DEAR ABBY: A few weeks ago, my family and I went to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch. Afterward, I glanced at the check, gave my credit card to the server, signed the receipt and left.
That night I looked at the receipt before filing it away and noticed that the first item listed was for a beer that we hadn't ordered. It was not my check! My daughter suggested that I look at my credit card, and the card wasn't mine, either.
I immediately phoned the credit card company and was told my card had been used for 10 other purchases. They canceled it immediately and said a new card was on the way. In the meantime, my daughter phoned every hotel in the area and eventually located the person who had my card. He was dumbfounded when he looked at the card in his possession and realized it wasn't his.
Please remind your readers that they need to keep an eye on their credit cards and advise employers to do a better job of training their employees. I failed to look at my card in the restaurant when it was returned to me. Not one vendor from whom a purchase was made examined the name on the card and the signature. I admit I made an error, but it was compounded by a multitude of individuals along the way. -- ALFRED ON MAUI
DEAR ALFRED: Thank you for the reminder about how important it is to take a moment to check to ensure that the credit card you are handed back is your own. It is also wise to carefully review the restaurant tab when it arrives because mistakes can happen -- as I have learned from personal experience.
One day, my husband and I were having a light brunch at a neighborhood restaurant. When our bill came -- it was for $22.30 -- my husband looked at it as he always does. When the credit card receipt was handed to him for his signature, he looked at it, exclaimed, "This is the most expensive brunch we've ever had!" and passed it to me. We had been charged $2,230. When he showed the receipt to the owner, the man immediately went to the cashier -- who informed him that a key had "stuck" when she tried to push it.
Many establishments encourage their servers to address customers by name when they bring a check to the table. Not only is it friendlier, it can also avert a mix-up. However, a restaurant should not be blamed entirely for a screw-up like this one because the ultimate responsibility lies with the person being handed the credit card. Because many of them look alike, the better part of wisdom is to check to ensure it is your own before putting it away.