freitasm: Yep. They hold the card, even if you have your hand extended to get it back.
What's this about? Will they hold the card if the terminal sends out a blinking message "HOLD CARD CALL POLICE"?
No conspiracy here. If you think about it what can often happen is the stripe is worn out and they have the "swiper" on their side. If they hand the card back straightway and they get a "read error", then they have to go through the hassle of getting it back and swiping again.