Double charging, or being charged twice for the same transaction, is no longer a very common occurrence with debit cards. However it is something that is known to happen with the cards and most card providers have a policy for dealing with this.
A double charge can happen when a card is either swiped twice or, more commonly, when the card transaction is presented twice. It is in almost every case totally innocent and a mistake by the retailer. This used to be reasonably frequent but now with various computer programs designed to look for suspicious transactions a by product has been the virtual elimination of double transactions. They do happen at times still, and the card holder is still eligible to get their money back.
The first thing that should be done is to go to the shop that did the double charging and explain the situation. In most cases the shop will be willing to refund the money in cash. At times a shop may not have the records that are necessary to confirm this, and it is usually poor records that caused this problem in the first case.
There may also be a policy to refund through shop vouchers or through goods that are sold in the shop. This should be politely declined, and the manager should be asked for in these circumstances. Most shops will be willing to bend the policy in order so that they do not get in trouble with the debit card processors, who also process credit cards, as they are very important to most shops.
These double transactions can also be viewed as an unauthorised transaction, at least the second of the two transactions. This means that they can activate the zero liability guarantee which means that the card holder should be protected from unauthorised transactions.
Most debit cards have the zero liability guarantee, which is a policy that a person will not be charged for an unauthorised transaction on their debit card as long as they did not contribute to the transaction (by for example lending out the card) and that they tell the card provider in plenty of time. This means that a debit card holder should carefully read their bank statement every month. It is also a good idea to store a month’s bank statement so that it can be compared to the old bank statement in case there has been a transaction in the previous month.