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Florida Gambler (?) and his debit card

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PostPosted: Jan Sun 01, 2006 9:49 am    Post subject: Florida Gambler (?) and his debit card Reply with quote

They never did give me an explanation of why they put such a great amount of a hold/deposit on my card. In the two straight months I fought and emailed and repeatedly called 'em, they never brought it up! If it was a computer error you'd think they'd at least fess up but there's no way they did.

It's a riot because I played literally about only $10 on one of their nickel machines on that trip, and now all of a sudden I'm a high roller there (or maybe they're just trying to reconcile?) I now get their magazine with coupons, some of which are good - I've seen 3 free nights in Reno and $49 per night in Rio Las Vegas so far. But will I ever patronize them again? NOPE!

In the end, what I got from them was a check totalling $1100. This however, did not include the $635 of excessive overdraft/maintenance fee/etc. bank charges that I'm STILL not through paying (I'm kind of in a situation now where I have to because that bank reported me to ChekSystems! Fortunately I was able to open another account somewhere else before it hit their computer or I wouldn't have a bank account at all...) And meanwhile, the bank didn't have too much to say either.

A few people suggested that's just what hotels do with debit cards, which is true, but never in amounts that high. For a while I was thinking it might have been because my original plan was to stay for 14 nights, but that was actually among 2 separate reservations, with no weekend rates in between, so that couldn't have been it. And I did a little investigating after that incident and it looks like for the most part, people are very good about telling you about holds. For example, the Horizon in Stateline has a little sign on the front counter that says "Please see a sales associate if paying with a debit/ATM card." When I checked that out, they told me their policy is a hold only equal to one night, released upon checkout with a 2-3 day time to credit back to your account. Pretty much the norm. And it clearly states on the Peppermill's website that a 10 day hold may be placed when paying by debit/ATM card, but they don't say how much.

I'm not sure what goes down as far as using an actual credit card vs. a debit/ATM card but if I were you, make the reservation normally but insist on paying cash when you get there. My experience was that they debit the first night's room + tax to your account when making the reservation, which is what they did. I didn't get raked until I actually checked in! Then, after you check in, they'll credit that first night + tax back to your account. I never actually saw how long it took to post back, as that account was put "in the red" upon checking in. But if anything, in the few trips I've been on since then, nobody's had a problem with cash. I think they do the hold thing to be sure you can pay for your stay (all they had to do was tell me!), and so far I've only been denied long distance phone privileges and pay per view movies by paying with cash only.

You could of course also book on Expedia or another travel site but as we all know you can't really utilize your comps that way and the rooms are usually more expensive. Boulder Station in Vegas deducted a $4.95 energy charge when I was out there last year, after purchasing through Expedia where everything was said and done, but it got credited back after they realized it had already been paid for. I guess in the long run you really can't trust anyone with these electronic transactions. But it was definitely an eye opener...fortunately, I was able to get my snowboard back and even came out a little ahead when I went back in April.
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