Down In The Pumps



Down Cash writes:

I visited a Topaz pump last week and used one of their card operated pumps where you pay at the pump rather than in the store.

When doing this you input a value of fuel you want, insert your pin and then pump. The pump cuts off when your car is full as usual, or pumps until the inputted value of fuel is reached. You are then supposed to be charged for the amount you pumped.

(Note: This was my first time filling this car and at the time I did not know fuel capacity or reserve capacity, my bad).

To my surprise when I looked at my account online two days later both the amount initially inputted (€60) and the pumped amount (€50) had been taken from my account.

On visiting the station they informed me this was to stop thieves with nothing in their account filling and running with no money in their account.

Today I received a reply from Topaz after querying this practice:

“As per our conversation I can confirm that Topaz charged your account for only the petrol dispensed i.e. €50, the €60 that was entered at the pump is being held by your bank and was not processed and should show in your account in 2-3 working days.”

(Note: I was told 4.5 working days for return of the money at the station).

In my account the €60 and €50 are gone from the account. At present I have no access to that €60.

I contacted my bank. They informed me that they’ve never heard of this and that they are not holding any money. The bank say all they can see is 2 transactions that are verified by my pin even though I only verified 1 transaction.

I saw no information that I would lose money for a week and was never informed of this important detail. I have rented cars and you are clearly warned about a hold of money on your account when renting the car, for damage etc reasons.

I thought I’d inform people in case they didn’t know, as I did not.


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58 thoughts on “Down In The Pumps

  1. Orl

    Something similar happened me. It was actually really embarrassing as in my case the money was taken out but no petrol came. Went to my local petrol station afterwards and filled the car up only to find out that I did not have enough money to pay it (it was the day before payday and only had my debit card with me) as I assumed the money would not be withdrawn from my account when no petrol came . Really embarrassing kerfuffle in front of neighbours leaving my car there and walking 4 miles round trip home to get cash.

  2. Neil

    Be careful with this: “They informed me that they’ve never heard of this” means the person you spoke to never heard of this, not your bank… it sounds like a pre-auth. You need to speak to someone in your bank who actually knows what they’re on about.

    1. Harry Molloy

      should have been a shadow posting as opposed to a hard posting. Though this should not have prevented a withdrawal if funds equaling the pre-auth were available?

    2. Cian

      If “the bank” as an entity had never heard of a pre-auth I’d be looking to get my money out immediately.

      1. Neil

        I deal with this on a daily basis in my job regarding shadow payments and especially ARN tracking numbers where branch staff don’t have a clue what they’re doing…”My bank says they don’t use ARNs”, What bank do you use? “Barclays”. So do we, they gave us the ARN.

  3. Bob

    Was it a debit card? If it was, that’s the root of the problem.

    What’s happens is that when you swipe your card first, the terminal does a check that your card can pay that amount and effectively puts a temporary hold on that amount. Then when the pump finishes the actual amount is charged and any difference between the hold and the charge is released.

    When it’s a credit card, you only see the charged amount as the transaction are batch processed and can take a day or two to appear (hence the lag in seeing things in your online banking) so the auth never appears.

    But if you use a debit card, it is processed immediately and so you see two transactions – the auth and the charge. Then a while later it auth is reversed and you get the money back.

    And the only reason I found this out is that I went through the same thing last week and my bank actually had a proper explanation.

    1. DaithiG

      Good answer, but does that mean that you were shorted €50 or so for a few days?

      That would be fairly insufferable if you ask me.

  4. Funster Fionnanánn

    From what I’ve seen petrol stations don’t want people paying at the pump. Most have signs up saying card reader not working, pay in shop etc. We are only about 20 years behind America in petrol pump technology.

    1. dav

      That’s surprising considering that America does use chip and pin. They appear to be a few years behind the rest of the world.

      1. Rainy Day

        Correcto..using a credit card in USA is like cranking up a time machine….they actually get you to sign for it and (try) to take it away….tip ….don’t ever let them take it away with them for 5 mins…

        1. Owen C

          theyve just brought in chip and pin in the US and there has been a torrent of complaints about the 6-7 seconds wait time while the card contacts the bank…

      2. Robert

        Chip and Pin only introduced in the last year or so, and even then hugely controversial. I think it’s still not a majority of outlets enforce it, despite numerous studies showing an indisputable reduction in fraud.

          1. Robert

            No it’s been introduced in America too, but uptake is slow for various cultural reasons.

          1. Robert

            A distaste for “big government meddling” – the regulatory structures aren’t really the as rigorous with regards to liability for fraud meaning that most of it goes onto the outlet rather than the banks. There’s no real reason for banks to force customers and outlets to use chip + pin and they get paid one way or the other, so why pay for the additional expensive infrastructure required for online authentication? If the banks aren’t forcing it, the outlets can’t force customers to memorise for fear of losing them – also don’t want to foot the bill for infrastructure either.

          2. Slightly Bemused

            The main reason I was told when I was there last was time and convenience – or inconvenience. It used be you could swipe your card on many systems and not even have to sign up to a certain amount (I think but am not certain about $50). People would just swipe the card through the slot and walk away from the counter with their goods
            Often, people would give their cards to others (like family) to do the shopping, or even buy presents for themselves: this happened to me on one memorable occasion. I was just given the limit I could go to and was given the card and free rein. No proof of ID was needed.
            Now, with Chip&PIN it takes time, you have to remember the PIN and almost every transaction is needing verification.

          3. Robert

            “People would just swipe the card through the slot and walk away”

            No signature?

            Yeah chip + pin is inconvenient for us too – but thanks to EU bureaucracy (and on this occasion my tongue is not in my cheek) we’re forced to do it.

          4. Slightly Bemused

            @Robert: yes, honestly, no signature. I think there was a limit after which they needed a signature, but I am not sure, and maybe limits on the number of times a day you could do it (as with the new NFC swipes here).
            When I tried it, if I used a credit card I got the same for small amounts, usually in the $20 range, and could just swipe and walk.
            If I used my debit card, though, I was always asked to sign or, lately, use the Chip & PIN option. I have mostly reckoned that may be a security feature as it shows up as an out-of-State card, and may even be a requirement by my bank here.

          5. Robert

            interesting – I guess that’s where the whole foolish “one click purchasing” thing finds resonance

      3. Funster Fionnanánn

        Good lad Dav. Have you actually been outside of Ireland? American pumps work. Easily. Every time. Chip and pin is a different argument. And one you are making to seem smart. It isn’t, you aren’t.

        Grow up.

        1. dav

          awww funster, looks like I hurt your feelings,
          Sorry for pointing out that america doesn’t use chip and pin,.
          Not sorry for the over-reaction and abusive post that it provoked from ya.
          Good luck with your deference of ‘Murica and their petrol pump tech, though i do believe they call it gas….

          1. Funster Fionnanánn

            You are a special commenter. My point is Irish petrol pumps don’t work. American pumps do.

            You pint about chip and pin has nothing to do with the topic.

            But you get to use your one piece of info about chip and pin like its some amazing knowledge known only to you.

            My point stands. Irish pumps are decades behind American pumps because in America you can pump and pay. In Ireland it’s a lottery whether it works, is a different system or works badly.

            Don’t be so touchy Dav.

          2. Bob

            More likely that the station doesn’t want to pay the credit card merchant fees and entirely kill the razor thin margin they have on petrol than the machines actually not working.

          3. dav

            jaysus, calm down dearie, murican pumps are great, even without the chip and pin.
            dat’s wot you want to hear, eh?

      4. DaithiG

        They only introduced it recently although it’s not chip and pin like back home.

        Both of my credit cards have the new chip, but there is no pin number, you just slide it into the reader and wait a few seconds and away you go, it’s supposed to be more secure from skimming and cloning of cards, but if someone knicks your wallet it’s worse than using the signature, not that the signature is in anyway secure.

        Anyway, most places are resisting installing the chip readers because they cost too much and have fairly bad press here.

    2. irishstu

      That’s because they want you to go into the shop and spend money on the impulse items they make their money from

  5. Robert

    It’s similar to when you check in to a hotel and they put a ‘block’ on the amount, and it’s then released when you pay upon check out. As far as I can make out yes they have not taken your money, but it is up to their (Hotel; Topaz) system to release the block.I guess it should time out on the bank side at some stage but this behaviour is “undefined” – it’s perhaps something they had been relying on rather than fix their bug.

    1. Down Cash

      That’s basically what was said but no information on that was provided prior to purchase and I’m still down the cash despite the transaction completing last Thursday.

      I’m not Money Bags Malone so I’m noticing the €60 gone. I think there should be a warning in large print on screen that this is going to happen, and I would have just paid in store.

      1. Robert

        That would mean somebody admitting they made a mistake, which in “certain” business cultures is a big no-no

  6. Anne

    The Auto 24 hour Maxol self service stations don’t work like that, I don’t think.. I’ve never noticed it in my bank account anyway.
    You input your pin, you don’t have to input any amount that you expect to just charges you for what you’ve taken.

    I’ve noticed too that Topaz stations always seem to be a fair few cent more a litre. They’re best avoided IMO.

    1. Slightly Bemused

      I think it only applies when you select the ‘set amount’ option. If, as you indicate, you just pump until you decide to stop, then only 1 transaction shows as there is no need to put a hold on the card.

        1. Slightly Bemused

          Ah, yes. I know those type of pumps. Most annoying if, as you say, you do not know the capacity of the car.

      1. Anne

        There’s no set amount option at those Auto 24 hr stations.. you just put in your card, pin, select if you want petrol or diesel, select if you want a receipt and away you go. It just charges you what you use, the once.

        I don’t see the point in put a hold on your account for the money and charging you as well.. if you went into pay like normal and you didn’t have the funds, you’d just have to go away and get the money, write them an IOU or something. It’s hardly worth put a hold on peoples bank accounts for a measly tank of petrol.

        1. Down Cash

          As usual Anne a few people wreck it for everyone.
          People were apparently driving up to the pumps, filling up and having nothing on their card just driving off with the full tank.
          Why they couldn’t just go after these people in the normal way is beyond me.

          1. Anne

            Yeah, and shur they’d be doing that if they filled up and went to pay in the shop and the funds weren’t available.. I guess maybe people wouldn’t be that brassed neck and they’re more likely to rob the petrol when they don’t have to face up to any shop assistant.

    2. ethereal

      of course they are that bit more expensive, what else would you expect from a [redacted] owned company

  7. Slightly Bemused

    I came across this first in the US and, live OP Down Cash it was using a debit card rather than a credit one. As explained above, the apparent 2 transactions are put in as blocks, and one released when the actual transaction goes through. Awkward, as it means your account needs to have enough for twice the value you originally input and mine did not. As a result, even though it pumped, my bank actually ended up refusing the second (actual) transaction. Caused a bit of a kerfufle.

  8. Karl H

    Temp hold put on funds, it’s legal and the norm at garages in the US and in many bars if you start a tab. Total pain and usually takes up to a week to get access to funds. Transaction will stay as pending on your account.

  9. Paps

    Seriously , what the hell are we or BS going to do about this….why even bother.? Sounds like a pre-auth and whoever you talked to at your bank knows nothing. Go in in person or wait a few days..failing that take them to the small claims court.

    1. Anne

      Could you take Denis O’Brien to the small claims court? Just for the lols like..
      Can we get LCD on this..asap.

  10. Truth in the News

    The only amount that you can charged for is what was dispensed anything
    else charged for is aproriation without authorisation, there are laws to deal
    of this, Criminal Justice Amendment Act 2001 Section 4

  11. dylad

    Had this happen in France recently, was 100 in that case. Didn’t know what the hell was going on.

Comments are closed.

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