Reply
Reader
NathanG
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎02-10-2010
0 Kudos

"Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

The short story:

 

Not only am I having $1.00 "authorization holds" showing up on my debit card every time I make a purchase, I'm now having an additional authorization hold, in the same amount as the purchase itself, showing up.

 

Buy a book for $9.59?  There's one "hold" of $1.00 and another "hold" of $9.59 and a "charge" of 9.59.  The smaller $1.00 hold is evidently a "known issue" at B&N which is being worked on, but, according to the last CSR I spoke with, the $9.59 "hold" is dictated by the publisher. (Note that I've had it show up on one purchase of a book by a specific publisher, but not show up on another purchase of a book by the same publisher.)

 

This is not like the hold placed on your card when you buy a Nook which has to be back ordered, (that hold is used when the Nook eventually ships).  These holds are placed against my card simultaneously with the purchase price also being debited to my account.  In essence, I have to pay twice the price of every purchase (plus an additional $1), and then wait for a "rebate" of half the cost (plus the additional $1) in 3-5 business days.

 

Am I the only one this is happening to?  Am I the only one who finds it unacceptible?Am I the only one who can't find this information disclosed anywhere on the B&N website?

 

The (much) longer version of this issue and my frustration with it can be found on my blog.

 

 

 

 

Inspired Bibliophile
LarryOnLI
Posts: 1,998
Registered: ‎01-04-2010
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

I've seen this happen on occasion with many vendors. I'm not sure of the exact cause but here is what happens.

 

  1. You place an order using your debit card and the hold is placed on your account.
  2. If no charge comes through matching that hold then your bank drops it after a set number of days.
  3. When the charge from the vendor comes through it is supposed to match up to that previous hold, essentially turning the hold into a charge.
  4. If for some reason the charge does not get matched to the hold then both show up separately on your account until the hold automatically gets dropped off by your bank.

I'm not sure whose fault it is that the charge does not get matched up with the corresponding hold. I suspect there is some reference number that gets passed with the charge to match it to the hold, and this is getting lost.

 

Inspired Wordsmith
icebike
Posts: 4,434
Registered: ‎11-30-2009
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

The hold should be cleared as soon as the charge is approved.

 

But I have to say, grandstanding on a blog and posting in a user-to-user forum is pointless.

 

If you believe you have an issue, file a formal complaint with Visa/Mastercard.  

 

Frequent Contributor
CandyNJ66
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎12-25-2009
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

Hope you get it sorted out. I have a debit card and I get no authorization charges like yours

Reader
NathanG
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎02-10-2010
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

Replying to all (so far). What you're describing is not what's happening. If they were putting a "hold" on funds and then deducting the purchase from the "hold", (essentially cancelling it out), I wouldn't be the least bit bothered.  Regardless of how the machinations work, my funds should be unavailable to me the instant I make the purchase.

 

What irks me is that what they actually are doing is 1.) deducting the funds from my account, and 2.) simultaneously instituting a "hold" on the exact same amount of money.  Like I said, the effect is that I have to wait for an involuntary rebate.

 

And Icebike, Thank you so much for schooling me on what is and isn't pointless.  Where ever would I be without you?

Inspired Contributor
GeoffreyF
Posts: 202
Registered: ‎12-15-2009
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

The issue is with the credit card company.    Not all credit card companies are alike.  You might want to discuss this with them or get a new credit card.

 

It has nothing to do with the retailer.   You will find similar issues with other electronic purchases with that card.

Inspired Wordsmith
icebike
Posts: 4,434
Registered: ‎11-30-2009
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

There is no such thing as a hold.  My bad, I was probably the first to use that word on this thread.

 

There is an Authorization.  And there is a Sale.

 

Authorizations are a way for sellers to see if the sale would go thru if they submitted it.  It is not technically a "hold", although it can affect your available credit (borrowing) balance.  

 

Sellers often do this automatically to semi-reserve the funds from the Sales side of their business (without actually receiving funds from you) till the shipment side of their business indicates the items have been shipped.  This is actually the proper business practice, the one recommended by Visa when shipment might be delayed.

 

In your case you are claiming that even tho shipping was not delayed the authorization remains outstanding.

 

Since this does not happen with me and a other posters in this thread, it is as likely to be a problem with your Bank and or your Visa/Mastercard than it is with B&N.  

 

So the advice is STILL to take it up with Visa and/or your Bank.  If Visa traces it to an actual error on B&N part they will force a correction to B&N procedures.

 

I stand by my schooling that there is nothing to be gained by flailing around in a forum with this issue.  

 

Reader
NathanG
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎02-10-2010
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

The words "authorization" and "hold" both came from the B&N CSR. I didn't invent them, and you're not responsible for putting them in my head.

 

And my card has never been treated this way by any other vendor aside from rental car companies or hotels, (both of which tell you in advance that they'll be holding a security deposit on the card).

 

The fact that the "shipping" of the ebook doesn't cancel out the "hold" on the card is ocurring exactly as the B&N explained it should be happening. This strikes me as...not good.

 

(OT for a moment, I posted both on the message board and on my blog because, 1.) the people who read my blog know I got a Nook and they've asked for my opinion of it, 2.) I doubt the people reading my blog are spending much time in B&N message boards, 3.) I was hopeful that someone here could shed some light -- it's even helpful to hear that others aren't experiencing the same problem, and 4.) I didn't think this was the appropriate forum for the long foamy post I felt like putting up on my blog.  It is my blog and I'm pretty sure I'm allowed to rant all I like there.  But, once again, thank you so much for your opinions.)

Inspired Wordsmith
icebike
Posts: 4,434
Registered: ‎11-30-2009
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

See this page:

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/help/cds2.asp?PID=26974&cds2Pid=8510&linkid=1533939

 

Please be aware that bank policies and procedures vary. If you experience any delays or errors regarding the availability of funds in your bank account, direct your questions to the bank.

 

 

This says to me that B&N do it the same way all the time (since its done by computer that is what I would expect).  They are saying here that its not THEM causing the lagging release of the authorization, but rather your bank. 

Reader
NathanG
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎02-10-2010
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

Icebank,

 

I swear I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but the sentence you quote is in answer to the question,

 

"How does paying with a credit or debit card apply to pre-order items?" (emphasis mine).

 

ebooks that are downloaded to my Nook aren't "pre-ordered".  They're a purchase that takes place essentially instantaneously.

 

I will speak to my bank (again), but yesterday, my bank said that they place the hold in accordance with the way that B&N tells them to and when I spoke to B&N (again) after speaking to my bank, the CSR confirmed that the bank placed the hold in accordance with B&N's policy.

 

I'm only going with what they've both told me (and how often to you have two separate vendors agree about which one is responsible?).

Inspired Wordsmith
icebike
Posts: 4,434
Registered: ‎11-30-2009
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

Yeah, I'm not getting fussed about it either.  Just pointing out what it said on the site.  

 

Knowing the way large data-systems work (its my job for the last 30 years), I just suspect

the authorization is placed each time, with the expectation that the sale will clear it.

(They state as much in the first Paragraph on the page).

(My company is also a visa merchant so I know a little bit about how this works).

 

Maybe they are forgetting to clear the authorization, doing it late, mis-matching 

authorization numbers, or something similar.  But This does not happen for me, and others

so we are left with the discrepancy.  

 

Take that page URL directly to CSR and tell him you expect them to adhere to their published

policy, give then 2 days to remove the Authorizations and then Contact Visa.

Bibliophile
bklvr896
Posts: 4,800
Registered: ‎12-31-2009
0 Kudos

Re: "Authorization Holds" when purchasing ebooks

I currently have a gift card on the site, and here's what happens when I buy a book.  I get a pending charge of $1.00 on my default credit card.  The actual charge for the book then comes out of gift card and at some point, the $1.00 pending charge goes away.

 

The $1.00 pending is used by a lot of companies to confirm that you have entered a valid credit card number.  I know I see this quite frequently when purchasing online.  I've never seen a $1.00 pending charge, then a pending charge for the total cost and then the actual charge.  The pending charge goes away when the actual charge is made.

 

I agree it's very frustrating when you have two companies pointing at each other, no one willing to take responsponsibility, but your circumstances don't seem to be happening to others, which would lead me to arguing harder with the bank.