Monday, October 6, 2008

Be Watchful of Your Receipts

Last week I ordered a pizza to be delivered and paid for it with my debit card. When the driver arrived, he gave me the receipt to sign and then gave me my copy to keep. I gave the driver a couple of dollars in cash for a tip.

Today, when I looked at my online bank statement, that transaction posted to my checking account for almost $4 more than it should have been.

I checked with the bank, who assured me they ran the transaction as they received it from the business.

When I called the business, the manager was very helpful in trying to resolve the problem. With the information from the receipt I had in my hand -- I keep all receipts until I've reconciled them with my bank statement, and sometimes longer -- he was able to determine that the transaction showed that I tipped with the card (not cash) and had been processed for the higher amount.

Now, there is no way to know (or prove) if the driver helped himself to a tip from my account, or if he entered the tip in the computer on my card accidentally when it should have come from another customer's card.

More importantly, this happened because I wasn't being watchful. I signed the receipt without marking through or zeroing out the allotted space for the tip. When I'm in a restaurant, I'm always careful to zero out that line if I'm leaving a cash tip, but this time I just didn't do it.

Lessons learned here: #1 - always put something in that tip line, preferably with a dollar sign in front of the number so it can't be altered. #2 - it may be better to just not pay for delivery pizza with a debit card, and instead pay cash at the time of delivery.

The company promised to investigate further so that if they do indeed have a problem with the driver, they can deal with him appropriately. They made good with me by offering to either refund me the amount I was overcharged or to give me a free large pizza.

Not one to make a foolish mistake twice, I took the pizza.


Tug said...

If I'm leaving a cash tip (or someone else leaves the tip when I pay), I write ZERO. That way they can't change the $0 to a $10 or anything. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I never use a debit card for any purchase except groceries.

When you use a debit card, you have ABSOLUTELY NO consumer rights.

With a credit card, you can challenge a charge, and the card company will step in if you and the merchant cannot reach an agreement over a dispute.

There's no consumer appeal process with a debit card. You're dead in the water.

Your pizza place sounds like someone I'd like to do business with!


Nobody™ said...

I've never had someone add a tip on, but it's always been in the back of my mind that it could happen. Tug's idea of writing 'zero' is a good one.

Karen said...

I use my debit card for everything and have never had a problem. But I will start writing "zero" in the tip line when I leave a cash tip, though.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I always slash it out when I leave a cash tip in a restaurant but I never cross check my receipts exactly - I would notice if someone helped themselves to a huge tip but I bet a couple of dollars would get past me. I'll have to be more careful in the future (although these days the only way we'll be eating out is if someone gives us gift cards!)

pam said...

I write "CASH" on the tip line.