Petro Canada Gas Station v. Your Visa Statement

I pondered about posting this for about a week now and just concluded that I feel the public should be made aware of a problem my dad encounted two months ago when he received his visa statement in the mail.  My dad asked me that day if I used his card to get gas at Petro Canada.  He knows I only buy my gas downtown, but there were two charges on his card that he thought were mine.  When my dad gets gas, he fills his tank right up, usually netting about a $100 visa tab.  I told him no, and asked why, then he shows me his visa statement.  Sure enough, there are two charges on there; one for $31 and change and the other for $26 and change.  He knows I usually put $25.00 in my own tank whenever I gas up and assumed these were mine, but then knew I didn’t get my gas at Petro Canada.  Not only that, but I wouldn’t get $31.67 worth of gas… I’d get $31.00 or $32.00, you know what I mean?  I asked to look at his statement.

While looking over his statement, I asked him if he maybe picked up some winder washer fluid, wiper blades, oil, etc., trying to think of what else they may sell that my dad would’ve charged.  But he said that he doesn’t purchase those types of supplies there anyway.  So, I’m looking over the statement and I do see the two charges from Petro Canada.  What struck me odd is that there were two charges on his card on the same day… one was from Chevron for $110.00 and the other from Petro Canada for $31 and change.  (Who would buy gas twice on the same day, I thought).  My dad has a habit of not keeping those visa receipts, but certainly still has quite a bit of his memory left, and when I saw the two purchases on the same day, I was fuming.  My dad being scammed?  I was not happy.

I asked for his visa card.  I flipped it over and rang the number on the back.  I spoke with a visa rep and explained that there were two charges on my dad’s visa card, which he did not make -nor- authorize, and I demanded that visa forward us receipts of those two purchases.  The clerk wanted to talk to my dad briefly to ensure she was talking to the proper card holder, and after that was confirmed, she told me that she would put in two dispute notices and that we should receive information regarding the two cases in approximately 45 days.

We did receive a letter from visa enclosing the two claims which were credited back to my dad’s visa account.  We received this correspondence about 10 days after we filed the dispute.  My dad’s next visa statement did reflect the credit of the two disputed amounts.  However, 45 days have gone by and to date, we have not received the proof from Petro Canada that my dad made any purchase there on the two dates in question.

I told my dad to do what I do, save all your little visa slips regardless of where they are from, until you get your statement.  Then check them off your statement as you shred them.  This way, he can at least compare what he has charged and what he is being charged.

Let this be a clear message to those who use charge cards.  If Petro Canada got my dad twice in a month, how many others have been debited the same way and not know it?

I don’t think that Petrocan is the culprit. It’s a multi-million dollar company, and I doubt their in the business of 30 dollar credit card scam. In that respect, I wouldn’t hold my breath about getting any proof from them–the only proof they need is in the credit card statement. Someone must have used the card, or the number, at Petrocan–beyond that it’s very difficult to prove much unless a more formal inquiry into the issue is put in action. Sucks though, doesn’t it? You’ll probably be inclined to go over every single credit card statement you get with a fine tooth comb, all because some jerk stole 60-odd bucks from you. Very sucky indeed.

The visa clerk said to us that on both transactions, the card was swiped.  My question, which I still am unable to answer, is, could the clerk have swiped his card when he handed it in before he got gas, and it was swiped twice… once for that time, and hold the other to put through at a later date?  I realize that PetroCan is a billion dollar company, but $50.00 bucks here and $50.00 bucks there to a not-so-straight-laced employee, might just be that plausible explanation.

Thanks for the heads-up.  I swipe my own card at the Chevron station.  Good tip to keep all of your credit card receipts (I always do that).

this was in the news some time ago…

[quote]Pre-paying for gas can leave you broke, says B.C. driver

By admin • March 6, 2008
Pre-paying for gas can leave you broke, says B.C. driver

The only way to prevent getting hosed at the pumps is to pay with cash, says Barbara Donnelly of Keremeos, B.C.

Barbara Donnelly, of Keremeos, B.C., says she’s struggling with her expenses after Esso placed a $100 hold on her credit card that won’t be lifted for two to five business days.Barbara Donnelly, of Keremeos, B.C., says she’s struggling with her expenses after Esso placed a $100 hold on her credit card that won’t be lifted for two to five business days.

When she bought a small amount of gas Tuesday, Donnelly said the Hilltop Esso gas station put a $100 hold on her credit card.

“I bought $10 worth of gas then … I went in to buy some groceries on my way home and my card was declined and I know I didn’t spend that much,â€[/quote]

Good to know, astro!  I’ve been lucky at the Chevron pump so far with my Master Card. :smile:

It’s not a “hold” on his statement.  Pre-authorizations don’t show up on your monthly bill.

They also said the card was swiped, which means someone either has a fake card, or they borrowed your card and used it in the pump. 

No worries, though, the Credit Card company will always take your side and give you a credit on any dispute.  It’s up to the merchant to prove you authorized the purchase.  They usually have to provide a copy of your signature.  New cards have chips to enable you to use a PIN for purchases too.

It sucks for the merchant, because they are out the amount.  Ask any small business owner and they’ll tell you it’s a common occurrence – which is why a lot of them now ask you for ID when you use a credit card.

A lot of people that buy from us mention we are one of the very few places in Rupert that actually even double-check the signature!  We constantly get memos and notices of change of procedures from Visa/MasterCard/AMEX and double-checking the signature is always #1 on the list!  We also cannot accept a card that solely has “SEE ID” on the back, or it doesn’t have a signature, or a card of a parent that a child is trying to use.  Also, if we ask for ID and it cannot be produced, or match, then NO SHOES FOR YOU!

I get un-easy when I use my credit card and no one even looks at the back to see if it’s me. 

It’s always good to be extra aware and vigilant when it comes to credit cards.  The double swipe (where the merchant will swipe your card once for the purchase, and twice to copy the info and make a fake card) is so common it’s not funny.  The best example is in a restaurant - how many of us have paid with a credit card for say, a fancy/expensive meal?  The waiter/waitress takes your card, usually out of your line of sight, and comes back with the copy you need to sign.  You have no idea if they have swiped your card twice and by signing the receipt they then have your signature as well. 

As for the SEE ID cards - can you not accept them once the person has produced a piece of photo ID, then compare the names on both and compare the signature of the receipt to the signature on the photo ID?  I thought that was pretty much universally accepted, but maybe I’m wrong?

I think some people are scared to ask for ID because some customers are crazy and get offended easily…

I use the credit card all the time. If yours can’t take a $99 hit for a day or two, don’t whine about the gas stations. You have MUCH DEEPER PROBLEMS, like for starters shouldn’t even have a credit card

They sure do!!  People don’t understand that when they ask for ID, they’re protecting your card.  In the States, if you don’t produce ID, you don’t get your purchase.  I think that should be enforced here too.

So that makes stealing okay? I don’t see how Credit Card scam is the fault of the buyer. Yea–you have to be careful, but ultimate blame always lies with the person committing the crime.

We also cannot accept a card that solely has “SEE ID” on the back…[/quote]

A lot of people don’t believe that, even when you point out the relevant Mastercard and Visa rules.  The card isn’t valid unless signed – it often says that right on the card.  Both Visa and Mastercard insist that you sign the card.  If you want to add “see ID” it needs to be signed first.

You are well within your rights as a merchant to refuse to accept a card that just has “see ID” on it.

He’s talking about the pre-authorizations (which don’t show up on your bill), not about stealing.  If your card can’t handle a $99 pre-authorization, then yeah, you have bigger problems.

Ah, I see. My bad then.

Lets say the guy behind the counter is dishonest and you show him your drivers licence, does he not now have your credit card number, date of birth, address and dl number?

I think the agreement between you and the credit card company is your signature = your stuff. I dont think I would shop at a place that asked me for more ID.

Most merchant agreements actually prohibit the merchant from asking for additional ID, even in the USA.  Well, perhaps not prohibit asking, but prohibit insisting on ID.  Next time someone asks you for an ID, say “no thanks.”

This is from the American Visa Merchant Agreement.  I’m sure the Canadian one is similar, but I can’t find it. … chants.pdf

[quote]When should you ask a cardholder for an official government ID? Although Visa
rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID, merchants
cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot
refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to
provide ID. Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their
regular card acceptance procedures
. Laws in several states also make it illegal
for merchants to write a cardholder’s personal information, such as an address or
phone number, on a sales receipt.[/quote]

I never thought of it that way…I guess I won’t be giving my ID out again.  Thanks!

What about having credit cards like Costco where they have your picture on it?  They do that in Europe too…wouldn’t that be a protective way of using a credit card…with a signature too?