who should be paying to raise one of my kids.

      • Billy says:

        “Overdraft fees are ridiculously high for the service they offer.”

        The the OP needs to move to a different bank. He agreed to the fees and services, though, so it must have meant something to him when he agreed.

        “wouldn’t have been so costly had the customer not been on the edge.”

        If it weren’t for the bar, there would be no double charging in the first place. The bar should have taken more care. Because they didn’t, they should be on the hook for this.

  8. Yentaleh says:

    My Canadian bank account is with TD Canada Trust. My US bank account is with a credit union………I’ve never had any problems with TD Canada. (I used to bank with Royal Bank……..ugh don’t get me started.)

    I’m happy he got this resolved. Sometimes all it takes is to close your account and take your business elsewhere for the banks to wake up and realise that they can’t treat customers this way.

  9. sopmodm14 says:

    he shouldn’t have cut it so close, if youj’re down to the wire, and need to conserve funds, you shouldn’t go out and get plastered or inebriated with over-priced drinks….you need to save money

    nice to hear the bank bailed him out, but he shouldn’t cry when he gets hit w/fees next time around

  10. pot_roast says:

    Guy really oughta just start paying in cash if his bank account is so close to being empty that *one drink* runs him negative.

    Poor financial management once again.

  11. italianbaby says:

    glad to hear this. the power of the internet mightier than the sword…

  12. Datruth says:

    This is absurd. The dude shouldn’t have had his account so low as to incur overdraft fees in the first place. If you don’t have the cash to keep your account above water, what the hell are you doing charging drinks at a bar? Who charges one drink at a bar, anyway?

    The consumer takes the rap here, not the bar, nor the bank. The bar’s not responsible whatsoever for his account teetering on overdrafts. They are responsible for refunding the erroneous drink charge. How ridiculous. And the bank’s policy is the bank’s policy. He had to know about it, particularly with all the changes and subsequent notifications up the wazoo about overdraft protection lately.

    How about we agree on personal responsibility for a change, instead of looking to blame everyone else for a very, very preventable problem like this?

    • mmmsoap says:

      I’m all for personal responsibility, but according to your logic, one should only spend $5 if one has another $10 (or $15, or $100) in the bank as well. Isn’t the $5 the OP had in his account legal tender?

      Yeah, the OP was a bit of a knucklehead for letting it get so close to the wire. Especially in this day and age of “holds” being placed on cards at various merchants. But he did get overcharged. As long as his subsequent charges were within the limits of what he should have had in his account, why should he have to pay $126 for someone else’s mistake?

      He shouldn’t. Either the bank should have waived the fees (as they did) or the bar should have had to pony up for its mistake, but either way the OP didn’t cause this mess.

      • Datruth says:

        That is just nonsense. I can’t believe people would even suggest that the bar eat a fee for a $6 (or whatever it was) overcharge. Have you actually thought this through?

        Now, at some point, the bar should be responsible if the amount charged were significant, and one person’s significant is another’s trivial. It’s a judgment call. But suffice it to say that if they charged the guy $100 extra for one drink worth 6 bucks, I’d be with you. Even then I don’t know if they have LEGAL liability to cover a third-party agreement, and would tend to doubt they do.

        Where do you and others who want the bar to pay up draw the line? What if it was a double charge for an item that cost all of $1.00. Would you still be saying whoever charged the additional $1.00 is responsible for the overdraft? See how silly that sounds? Personal responsibility, people. Get on board.

  13. sparc says:

    Why is this guy going to the bar and using his debit card if he’s keeping his balance so low? One accidental charge on his part could make that house of cards collapse no matter how many times you check it. Let alone an error on the part of a merchant.

    TD Bank went above and beyond by waiving the entire thing and letting the bar off the hook.

    The funny thing is the guys reaction was to change banks rather than accept any personal responsibility at all. We know this is all going to happen again at the new bank.

    • calchip says:

      Bullshit. TD certainly did not go “above and beyond.” The whole overdraft thing is a racket to gouge customers. Back when banks processed these things by hand, they charged $5 to $8 at a time when the minimum wage was about $2.50. Now, the process is 100% automated, and they charge $25 to $40.

      It’s greed, plain and simple. Nobody explains how badly the bank will gouge you when you open an account, nor do they explain that they’ll use unusual circumstances to gouge you and then refuse to give the money back unless Consumerist posts your story.

      TD wisely recognized that they were being called out as the asshats they are for their greed, and decided to cut short the bad PR by giving back the money they stole. Nothing more.

  14. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    I’m loving all these “Blame the OP” posts because the guy is broke. Kudos to everyone that provided.

    • MongoAngryMongoSmash says:


      Look, I feel that the bar screwed up and should have fixed their mistake. They did.
      The bank was a dick for initially refusing to refund the fees after the mistake was fixed. They did.
      I just hope Freddy decides to keep more than a $5.00 buffer in his account if he plans to go out drinking when he doesn’t have a lot of money to hold him until pay day.

  15. TasteyCat says:

    Okay, so now he has learned not to keep 5 bucks in his checking account?

  16. dg says:

    Personally I think that the bar should have made good on the problem they caused. However, if the bank valued him as a customer and didn’t want the bad press – they could fix it and then go after the bar for him. They’ve apparently done the former… not sure about the latter.

  17. shadowboxer524 says:

    I read the original Consumerist article when it was posted, and one thing I never realized was how the hell the OP knew how much the drinks were gonna cost in the first place. One reason I rarely buy drinks at a bar is that I never know how much it’s going to cost, and I don’t wanna be the “cheap” guy that asks.

  18. LACubsFan says:

    I’m with the ‘Blame the OP crowd” If you are SO broke that one drink will throw you into overdraft hell, you shouldn’t be spending the money on ‘WANTS’ you should be saving for NEEDS…. I don’t blame the OP for being broke, just irresponsible.