In this Small Claims Court arbitration case, a private party at a West Village bar ended with a sour aftertaste when the host’s credit card was not honored.
The party was put on by a young man that I here will call “Big Spender”.
A Wall Street trader, Big Spender was congratulating himself for his latest coup; he said that he had made several million dollars in a recent stock transaction.
He decided to celebrate by inviting about 50 of his “best friends” to a big party at Bud’s Bar, a small and funky joint owned by his pal “Bud”, the plaintiff in the case.
Bud testified that Big Spender and his guests stayed in the back room of his bar for about four hours on a Saturday night in December.
They had a great time. Big Spender hired a small band, and supplied his party guests with lots of bar food.
Alcohol flowed freely from the Ciroc and Hennessey that Big Spender ordered, not counting the champagnes, cognacs and other drinks that he let his guests put on his tab.
When Big Spender first offered to pay Bud with a credit card (for the sum of $2,050 plus a $100 tip for Bud’s waitress), Bud got nervous.
He called Big Spender over and said that he would take his credit card only if he could take a photo of the credit card and also a photo of his driver’s license.
Big Spender readily agreed.
Bud then put the charge through the bar’s merchant services terminal, and got Cardco’s approval code number. That approval number was then printed onto the bill.
As the party continued, Bud got three more charges and put them through his approval code machine. All got approval codes.
The combined tab was in excess of $5,000.
The bad news came on the following Tuesday, when Bud got an email from Cardco stating that it was refusing credit on all four transactions.
Bud was then told by Cardco that they believed that Big Spender was engaged in “identity theft” and that the credit card he presented was stolen. Cardco refused to give Bud any more information about the transaction, citing Big Spender’s “privacy rights”.
To see my decision, click on the link below. Decision