This is just an fyi about something I learned at work today. If you buy something online internationally, say, from Canada, your credit card automatically runs the exchange rate and converts the funds. If you then return the merchandise, or for whatever reason the charge is reversed, the reverse of the funds gets the current exchange rate applied to it, regardless of what the rate was when you made the original purchase.

For instance, say you bought a shirt for $30 Canadian. Your Visa company would do the conversion and take something like $28US out of your account. (I’m just making up the numbers.) Then let’s say you returned it a few days later, and they issue a refund, but the US dollar has fallen as compared to the Canadian one. So they refund you $30 Canadian just like they should, but you only get back $26 US because the exchange rate is different now. So the merchant received $30 Canadian and they sent back $30 Canadian; they don’t have any of your money. But you sent out $28 US and you end up being shorted a couple bucks on your refund. Bummer. It also sometimes works the other way, where you would end up getting $31US back, if the US dollar increased compared to the Canadian one. The exchange rate varies every day, and it’s also hard to calculate since Visa adds their own percentage to the exchange in order to skim their take off the top.

There’s really nothing you can do about this (other than not buying internationally), but there’s one thing you can ask the merchant for if the situation comes up. If it’s still recent enough, sometimes the original transaction can just be voided, rather than issuing a return. If the original transaction is voided it doesn’t have to go through the exchange again and the money essentially never leaves your account (although it will appear to your untrained muggle eye to have been taken and put back). Sometimes the merchant doesn’t have any control over that, but it’s worth asking.