They almost ended up being the most expensive couple of beers ever.
In 2010, while serving as a U.S Army reservist in Afghanistan, John McDevitt took his leave in Greece. McDevitt told ABC News he ordered two beers in an Athens bar, the Palia Plaka. When he tried to leave, the bar’s staff told him that he owed them $788.
McDevitt said he paid the bill with his Visa (NYSE:V) debit card because he was in another country and feared arrest.
“I’m in Athens, Greece. I don’t want to go to jail,” McDevitt told ABC News, which was unable to contact the bar.
A few weeks later, the 52-year-old McDevitt checked his debit card account over the Internet and discovered six charges totaling $25,243.71. The charges were made on three days in November in different amounts from $2,058.66 to $6,780.66, ABC News noted.
McDevitt said he immediately contacted Bank of America, which initially credited his account for the charges. However, the bank then reversed itself, informing McDevitt that it had confirmed the charges with the merchants involved. According to ABC News, Bank of America said it had obtained “signed sales drafts from the merchant reflecting your signature and card imprint.”
McDevitt disputed this, claiming the signature on the receipts wasn’t his. Frustrated by the bank’s decision, McDevitt launched a protest outside a Bank of America branch.
Bank of America and Visa originally declined to comment on McDevitt’s case. However, when McDevitt’s story began to circulate in the press last week, Bank of America suddenly experienced a change of heart. The Consumerist reported that, last week, the bank reached out to McDevitt and informed him that it would reverse the charges after all.