Local News

Debit Dilemma Leads Cumberland Woman To Five On Your Side

Posted May 4, 2005

— Even though debit cards are convenient and can keep you from running up debt, they have some drawbacks as a Cumberland County woman found out.

Every now and then, you need to buy something special. Laverne Towers was not planning to buy anything when she looked around Gordon's Jewelers in Fayetteville, but she saw a ring on sale for $149.

"I was like, 'Oh, I can do this,'" she said.

Towers paid with her debit card, but when the receipt came back for her, it said $338 -- the price before it went on sale. When Towers pointed out the error, the clerk voided the debit. Towers then wrote a check for the correct amount.

A few days later, Towers started getting bank overdraft statements.

"I definitely thought we have a problem," she said.

Towers then went to BB&T. Bank officials told her the problem stemmed from the cancelled debit by Gordon's Jewelers. The debit put a "hold" on the $338 even though the actual debit was cancelled, which created a series of overdraft fees totaling more than $400.

Towers went to Gordon's Jewelers, where a manager told her the bank would take care of it.

"They flat out told me it wasn't their fault -- that it was a bank error," she said.

After a lot of back and forth between BB&T and Gordon's Jewelers, Towers called Five on Your Side.

"I don't understand why I'm being penalized and why it's my fault, you know, and nothing is being done. I said, 'Now, you've made me mad,'" she said.

Five On Your Side called both BB&T and Zales, the parent company of Gordon's Jewelers. Zales accepted responsibility and sent Towers a check for $416 to cover the overdraft charges.

"I was a happy camper," Towers said.

The "hold" issue can also come up in a number of other situations, including hotel reservations and "pay at the pump" gas stations. Even though the money isn't taken out of your account, you cannot access it until the retailer "releases" the funds, which could take several days.


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