questionshow do i get my money?

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Your stats say you only have 1 woot (purchase) so it's clear only 1 went through. I would contact your bank to dispute the charge. I had to do this once before when I got double charged for a taxi fee. It was obvious that it was a duplicate charge because I couldn't have taken 2 taxis at exactly the same time for exactly the same fare. Your case may be harder to prove you didn't buy the same item twice, but it'll be up to woot to prove you actually bought 2 identical items. Also, work with your bank to prevent overdraft fees and whatnot. They may tell you the 2nd charge is just a temporary holding amount that is not really impacting your balance yet and will eventually disappear. Go to an ATM and see what your available balance shows. Good luck!

vote-for24vote-against

Is it possible that one, or both of those charges are pending? As in the funds are held in limbo and waiting for your bank to free them? I've had that happen with companies before. Especially on a large purchase. I'd call my bank first if I were you and also contact Woot support. I am sure they can get all that resolved for you.

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Good replies above. This is just one reason I hate debit cards - so much more risky and difficult than credit cards when things go south.

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The bank is holding both charges until they get the paperwork. After X number of days, if the paper work doesn't come through, the money will get back into the account but you should keep an eye out for it.

BTW - when paying with a credit card, the purchase grabs some of the available credit until the paperwork clears. Until it does, your available credit limit is reduced. An example, if you're filling up on gas, the gas station/card will pre-authorize $150 reducing your credit limit by that amount. It may take a couple days for the amount of the actual purchase - say $60 - to come through but until then, your credit limit has been reduced by $150.

vote-for8vote-against

Have both charges already processed through to the point that money has actually come out of your account, or are one or both still in a "pending" status?

Pending items usually stay pending [holding your funds, in other words] for only three to five days; call your card issuer to ask how long that time is for them, specifically. If one charge is still pending, it's fine to ask the service rep if it's possible to have the hold released, but don't be surprised if you get told it can't be done. Most banks and credit unions cannot (or will not) do a dispute for a pending item, and by the time the dispute is even partly in progress the hold will have released automatically anyway.

With most other merchants, it is possible for the bank (but not always within their policy guidelines) to verify with the merchant via phone that there should be only one charge, obtain certain technical data from the merchant, and then be able to release the hold of funds on your account.

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vote-for8vote-against

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However, Woot.com doesn't have customer service by phone. At my credit union, we could also accept a faxed statement from the merchant, on company letterhead, stating that there was in fact only one purchase and that the second charge could be released from the hold. BUT here again, you'd have to check with your bank/credit union, ask if this can be done, get a good fax number, then email Woot's customer service and get them to fax such a letter for you. By the time this all happens, the hold on your funds should already have been released.

So to recap: (1) check to see if the extra charge is still just pending; (2) call your financial institution to ask what the time frame is for the hold to be released if the transaction is never completed. Try to use that specific language; (3) if you think any delay in the release of funds will result in NSF items, ask the rep if there's any way they can work with you any NSF fees.

vote-for10vote-against

Just a quick follow-up for a technical explanation: both credit card and debit card transactions are two-step processes. The first step is when the merchant "talks" to Visa/AmEx/Mastercard to get approval for the purchase. If funds are available, approval is granted and the transaction becomes a "pending authorization." The dollar amount is placed on hold, temporarily reducing the available balance in your checking account or on your credit card.

When the merchant completes the transaction (right at the counter if you're in the store or when the merchandise is actually shipped if you're online or on the phone), his computer sends a "completed" message to the credit card company, which then posts the charged amount to your account. That's the point when the dollars come out of your checking account or the credit card balance is officially increased.

If no "completed" message gets sent, the pending transaction can be held for only three to five days.

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vote-for9vote-against

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(Exactly how long is a contractural point between the credit card company and your bank/credit union. At my credit union, it's three days for debit cards and five days for credit cards.) At the end of that time, the pending item "rolls off," or expires, or disappears, whatever term you'd like to use, and the funds are again available in your checking account or on your credit card.

One other point: most companies will not send the "completed" message to the credit card company until your order is actually shipped. If that takes more than the 3-5 days of allowable hold time, the hold may roll off your account, but the authorization itself is still effective. The merchant doesn't know or care about the hold-time arrangements; all he needs to know is that the authorization was issued and he'll get paid.

This is probably more than anyone really wants to know, but I've learned over the years that being able to figure out how the timing works can save a lot of worry.

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@first2summit: The first time I saw a gas-station hold of $50 I was astonished; now, with gas at $3.50 or more, some stations in my area are holding up to $100, which means many people trying to use a debit or card may get declined because there just isn't that much money available in their checking account or on their credit card. (Been there, worried about that.)

This difficulty can be worked around pretty easily: if you think you may not have enough to cover the requested hold amount, go into the office and prepay for however much you want to spend. That eliminates the hold issue completely. It's a bit inconvenient, but much less hassle than going elsewhere for gas and hoping a different station has a lower hold request.

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@magic cave: Most debit cards (probably not a good thing) will allow your account to overdraft, so even if all your money is pending, you can keep buying until your account is actually empty without fees and without it declining. Even though your available balance might be $0, you don't get an overdraft fee for pending charges. So it shouldn't affect your ability to continue to make purchases.

If you opt out of overdraft protection, then transactions are actually denied once your pending charge match or exceed your actual money. Most banks don't tell you that you can just say no to overdrafts on debit and have your card be declined when you don't have the money to cover it. But I still keep that protection just so I can use the gas station pumps without worries.

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@omnichad: Is there any charge if your bank has to transfer money from your overdraft account to cover a shortfall in your checking account? (Most of the credit union members I used to talk to said their "other bank" always charged them.)

I'm only familiar with three debit cards; none of them will allow an authorization unless the funds are actually available in the checking account. I can't imagine there being a charge for pending items, since funds are still in your account and may never be posted.

I personally wouldn't want a card that would let me keep making purchases without the funds being directly available, even though I have two usable overdraft accounts. I always have at least two credit cards available, however, which keeps the debit card from being the card of last resort.

My previous comments are based on my understanding of debit cards in general and my own credit union's cards in particular, but the purchase processing steps are pretty standard across the board.

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@magic cave: My bank will automatically do transfer to checking and then charge me an transfer fee. If I'm smart enough to log in ahead of time and transfer funds manually of course it's free. I've never used the overdraft protection. But if your account is set up to allow overdrafts, then you can authorize for more than the funds available and not get any fees until if/when those funds are captured.

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@omnichad: Thanks for the clarification. All things considered, I prefer to stay with a procedure that doesn't allow debit-card approvals unless the money is available in the checking account, and I definitely wouldn't do business with a financial institution that charged me to transfer from an overdraft account.

vote-for2vote-against

get a credit card. The protections for the consumer are much better than debit cards AND there's no chance that you'll overdraft. Buying ANYTHING online with a debit card is just asking for trouble. It's not a question of IF you'll have problems, it's a question of WHEN.

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@kamikazeken: I'll second that. My Walmart.com account was hacked recently and I had $120 in fraudulent purchases tied up for over a month. Luckily, they didn't use my debit card on file - they used my Discover card. On top of that, I think with how they credited it back to me I might still earn cashback bonus on one of the charges.