Woman accidentally tipped cafe $7,732 and she can't get her money back

Swiss Francs. Everything about this is confusing. Especially since everyone insists they don’t tip in Europe.

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Not knowing the relevant EU laws, I wouldn’t hazard a guess, but in the US I don’t think this would meet the standard of Theft by Finding…

In the US of course you could get a charge-back. I know of a situation where a bank issued a charge-back for a $20K over-charge on a businesse’s phone bill. As to why they wouldn’t do that here, possibly too much time had elapsed or simply because it was her error. None of which makes the café owner not a crook, but legally I suspect the bank just decided it didn’t want to eat the loss.

This is part of why I always pay cash at restaurants and then make sure the waitperson picks up the tip in case the manager or owner is a a tip-thief. I also don’t electronically link accounts with large balances or credit limits to one’s I use for bills, gas, ect lest unscrupulous or incompetent people try to grift me and leave me begging the bank to take my side.

No, we tip. Mostly. There are some places where tipping someone would get you weird looks.

It’s just not considered a requirement. Except for the ladies (pretty much alway ladies) who sit in the toilets in German-speaking countries (maybe others). They expect a tip.

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Well, that’s different.

In this case, she meant to give a tip. She typed the figure into the machine and authorised it. She didn’t just leave a bunch of money lying around. She actually gave it to the cafe.

Looking at German language articles on this, it’s a tricky mess.

It appears the cafe is a franchise. That particular cafe went under. Legal responsibility if any for repaying the money lies with the franchisee as it is a separate business.

The owner of the overall business’s brother has however apparently stated that the business will repay the money. The owner is due to return from Turkey in the next few days (it’s not uncommon for people with ties to Turkey or Italy to go to visit there for several weeks or months).

We will have to see.

The owners of the business apparently want to clarify whether her story is true, which will mean dealing with the insolvency practitioner for the business that went into liquidation. They won’t be particularly interested in responding quickly.

As for the cafe owner being an arse for not paying it back. He may not have had the option. If his business was already in financial difficulties with insolvency on the horizon then paying her back might get him in all sorts of trouble.

If it actually is a credit card, not a debit card, the first thing I’d be inclined to do is NOT pay that credit card bill. I know that won’t solve things in the end, but I’d feel better negotiating from a position where the money is still in my pocket.

Ah, so that’s why she got to type in the amount, instead of it being done by the shop as is usually the case. I’d been wondering about that. Maybe that’s what had her confused, what with being used to only having to enter the pin code.

She should visit New Jersey. For that amount of money, she could easily cover the cost of an ice pack and a bandage.

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Shitty bank. You say, it was the wrong charge. Help me.

And yet when a bank accidentally credits someone’s bank account, the lucky recipient is mysteriously not allowed to keep it.


First of all, EU have different laws in every country. Secondly, that thing happened in Switzerland, which is not a EU country.

In any case: it’s not out of the question to receive a refund by your bank when you made a payment by error or when somebody stole your card. In this case, I think a refund would have been due. I have never been presented a card reader and had to enter the amount of tip. It has always been to enter my pin.

We mechanically do what we are used to, which is why I always lose my card in Belgian cash machines, because, as opposed to German ones, they don’t automatically give it back once you retrieved the money. You have to press a button and that is not part of my routine.

Really? I don’t remember that about Belgian cash machines. But it’s been years since I went there. I mostly remember having a hard time finding a machine that would accept the limitative card I had back then.

It may vary from bank to bank. Mine is BNP/Paribas. You get your money, then you have to wait a few seconds until a red button appears on screen. You press it and there’s your card. Usually, the seconds before the red button appears are the fatal ones in which I put away my money and leave.

Come to think of it, that sounds even weirder to me now that I remember that on (most) French ATMs, you have to retrieve your card before you can get the money.

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Exactly. That’s how they work here in Germany. Therefore, you are prone to errors when you travel between both countries like I do.

Ah, yeah, I remember it was the same when I went to Saarbrücken. At some point I should ask some of my Belgian friends if they know of a reason for the thing in Belgium.

Another thing about Switzerland is that cafés and restaurants are, I believe, legally required to add tips to the bill, so she probably shouldn’t even have been asked for a tip at all.

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I think I know the reason. Belgium was one of the first countries in Europe to push customers to do all their bank operations at the cash machine. I remember my old mother being pressed to use the cash machine and the bank clerk refusing her personal service. That was 15 years ago. Here in Germany, the cash machines are still mainly for deposing or retrieving money, not managing your account.

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