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Ashburn Bagel - Complaint

Discussion in 'Broadlands Community Issues' started by suzvel, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. suzvel

    suzvel New Member

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    I went to Ashburn Bagel for the first time yesterday to get bagels for my MOPS group. I purchased 2 dozen bagels and 2 containers of cream cheese for a total of $25.39. When I checked out I saw that it was a receipt that has a spot to put a tip and I crossed that out and wrote the same total at the bottom of the slip. I had put a dollar bill into the tip jar and thought that was sufficient for the service I received. When I came home and checked my bank statement the charge amount was $31.73. I called my bank and they said since it was still a pending charge there was nothing they could do but I should call the bagel place and talk to them. I just did and spoke to a manager who told me the credit card machine automatically gives a tip, of apparently 25%, but that the charge that goes through on Monday will be for the actual amount I spent, not including the tip. I have never had this happen with an automatic tip being added and a 25% one at that is crazy. I don't think the bagels are all that special and with this added issue I will not be back. I thought my fellow neighbors would appreciate this heads up.

    Suzanne
     
  2. jaxmanjoe

    jaxmanjoe Blah, Blah, Blah

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    Suzanne,

    I wouldn't get too charged about this. In restaurants, there is always a pre-authorization that 'reserves' an amount higher than the bill to make sure that a tip doesn't cause it to go over the credit limit or cause a decline after it is run. After you add tip, the charge is finalized with the real amount which is the amount that actually appears on your charge card statement.

    For example, if you have $25 left on your credit limit and buy a meal that costs $24.00, it would be pre-authorized just fine. But, when you add in your tip of say, $3.00, the actual charge would get declined because $27 is over your $25 available credit.

    There is nothing underhanded going on here. This is the way any restaurant or venue where tipping is the norm handles their charges. The tip is an unknown when the run the card initially so this is a way to make sure they can go back after the fact and finalize it with the actual tip.

    Checking your charges is a good idea but make sure you understand that a pending charge is very different from an actual charge.

    Joe
     
  3. PowerPlay

    PowerPlay Member

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    Yeah, I agree. Every restaurant or prepared food establishment I go to holds a charge on my account that's higher than the amount actually spent. Three days and it's fixed.
     
  4. cindyb

    cindyb New Member

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    Same type of thing happens at a gas station. They pre-authorize a certain amount not know how much you're going to purchase.
     
  5. suzvel

    suzvel New Member

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    I haven't had it happen this way in the past so it was a surprise to me. I can understand what you are saying, but I still think a 25% tip is too much for that practice, isn't a standard tip 20% at the most? I also don't think a bagel place really needs to worry about tips on a charge slip it isn't that kind of restaurant to me.

    Suzanne
     
  6. jaxmanjoe

    jaxmanjoe Blah, Blah, Blah

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    The point is to make sure they capture enough to get the actual tip included in the pre-approved amount. Since the average tip has increased to like 18% there are going to be tips that exceed 20%. I tip higher than 20% if the service is really good. The fact that it is a bagel place isn't the point. The point is it's in the food service industry and it is an industry practice. I'm sure the bagel place has no say in the matter. It is the credit card company that dictates this.

    If there are other reasons why you want to hate this place, that's fine. It's your prerogative. Just don't expect a rallying cry here in support of placing the entire blame of a nationwide credit card policy at the feet of a simple bagel shop owner. It's not gonna happen...
     
  7. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    The bank always shows the exact amount every time I check it - not over the amount of the actual charge. Imo, this is a deceptive practice. When the merchant requests authorization it should be for the exact amount only. If there is insufficient credit or funds as with a debit card, then the authorizations should not go through. Does this apply to debit cards as well?

    Now, if a consumer is not paying attention - writes the correct total without putting zero on the tip line?
     
  8. jaxmanjoe

    jaxmanjoe Blah, Blah, Blah

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    If you are referring to the statement you receive from the credit card company, you are correct, because that is an actual charge posted to your account that is now a valid amount you owe.

    What we are talking about is a PRE-AUTHORIZATION. It is NOT a charge that you are liable for. I really don't see what is so hard to understand or believe about this.

    If you acknowledge that tips do get added to bills in food establishments, regardless of amount, then you have to understand the credit card company wanting to verify that the card holder's balance can actually allow for the check amount PLUS a possible tip. There is nothing deceptive about it. The bank has the right to make sure you have the available funds before it lends you the money to make the purchase.

    Imagine servers being told by the restaurant that the charge for the check cleared but their tip didn't, so the server is out his earned wage. The server also has the right to make sure that the amount you are offering as a tip will clear the bank.

    If you cannot stand this common, acceptable practice, may I suggest you pay only in cash at restaurants and eating-related establishments. It is not going to change, and should not change.

    BTW - I don't work for a bank or credit card company. I also believe that banks are evil institutions concocted by demons to destroy the fabric of civilized society. But, this is actually something they do right.
     
  9. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Let me rephase this so you understand what I am saying.

    1. I'm referring to my on-line account. I make a purchase on a week-end, my account shows the exact amount of my purchase.

    2. If I am not tipping then the amount of purchase is the only amount that should be entered for authorization.

    Now, what's so hard to understand about that? Whether you say it's never going to change is not relevant.
     
  10. jaxmanjoe

    jaxmanjoe Blah, Blah, Blah

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    We are discussing the pre-authorization of restaurant-type charges in this thread. You seem to be referring to final charges that show on your online statement.

    The question is what happens if you ARE tipping. Your comments don't refer to this which makes them irrelevant, not my comments. I'm glad you are only being charged for the actual amount you purchased. That's how it should work. Congrats.

    Pre-authorizations should not show up on your online statement. They may show as pending charges, but those are not final and do not reflect in your balance due - only against your available credit.

    Again, and this is the entire point - the bagel shop is not responsible for the pre-authorization amount. It is decided by the credit card company.

    The initial post was vilifying the Ashburn Bagel shop for a pre-authorization the credit card company did. My point is that it was wrong for the poster to do this. What is your point?
     
  11. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    Another good example of this is when you use your credit card to purchase gas at a gas station. When you swipe your card PRIOR to pumping gas, you are 'pre-authorized' for a minimum amount, like maybe $50. That $50 will appear on your online statement as a 'Pending Charge'. Once the transaction has been completed and reconciled, your credit card is charged for the 'actual' amount of gas that you purchased. The 'pre-authorization' is there to make sure that you don't try to purchase $45 worth of gas when you only have $17 left of credit on your card.

    Same goes for the bagel shop. All transactions in a restaurant 'assume' the chance that there will be a tip added to the charge, so an additional amount is added to the 'pre-authorization' to take into consideration that you might be tipping. It's not something that the owner of the establishment does. It's not like the manager of the bagel shop has a secret button he presses to add this. It's all done as part of the 'process' since it's considered a 'restaurant'. Once the transaction is reconciled, the actual charge is posted to your account and not the value of the pre-authorization.

    Even online retailers like Amazon do something like this. They will 'pre-authorize' your card for a $1 charge, to make sure the card is valid and that it has 'some' credit. Once they are ready to ship, your card is charged the full amount and the pre-authorization charge of $1 is never reconciled, thus never applied to your account.

    Nothing nefarious going on here; it's normal business. Normally, you don't see all these specifics going on in the background, but in this age of instantaneous online access to bank information, we can now see the various steps of the process and it 'looks' like something weird is going on, when in fact, it's all normal.

    If you still have concerns, might I suggest you talk to someone at the bank that issued your card and ask them how all this works.
     
  12. suzvel

    suzvel New Member

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    I do understand how pending charges work and I do check my bank statement pretty often, but I have not had a charge like the one Ashburn Bagel placed on my account from any other place. When I called my bank, USAA, before calling the bagel shop to ask them what I should do they said someone overcharged you, USAA did not say restaurants often set it up that way to make sure you have enough money to pay for the tip. Also when I called the bagel shop before posting my original message it seemed to take a minute for the manager to explain why this charge was more than the amount I purchased.

    When my husband uses his debit card at the gas station the pending charge is $1 before the actual charge comes through. When I use my card the pending charge is the exact amount of the gas I purchased, it is never an even amount like $50. I did not post my message to do anything other than warn others that Ashburn Bagel had this policy. I was surprised because like I said I have never had this happen from any other restaurant. I do not agree that this is an honest practice and do not agree that, it is just the way things are done. If you are comfortable with that practice and always see things that way on your bank statements then of course you are always welcome to go wherever you want to go. I have not had this happen in the past and will not be back to an establishment that works that way. I posted my message to warn others because I do not think it is honest or right for the bagel shop to give themselves a 25% tip with my money. Even if it is not a real charge, it is tying up my money until the real charge goes through on Monday.

    Please also remember that emails and messages on this board can be read with a different level of passion or anger than I have ever displayed. You don't know me, so don't assume that I was posting to get everyone in an uproar. I was honestly posting this as a warning to others because it is not something that has happened to me anywhere else.

    Thanks
    Suzanne
     
  13. dcdavis

    dcdavis Ooops!!

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    I stayed at a Ritz-Carlton one time that put a hold for 3x the room rate on my credit card. Totally maxed it out, even though I was only staying one night. Frustrating, yes. Excessive, probably. Understandable - totally.
     
  14. razng2grtboys

    razng2grtboys New Member

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    So what was the actual charge from Ashburn Bagel on your credit card? Was it not what you expected?
     
  15. suzvel

    suzvel New Member

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    It is still pending and still the larger amount. I am keeping my eye on it.

    Suzanne
     
  16. neo_mra_ct

    neo_mra_ct New Member

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    Well, we all want to know what the outcome is, so please let us know. This way, we will know if all of those comments from all of the expert credit card purchasers are right, :)

    And they probably are, just curious...
     
  17. suzvel

    suzvel New Member

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    Thanks for being concerned and wanting to know the outcome I will post as soon as the charge is finalized.

    Suzanne
     
  18. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    I've never noticed a pending charge being higher than the actual billable amount but I also don't check it regularly. I'll certainly watch for it now, though. I have heard of it happening at gas pumps, but I've never head of it in reference to restaurants. Interesting.
     
  19. redon1

    redon1 aka Aphioni

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    happened to me recently as well at a restaurant in Centreville- pending charge was higher, actual charge was correct.
     
  20. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. If I am purchasing bagels at the counter and indicate I am NOT leaving a tip then why did they have to "preauthorize" the purchase? It's not as if I am sitting down in a restaurant and at the end of the meal they take my card and run the authorization.

    On weekends they show up as "pending" and I have the ability to see and check my pending charges but I've never seen a restaurant charge over the true amount (including tip).

    Vilifying the bagel shop? Who are you - the shop owner? And by your post above you imply that it's the CC company that increased the amount. If's that is true then a lot of people should cancel their CC's and find a company that does not practice business this way.

    End note: No one has the right to tap into my credit or debit and tie up my funds without MY authorization.
     

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