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Money Order from Walmart is not a Bargain

I recently attempted to purchase money orders at Walmart for $1050 dollars. Walmart attempted to do the whole amount of $1050 first. It failed because my bank does not authorize a one-time charge like that, so the woman then attempted to do it in halves: $525 and $525. The first $525 was accepted, but the second was not, so the woman said she terminated the transaction. I went about my business and a couple days later received a charge of $525 in my account. It says member (Walmart) received goods, but was not charged. I've been trying to work with my bank and Walmart, but I am getting the runaround.

What is a Regulation E and should I be authorized a provisional credit? Please help; I need to pay my bills and take care of my family, but this is hindering my ability to do so.

Assuming you attempted to purchase the money orders using your bank debit card, it seems that Walmart informed the bank that it issued the $525 money order, and the bank charged your account. It is very hard to prove that you did not receive the money order, but you should try to challenge Walmart's claim that you received the money order. The transaction should have an accounting trail leading back to a money order transaction at the store, and that transaction should be linked to a specific money order number. If that money order is still in the store's inventory, the store should issue you a refund.

You can pursue this through your bank, using a Regulation E error claim. Tell your bank that you didn't receive the money order in question, and put your claim in writing. Your bank will then have to investigate your claim. If it can't resolve it within ten business days, it will provide you provisional credit. It has to complete its investigation within ninety days.

This can be a very difficult job to document what happened one way or the other. Walmart has a sound system of controls that should help to resolve the question. If the bank reports the information that it received documents that you received the money order, the bank will reverse any provisional credit it gave you. If that is the outcome, you would have to deal with Walmart directly. If you get to that point, you should consider asking Walmart to review its records, or have the money order bank review its records to see if the money order in question was cashed. If it was, ask to see a copy of the front and back. That may give you the proof you need that you didn't receive the check in the first place. Finally, if the money order has not been paid, ask Walmart if it can stop payment on it and refund your purchase price.

Published on 1/22/09