How Someone Accidentally Paid Over $7,000 For Coffee

Traveling can be a culturally enriching, educational, and all around rewarding experience. Getting to meet people from different parts of the world, learn about their customs, and, of course, eat all the delicious local food are some of the best parts of visiting different places. Yet, being in a foreign place, especially one where you don't speak the language, can also be disorientating and a little confusing.

That's how Olesja Schemjakowa, a Russian woman who was traveling with her son in Switzerland, felt when she visited the New Point cafe near Zurich. Tipping culture in particular can be a very tricky aspect of eating out in other locales, so after enjoying a chocolate cake and a cup of coffee, she was understandably already a little unclear on what was expected of her. She paid with a credit card, and when prompted by the cafe's electronic register to add a number, she typed in what she thought it needed from her to complete the transaction: her credit card pin number. However, the register wasn't prompting her for her pin number. It was asking her how much she would like to tip. Unfortunately, Schemjakowa's pin number was 7686, meaning she had just left a 32,000% gratuity on what was roughly a $23 bill, according to Vice.

The $7,000 accidental charge was never refunded

Olesja Schemjakowa didn't realize her mistake until she received her credit card bill for the month and realized the cafe had charged her $7,732. Faced with the unfortunate fact that she was now in the hole almost $8,000 for a cake and a cup of coffee — not to mention that now everyone in the world knew her pin number — she was understandably very upset. Schemjakowa tried calling her bank to reverse the charges, but they refused because the charges, although accidental, were not actually fraudulent, according to Vice. When she contacted the Swiss police and got the same response. Because no actual crime had taken place, there was nothing anyone could really do about it.

She then contacted Cengiz Gökduman, the owner of the New Point cafe, hoping he would be reasonable about the mix-up. At first, he seemed to be compassionate, promising to refund her the full $7,732. However, weeks went by, and no refund ever appeared in her account. Instead, Gökduman filed for bankruptcy, closed the cafe, and cut off all contact with Schemjakowa, with the seven-plus grand still in his pocket. "I just can't understand how the cafe owner can just keep the money, and I cannot do anything about it. That's just not fair!" Schemjakowa told the Swiss newspaper Blick. "I've been told there may still be a one percent chance that I'll see my money back" (via Business Insider).