The Consumer Complaints Blog

Fighting the trained monkey in modern society.

December 7, 2011

Complaint regarding Esso’s Pre-authorization policy

Filed under: Automotive — Editor @ 11:22 pm

Thank you for the opportunity to express my extreme frustration on a public forum.

Yesterday I purchased $10.01 from a local Esso station by swiping my credit card at the pump. This morning when I checked my credit card balance on line it showed a discrepancy between the balance and credit available. When I called my credit card company they informed me that Esso had pre-authorized $100 for my $10.01 transaction. They further informed me that they could not release the $89.99 remaining authorization without speaking to Esso directly. I called Esso Customer Service and was advised that they do not hold the funds, but rather my bank does. I called the credit card company back and spoke to a Supervisor (Tony) who said they it would violate Capital One’s Merchant Agreement if they released the remaining authorization without hearing from Esso directly. I then called Esso back and spoke with another Customer Service representative (Suzanne) who informed me that Esso has no way to track what my actual charge was an no way to authenticate release of the remaining authorized funds.

I have worked in the hotel industry for 30 years and, like Esso, we pre-authorize credit cards on check in. However, unlike Esso, there is a method to call and cancel the pre-authorization after check-out in order to release those funds back to the customer. That is the nexus of my complaint; if they are going to pre-authorize for $100 (without telling the consumer, mind you…and by the way who puts $100 in their gas tank these days???), then they should be obligated to have some way to release the funds once the actual payment amount is processed.

I am extremely frustrated as tomorrow is a the start of a long weekend, and I have been told that the pre-authorized funds won’t be released for 4-5 business days, which means that my $10.01 purchase on Wednesday November 9th will tie up $100 of my available funds until next Wednesday the 16th or Thursday the 17th!

This article was submitted by one of our readers. Penciltrick cannot make any claims as to its authenticity but the article was accepted on a good faith belief that it is an accurate and truthful account of the events listed.

2 Responses to “Complaint regarding Esso’s Pre-authorization policy”

  1. Rob Says:

    Same problem here in Mississauga at Esso Pump. Put $150 into my MC yesterday evening and purchased $20.00 in gas and went inside store for cigarettes and was declined.

    Called MC and even front line Customer Service were not informed, I had to go to complaint dept as I was charged $150.00 for $20.11 in gas.

    Long story short I am without cig’s, essential groceries and some gardening supplies I was going to use these funds for. This would be considered FRAUD if it were done arbitrarily by our local store. I am not renting a car or Hotel room for which we all know the process.

    I am going to contact Market Place (Canadian TV Show) to see if they are willing to expose this underhanded method of doing business by Esso. This policy is not posted or publicly available anywhere except after the fact… which is a real inconvenience and even hardship in some cases.

    They are getting interest on my money plus I don’t know on how many 10’s of millions of other such transactions. Free interest income for Esso and they should really not be allowed to continue this deceptive business practice.

    I would go to jail if I did that to a customer… wouldn’t I?

    Regrets from Mississauga

  2. Feel cheated Says:

    When using my credit card at the gas pump I was “forced” to estimate the amount to be charged on my credit card and agree to this charge being put onto my credit card “BEFORE” I began pumping gas. I estimated wrong and I was cheated out of $4 ….I went inside and was told that I would be charged “only what was pumped”. Why should I trust that I will be refunded my $4 overcharge?Are we all supposed to be mathematicians now?

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