Online Purchase debited 4 years later

I purchased an item online back in 2014, paid for using Visa Debit card. I received the item no problems. However, the merchant for some reason never processed the payment. Now fast forward to today, so last week the transaction from 2014 got processed on my Visa Debit Card and as there was not enough funds, the transaction has overdrawn my account.

I have raised a disputed with my bank based on the fact of timeframe. Its not my fault the merchant did not process the transaction back in 2014 when there was funds in the account. Wondering what OzB members think of this. Should there be a limit of time for a merchant to process a transaction?


  • Chargeback 😂😂😂

  • Get them to provide Aus Post proof of sending.

  • +20 votes

    Seems abit of a stretch to charge someone for something 4 years after the fact. Just talk to your bank and state its an unauthorised transaction.

  • I have raised a disputed with my bank

    Ok, so what did they say and why is there a need for a thread?

  • +22 votes

    Just out of curiosity, how did you know what the transaction was for if it was so out of the blue? I’m assuming it wasn’t just a nominal $5, but rather something large?

  • Karma is a b*tch isn't it ;)

  • You bought something and got it for free. For four years you had their money and earned interest. Now they’re asking for you to pay what you owe them. Not a big deal I reckon, but I agree they should have notified you in advance to make you aware.

    • they should have notified you in advance to make you aware.

      To be fair op didn't contact the store four years ago to offer to pay for the good. OP let it slide in hope of getting it for free.

      • +38 votes

        It's not OP's responsibility to waste their time with a poorly run business. They already provided all the correct information for the payment to happen in a timely fashion and it didn't.

        • Customers receiving goods have a legal responsibility to pay for the goods.

          • @whooah1979: To what extent must a customer go to to cover for negligence on the stores behalf?

            OP did everything correctly and by the book, with full intention of paying.

            The store willingly sent him the goods, obviously being satisfied that their requirements and been met, and then for whatever reason did not process the payment.

            What if OP called the store and informed them that he still hasn't been charged, but the store still wouldn't process his payment? When is his legal responsibility satisfied?

            • @ILikeBargenz:

              OP did everything correctly and by the book, with full intention of paying.

              Except for actually paying.



              To what extent must a customer go to to cover for negligence on the stores behalf?

              Legally, probably not a lot. Morally, the op knew they hadn't paid and was trying to get one over on the seller. That makes them an (profanity) regardless of the legalities.

              I see this all too often. Customers who exploit online pricing mistakes are some of the worst. There was an example recently where someone on the forum went to elaborate lengths even after the online store had fixed the mistake and refunded everyone. This customer kept haranguing the store cashier (physical confrontation) until they relented and gave them the discount. They were so proud of their "bargain". All I could think was "what an (profanity)".

              Do people forget there are real human beings at the other end of the computer screen? Op gets a $50 "discount" (or whatever) but that money didn't come from nowhere. If it's a small business owner you're taking that money out of their wallet. If it's a large business it's seemingly easier to justify but it's morally just as bankrupt.

              It's not like Op "forgot" to pay. Op knew they hadn't paid and hoped nobody would notice. They got caught and now they're still trying to weasel their way out of paying. As with the other person in the previous example all I can think is "what an (profanity)".

          • +6 votes

            @whooah1979: It seems to me like they already did that when they provided the store with their card details. The rest is the store's responsibility.

            I'm not sure the store is entitled to charge them four years later without first notifying them. A quick email like "Hey, sorry we were auditing our system and it looks like payment for this order dated such and such was not processed. We will charge your card on five days time, please ensure there is sufficient funds or credit. If the card is no longer valid, please contact us with new card details."

            Otherwise, it's the store's oversight and their loss.

        • -15 votes

          That's nice to know. I'm going to walk out of some department store with the goods in my hand when I can't find anyone to pay for my goods.

        • and its not the businesses responsibility that OP's debt card was overdrawn.

          too bad, so sad.

  • Did you contact the merchant four years ago when the payment wasn’t processed? I have had payments not go through when I have bought things and contacted the merchant to advise them after a reasonable period of time has passed.
    You owed the money, you should pay it. I doubt very much that the bank will side with you.

    • Does you check every purchase to make sure the funds have come out of your account? I certainly don't.

      • But you also don't complain when a valid payment is taken.

        • I would if it was four years ago.

        • Isn’t the issue that the delayed payment has triggered an over balance fee?

          • @Marty131: OP is claiming they shouldn't pay any of the price, not just the overdraw fee.

            • @HighAndDry: I didn't read that in the OP.

              I would have an issue if I got lumped with fees that could easily have been avoided by an sms/email/phone call. I've had a hotel booking come through on a credit card after it was closed 14+months later, no fees, so no issues, but if I had incurred a fee, i'd be expecting the merchant to foot the bill not me…. Not my fault they couldn't get their act together.

              I 100% agree that charges need to be paid, but business needs to take some responsibility for the delay.

              • @AG_ACT: From the OP:

                I have raised a disputed with my bank based on the fact of timeframe […] Should there be a limit of time for a merchant to process a transaction?

                OP wants there to be a time restriction on businesses processing transactions, i.e. they think the business shouldn't be able to process this transaction at all.

  • More importantly, how or why did they keep your card detials for 4 yrs!

    • They may not have settled their EFTPOS machine for 4 years. I have heard of a B&B that hadn't for 2 years. They hadn't been keeping track of their books and didn't notice that they hadn't been paid for any of their electronic transactions. The transactions were processed once they knew how to settle the machine.

      • EFTPOS machines automatically settle

        • Not if they're not connected to the bank's network and running in offline mode.

          • @derpdeder: For four years though?

            • @smartazz104: If a unit was kept powered for that time to maintain the memory and not connected ever to the bank's network, it would have no reason to purge the transactions. I've had an Ingenico machine post a transaction that was a month old but I have no idea if there is an upper limit. Most eftpos machines now have 3G backup so the phone/network connection issues that cause offline don't seem to occur. OP however stated subsequently that this was not the issue in their particular transaction.

      • If that is the case it is sad that none of the customers notified them.

    • don't your card expired?

  • +9 votes

    So youve essentially received a free item and your complaining you have to pay for it now? What a time to be alive, you privileged princess

    • No. They got a fee for being overdrawn. You are the one with the anti snowflake hair trigger.

      • Some credit card providers only charge an overdrawn fee if the amount is more than their overdraw limit. The limit could be anything between $100 to $20000.

      • After paying nothing in the first place.

        • First place being four years ago. It's not a blood debt. Can a buyer say four years late that it didn't arrive and they need a refund?

          • @Frugal Rock: If they can prove it, yes. It'd be a hellavuh process going through the courts but absolutely possible.

            • @HighAndDry: That would mean very many companies are trading insolvent as they can't cover 4+ years of sales if they all went missing and were simultaneously refunded.

              • @Frugal Rock: What?

                No - if OP was a company, the invoice would be listed under "Payables" in liabilities. It'd absolutely be accounted for, and wouldn't fall off after an arbitrary amount of time. You can write off receivables at your discretion, you can't do the same for payables.

  • Wouldn't your card have expired and been re-issued in this time?

  • there is a legal timeframe to be charged, i don't thinj companies can charge a bill after X months (i don't know what but pretty sure it exists)

    the fact the person didn't get charged in the first place is not the issue, they may have never been aware, it is the fee they are fuming about, and i would be too.

    how many of us really know whether we paid out internet bill last month, when you have 500 other charges from your wife's obliteration of shoe and clothes shops. (you just assume it has been charged), and thus need to keep money in the account

    • You should be more aware of your finances given potential hacking of your accounts. When you get your monthly bills you should question every item. OZB.

      Understand that the merchant should have probably written it off way back when, rather than 4 years later. Seller provided item, Buyer doesnt deny recieving it. Pay up or shut up.

      • you sit there and go through every transaction, man that must be boring and a waste of your time.

        if it is approximately what i expect ill pay it.

        so if i forgot to charge you $5 in 1972 and you knew that, and i debited your account today which had $4.67 in it, you would be sweet with the $30 fee?

    • The legal timeframe is 7 years.

  • About 4 years ago my partner and I flew to the UK over Xmas. To make the flight we needed to catch 4 different airlines, and booked though Expedia. We took the flights, came back (it was a total of $6k, flights around Xmas are expensive), and Expedia never charged us. I've used Expedia since, without issue (and have been charged). I hope they don't charge me after all these years. Someone suggested it could be to do with booking multiple airlines (apparently Expedia don't charge you until all the other airlines have charged them, so if one forgot, I'm scott free).

    • for that amount of money and that time frame, I would deifnitely close the card or get a new one issued,

      • That kind of makes it stealing. Where as if I maintain the status quo, and let the universe sort it out, my karma levels remain in tact.

        • not really, it is the merchants fault for not charging, espeically time frame?

          my friend about 10 years ago did a solar panel installation for like $12k,
          they asked for a bill about 6 times, it never came

          I wouldnt be happy if I got cahrged that amount after all this time, especially requesting invoices

        • That kind of makes it stealing. Where as if I maintain the status quo, and let the universe sort it out, my karma levels remain in tact.

          Dumbest thing I've ever heard. What you're saying is that you are morally OK with low-key fraud, but not OK with overt fraud.

          • @johnno07: Except it's not fraud, everything was done correctly on my end.

            • @Burnertoasty: Except you've knowingly received a service for which you were supposed to pay, but did not pay.

              The DEFINITION of fraud is dishonestly receiving a benefit/property/service. See:

              So, if you honestly believe in hoodoo of karma - yours is buggered.

              • @johnno07: Except I did pay. I gave them my credit card details, with the full intention of paying. If they charge me, I won't protest the charge. Their mistake is not my fault.

                • @Burnertoasty: Except you didn't pay - BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T PAID.

                  • @johnno07: I have given Expedia every opportunity to take my money. It's not fraudulent if they can't do their job properly. I haven't closed my account, I've reused their service, I have the same credit cards. You're trying to put the ball in my court, but I've already hit it over the net, and I've been waiting for the return for 4 long years. If it doesn't come, then so be it.

                    • @Burnertoasty: You seem to be misunderstanding. I don't care that Expedia is out a few grand because of their inability to properly take payment - that is their fault, and it just becomes a cost of their doing business. What I take issue with is you claiming the ethical high ground by drawing some ridiculous line in the sand where purposely and overtly defrauding someone is morally wrong, but committing fraud by omission (which is what you are doing) is morally OK.

                      I have given Expedia every opportunity to take my money.

                      No you haven't. Every opportunity would be notifying them.

                      And can I reiterate, you are committing fraud. It's fraud that is unlikely to ever be noticed, or ever result in any sort of penalty if it is noticed, but fraud nonetheless. You are dishonestly obtaining a benefit. Do I care that Expedia is out a few bucks? No. Are you in the right? Also no.

                      • @johnno07: To say I'm committing fraud is just stupid. At no point have I ever tried to withhold payment, or get out of paying.

                        • @Burnertoasty: Mate - it's not. If you read the Criminal Code I linked above (

                          408C Fraud
                          (1) A person who dishonestly

                          (b) obtains property from any person; or

                          (d) gains a benefit or advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, for any person;

                          commits the crime of fraud.

                          (where "property": "includes credit, service, any benefit or advantage")

                          3(b) a person’s act or omission in relation to property may be dishonest even though—
                          (i) he or she is willing to pay for the property; or
                          (ii) he or she intends to afterwards restore the property or to make restitution for the property or to afterwards fulfil his or her obligations or to make good any detriment; or
                          (iii) an owner or other person consents to doing any act or to making any omission; or
                          (iv) a mistake is made by another person

                          And to reiterate what I said before - I'm not commenting on the likelihood of you being caught, nor the likelihood of any actual penalty if it does come to light. However, what you're doing absolutely fits the above description. Not notifying the other party that payment was unsuccessful is dishonest, and you gained property (in the form of a service). I don't care that you've gotten a good deal out of Expedia - they can foot the bill because they made a mistake - but the fact that you think you are morally right, when you are, to the letter of the law, committing a crime, is absolutely ridiculous.

                        • @Burnertoasty: Ugh. Burnertoasty authorised the payment, by one of the merchant’s requested methods, and the merchant provided the good/service. Calling this fraud is fanciful.

                          Ye olde chequing system (which, granted, I don’t miss at all) allowed cheques to go stale if not banked by the payee. It’s completely defensible for a buyer to expect a merchant to draw the funds authorised within a reasonable amount of time.

  • Dispute it, not your responsibility.

    The business should have debited you in a timely fashion. Their loss.

    • Op were supplied with the good, but didn't pay for it. What is op disputing?

      • Banks often charge fees for an account being overdrawn.

        • And they are disputing what though?

          • @sheamas88: OP can speak for themself, but in my case, I put my money into an interest bearing account rather than the transaction account with debit mastercard. If some random transaction from 4 years ago sends it into overdraft when funds were in the interest account and a fee is charged, I wouldn't be happy either. Transactions aren't open forever, there is a reasonable time to process a charge. If foreign exchange was involved, of course they can't wait forever.

      • NO,OP had authorised payment, but the seller did not take it.

        • OP authorized it - there was no time-limit on that authorisation (technically). Seller is now taking it. It's still fully within the authorisation that OP gave them.