Have you received an extra ‘pending’ gas charge after filling up?

Some FOX 8 viewers report a hold of $175 after filling up at Exxon stations.
FILE - A motorist fuels a vehicle at an Exxon station Oct. 27, 2021, in Littleton, Colo. (AP...
FILE - A motorist fuels a vehicle at an Exxon station Oct. 27, 2021, in Littleton, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)(David Zalubowski | AP)
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 10:44 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Have you noticed an extra pending charge after filling up at the pump?

Some Exxon customers are noticing they’ve been charged a $175 hold on top of already high gas prices.

“All of a sudden I get another alert and it says Exxon and it says $175,” Debra Longstreet said. “I stopped what I was doing and my husband said ‘where are you going?’ I said ‘obviously, my card was used in one of those readers.’”

After only purchasing $70 worth of gas with her debit card, Longstreet started driving back to the Exxon station on Oak Harbor Boulevard in Eden Isles to try and figure out if her card was skimmed at the pump -- until she opened her banking app.

FILE- This April 25, 2017, file photo, shows an Exxon service station sign in Nashville, Tenn. ...
FILE- This April 25, 2017, file photo, shows an Exxon service station sign in Nashville, Tenn. Exxon Mobil Corp. on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022 reported fourth-quarter earnings of $8.87 billion. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)(Mark Humphrey | AP)

“She was just as shocked as I was,” Longstreet said. “She said ‘no, your card wasn’t scammed, but this is going to happen every time you use your card at the Exxon station.’”

Longstreet says the representative told her she wasn’t the first caller and it would take several business days to access the money again.

When she took her experience to social media, she found she wasn’t the only one seeing a pending $175 charge.

“Now I’m out $350 and nobody knows where it’s at,” Thomas Rieder said.

Rieder, a Capital One debit customer, purchasing the same amount of gas as Longstreet, used his card twice at the Exxon on Loyola Drive in Kenner because one pump wasn’t working. So, now he has double the hold.

“It matters but it doesn’t hurt me... where it would hurt somebody who does not enough money in the bank to do it,” Rieder said.

Rieder’s son-in-law also was hit with a hold from the same Exxon and canceled his card because he thought he was scammed. Now, he’s stuck waiting for a new debit card to come in the mail and was unable to pay an important bill.

We took our questions to financial expert James Spiro.

“The holds that we’re talking about are initiated by the gas station, but they’re driven, no pun intended, they’re driven by the lending institutions,” Spiro said.

The price is shown on the pump as a motorist fuels a vehicle at an Exxon station Wednesday,...
The price is shown on the pump as a motorist fuels a vehicle at an Exxon station Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Littleton, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)(David Zalubowski | AP)

These three people used their debit cards at the pump and bypassed entering their pin, which makes the purchase a credit transaction. But, as Spiro explains, it’s less certain for the bank than if you use a credit card with a set limit.

“The lending institution wants to make sure that it doesn’t get caught on the hook,“ Spiro said. “It really doesn’t know how much you’re trying to spend. It knows that you’ve gone beyond the normal pin system, so, there’s a question mark in the lending institution’s mind.”

While perfectly legal, this practice is putting a lot of people in a precarious financial situation.

“That’s just not right for the consumer,” Longstreet said. “There were no signs anywhere notifying you of this.”

“People are going in blind,” Rieder said. “They have no idea this is going to happen and it needs to be stopped.”

Exxon tells me that their debit holds usually clear in about two hours and that this credit hold is at the mercy of the bank.

Spiro says there are 15 states this is happening in. Only one has a requirement to notify the consumer.

He says he believes the high amount of the holds is due to the gas prices exploding and the banks wanting to give themselves extra cushion.

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