Yep, skip reading this if you aren't interested in my rant of the day.
I finally took my little old car to get new shoes (er tires for those literal-minded people). That's not the same as being liberal-minded, at all!
Got the job done in plenty of time, gave the man my credit/debit card, asked for him to swipe it as credit. He says, hummm, and gives me a stub of a receipt saying it has no charge, try again...and there's $ 00.00 total. So he wads up the receipt, throws it to trash can, and tries again. Then again. Still receipts say no money, and he tries it again. After 4 tries, I say, try it as a debit. And I enter my pin number. No that doesn't work either. So I urge him to call, and try one more time. A 6th try doesn't work any better. NONE of these tries says it's denied. (I know I had plenty of money in the account, or I wouldn't have handed the guy the card.)
So he calls the credit card place that has a phone number on the back of my card. He punches in lots of numbers...when he finally gets someone he tells them about this situation, and then I say, just let me write a check. So I do. And then he hangs up, never having found out what's happening. (I had assumed he would check with the merchant's end of things, rather than my credit card company).
I then go home and go on line to verify for myself the amount of money that was in my account yesterday. There are FOUR pending charges against my account, leaving $45 in it. Obviously no more could go against it.
SO I get in the car and drive over to my local branch of my bank. Kelly is nice, and says there's no way to back out those "PENDING" charges, which have eaten up all my account balance basically for TWO to THREE days.
They weren't even charges...I saw the "$ 00.00" amount on those receipts before he threw them away. She suggests I go back and get the receipts, so I call the guy and say I am coming back for them (and then do so).
I ask Kelly what will happen when the check is presented and I don't have enough money in my account? She says she'll make sure it doesn't bounce. (There are small favors). But I just lost all my money to a system...and just have enough to get gas, which was all I was going to buy today. Tomorrow however, I was going to pay the water bill.
Suddenly I have spent 2 hours with an event that wasn't quite as bad as identity theft. But why did it happen in the first place? They guy at the tire place didn't have a clue. Neither did Kelly at the bank. Nobody could fix it for me either. My $660 is now tied up in a non-purchase apparently, out in a limbo of "pending transactions" that never happened.
And what has all this taught a slightly anxious woman who is very careful with her Social Security income? Avoid plastic, never let them swipe the card more than once, and maybe go back to cash under the mattress.