Ethical Dilemma Regarding Credit Card


My husband and I signed up for a airline credit card for the purposes of saving money on baggage fees when we recently travelled to visit my family. To simplify our vacation spending, we put all of our expenses on that card while we were visiting.

On the day we were flying back, we received a notification from the credit card company that the card info had been stolen and there had been a significant purchase made that we did not authorize. We cancelled the card right away, and asked the credit card company about an authorized charge made shortly before the unauthorized one - would that still go through as normal? The credit card company assured us it would and not to worry, but that no further charges would be authorized and we would get a new number and card in the mail.

Fast forward a few weeks later and the charge that should have come through is still not on our credit card statement, though I have been waiting for it. We then get a notification about the “investigation” regarding the unauthorized purchase - and it’s the one we were told would go through just fine. Alarmed, I call the credit card company to try and fix it - after all, I don’t want to be accused of trying to get out of paying a legitimate charge! :eek: The customer service representative tells me to just call the vendor and explain what happened and have them run the charge again using the new number. So I do that, and the vendor says, “Well, it’s marked as paid, so you don’t owe us anything. If for some reason there is a problem, we will send you a bill.”

Now I’ve received a new letter that says “the investigation concluded you are not responsible for this charge” and that, apparently, we are never going to be expected to pay it. This really doesn’t sit right with me, but I’ve already called once and tried to set it right - to both the credit card company and the vendor, and basically wasn’t able to fix it. It’s not an insignificant amount of money (it was actually for our rental car while we were visiting, and they aren’t cheap!)

I have the money sitting in our account just in case we are ever asked to pay. What are our moral obligations? Do I try again to pay the credit card company (since they probably paid for it because of their identity theft policies?) Do I let it be and say, “Well, at least for all my hassle I didn’t have to pay for my rental car?”

(By the way, this whole thing does signal to me that I am never opening a credit card with this company again. I’ve had two with them and both numbers have been stolen within weeks of the accounts opening, while I’ve had the same debit card for years and never had a problem. Not exactly a stellar record on privacy, IMO.)


You do your best and you move on. You’ve called the credit card company, you’ve called the vendor, you really have nothing else you can do.

I had something similar, though not the same amount of money involved, with out of state toll roads. They take a picture of you license, have some sort of reciprocal agreement with our state, and are supposed to mail you the bill. No bill. Multiple calls to customers service, they can’t find anything b/c I don’t have an account number. they say I just have to wait until I get a bill. It’s been almost a year. So, probably I’ll never get a bill. I tried.


You’ve done all you reasonably can. I’d leave the money aside for a while in case you are sent a bill. But otherwise, you’ve done all you can.

It has probably been settled by now via insurance for both the credit card company and the rental company.


No ethical dilemma at all. You have called the company and asked the questions. The burden is on them.

FYI calling a credit card company to make sure you get charged is a little like chasing down a mugger to give him a quarter he missed while robbing you.:shrug:


I agree with all the above posters, did what you could.



Well, it was partially a “cover my bum” type thing, so they couldn’t turn around and say, “Hey, you falsely claimed this was stolen and it wasn’t!” :eek:

I guess I will hold onto the money for a little while, and maybe it’ll turn out to be like Monopoly - “bank error in your favor, collect $10.” :stuck_out_tongue:


If I had to guess, I’d say that the charges are on hold pending the investigation. You would be wise to hold onto the money for a while. A couple of statements at least. Then, Buy yourself a nice foot massage…


I do wonder what on earth their investigation entailed. The fradulent charge was made thousands of miles from where we live and where we were travelling. The authorized one (that they denied) was a rental car company at the airport we flew to; the rental was for the duration of our stay, we booked the rental car right after our plane tickets, and, oh, I don’t know, we told them twice it was an authorized charge and we wanted to pay it.

When I worked in customer service, each client had a notes section on their file so that no matter who talked to them, the rep could glance over the notes and see what was what. I find it funny that a large international credit card company either doesn’t have this, the reps don’t use it, or that their fraud investigation department doesn’t check their own customer records as part of an investigation. :shrug:

The last letter I got seemed pretty final - it said the investigation had “concluded.” If I had to guess I’d say I’m in the clear thanks to their shoddy work, but seriously??? For how greedy credit card companies are about collecting what’s owed them, I’m shocked at how lax this seems to have been (to the point where I even call and say, “I want to pay this how do I?” and it’s still not fixed.)


It was probably a mix up somewhere on the side of the credit card company, mixing up authorized payment with an unauthorized one. What you need to do however, is get something in writing from the credit card company that you have no balance with them at all. The rental car company got paid by the credit card company the day you got the car, that’s how credit cards work. They advance the money to the store, you pay them back later. Just to make sure your protected, you want something official from the credit card company saying your good, so they can’t double back and go, yeah about that rental car… (and tack on interest and late fees). Once you have that in hand, I’d personally probably donate most of the funds you had for the rental car. You used the rental car. The credit card company paid the rental car people, and if the credit card company says your good, don’t pay, I’d feel guilty with the money sitting in my pocket.


:thumbsup: I agree. Wait a couple of months. If nothing shows up, donate it to a worthy cause. The “missing charge” could make a real difference in someone’s life.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit