£6,500 for a meal in Chiswick?

Shock on credit car bill after eating out a local restaurant

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A local resident enjoyed a pleasant meal at a local restaurant but when his credit card bill arrived he couldn't be blamed for thinking that he didn't get value for money.

Tim Peregrine related his experience in High Road eatery Tintos on the Chiswickw4.com forum stating, "Last Friday, taking advice from other forum users, we went to Tinto and had a really lovely meal. We paid by credit card and signed the credit slip etc.

"On Sunday, we got a call from the authorisations dept of our card provider who wanted to verify an odd transaction for not only the cost of our meal but also an additional £480.00. "

Denying making as such payment, his card was temporarily blocked. When he called his credit card company to check what was happening, he was informed that Tintos had tried to take a staggering £6,500 from his card.

Daniel Pelaez, manager of Tinto explained, " What happened was Tinto produced a transaction slip for £30. The customer kindly added £3 tip, so Tinto needed to amend the transaction to £33 but in error keyed in the Reference No. 651180. "

Tinto's is offering a free bottle of house wine when you book a table for four and mention that you have read their explanation. Their number is 020 8995 2424.

The manager has since spoken to Tim and Rachel and offered apologies with a free meal.

While this case appears to have been an innocent mistake, fraudulent transactions are not uncommon in and around Chiswick High Road. 

A local lawyer had a nasty experience with a local shop when she discovered they had taken an extra payment from her credit card without her permission.   She immediately telephoned to enquire why they had done this only to be told that she had been undercharged for the boots she had bought and they had taken the extra money owed to them from her card.   When she demanded that they refund the extra money, the shop assistant refused and demanded that she return the boots immediately!    

The credit card company involved was able to ascertain that the shop was able to take the second payment by making it look as if it were a telephone sale and therefore hadn't needed a signature.   It was only by numerous visits and threatening to contact trading standards and taking legal action that her money was eventually refunded.

In both cases the victims have discovered that this is not a terribly uncommon practice by individuals who breed annoyance and mistrust.

Chiswick Police have their work cut out in combatting local credit card fraud.   Below are some credit card crime safety measures provided by both John Collis, local crime prevention officer and residents:

  • Try not to let cards out of your site when making a transaction.
  • Don't discard receipts from card transactions.   If possible shred any documents that contain information relating to your financial affairs.
  • Check statements carefully for any unfamiliar transactions and if in doubt double check with your bank / card provider
  • Inform your bank or issuer immediately if your card is lost or stolen.
  • Never write down your pin number or disclose it to anyone. (Your bank or Police will never ask for the Pin number).
  • If you are not giving a tip when signing a card slip in a bar / restaurant always make sure that you draw a line through that section – it's safer to tip in cash  

The relatively new ‘Chip and Pin' system will hopefully provide effective in the fight against credit card fraud.    A chip and pin card has a microchip embedded in the card that stores information about your account more securely than the magnetic strip in use at the moment.   It also requires you to enter your pin number into a card reader at the point of sale when making transactions.  

It is hoped that by the end of this year 90% of cardholders will have the chip and pin card and that the majority of card transactions will be made using the chip and pin card.

June 22, 2004