I canceled my order from Sam’s Club but they took my money anyway

Sam’s Club withdraws $833.63 from Louise Bartholomew’s bank account even though she’s canceled an order for a mahogany wood chair. What’s taking them so long to refund the money?

Question

I recently ordered a mahogany wood chair from Samsclub.com. A few days later, I canceled it, but Sam’s Club still withdrew $833.63 from my bank account.

I have been running around in circles trying to get my money returned with no luck. I do not know who to contact at Sam’s Club.

When I call, I’m subjected to a 45-minute “hold” and I get more irate every time I do this. They tell me they are “working on it” or they will “contact me soon.” Then I get no call back and another email that says they are still “working on it.” Help! — Louise Bartholomew, Joplin, Mo.

Answer

Sam’s Club should have never taken the money if you canceled the order before they withdrew the money. If you let the company know that it took money it shouldn’t have, Sam’s should have returned it immediately.

I reviewed your transaction. It appears Sam’s made an automated withdrawal from your bank account via Automated Clearing House (ACH), an electronic network for financial transactions. In my own experience as a consumer, ACH is more commonly used for direct deposits. It normally requires that you explicitly give a merchant access to your checking account.

I love ACH when the money is coming my way, but I’m an ACH skeptic when it’s the other way around. If a company has the ability to pull money out of your account, there’s potential for mischief. Normally, customers grant access for monthly bill payments, but not for purchases. That’s why ACH set off a few alarms with me. I recommend always using a credit card, which offers more protections than a bank withdrawal, for purchases such as your mahogany wood chair.

Related story:   Hey United, where's the refund you promised for our rental car?

I list the executive contacts at Sam’s on my website.

Sam’s Club refund policy

Sam’s refund policy doesn’t offer an explicit timeline for refunds. But I think it’s reasonable to expect that if your product never shipped, your refund would be lightning-fast. The only excuse I can think of is that your purchase took place during the busy holiday season. Yours was one of millions of similar purchases, and like my daddy used to say, you can’t win ’em all.

I contacted Sam’s on your behalf. A representative promptly contacted you and promised you would receive a check in the mail early the following week. He also gave you his direct phone line and a case number, in the event your the refund didn’t happen as promised. And finally, as a “token of appreciation” for your business, Sam’s sent you a $100 gift card, which exceeded your expectations, and mine.

Should Sam's Club have withdrawn $833.63 from Louise Bartholomew bank account?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.