Discover Accidentally Steals From Foundation To Pay My Credit Card

Phil (no, not the one who works here) had to make a payment to an art foundation, and learned that he could use his Discover card to do so. Neat! So he put the payment through, and all was well…until he learned that somehow the transaction went through backwards, transferring the money from the foundation’s bank account to pay his Discover bill. Oops. This seems like it would be easy enough to reverse, but Discover won’t do anything unless the foundation calls them up and nicely asks for their money back.

I needed to make a payment to an art foundation’s account to pay them for licensing rights for an image I’m using in a book. Their invoice provided their banking information. I called Discover to see if I could use my credit card to wire a payment to that account. The customer service agent indicated that I could do this and that there was no fee.

Two days later, i received an email from Discover thanking me for the payment – of precisely the amount I’d paid the art foundation. That’s strange. I called Discover to ask why they’d charged me instead of making a payment to the art foundation. I was told that they didn’t know what I was talking about, that I’d authorized a payment from my Citibank account to Discover. The problem is, I don’t have a Citibank account. The art foundation does!

Instead of wiring money to the art foundation, Discover used the banking information to withdraw money FROM the art foundation. While on the phone, I told Discover to give the money back, and I was told that they wouldn’t do so unless the art foundation contacted them and requested it.

HUH? They STOLE money from this account without authorization from the third party, and were insisting that the third party ask for it back?!? They’ve told me that they need 24 to 48 hours to listen to the tape to see if I authorized the transaction. I was told that it could take up to ten days to return the money, because they have to review the tape of my phone call.

It seems to me that evidence of a withdrawal from the third party vendor is all that’s needed in order to either stop a transaction OR to return money from a bogus completed transaction. But that’s just silly me!