The answer to this question depends on the definition of "post."
Under various rules and legal interpretations, a merchant is not supposed to submit a transaction unless it represents a valid purchase for goods/services. Processing the transaction before goods/services are delivered is not allowed unless the transaction is properly identified as an advanced deposit (up to 100% of the purchase price). Failing that identification, the merchant should not post the transaction until and unless goods/services are rendered which can be up to the expiration date of the card used in the transaction.
From the time of delivery of goods/services, under NACHA rules there is no restriction on when the transaction must post. Under Visa and MasterCard rules, the merchant has 5 days to post the transaction into Interchange unless there is a legal obligation to hold the draft. In no event should the submission be delayed more than 30 days.
CAWorkingGirl - MasterCard changed the delivery timeframe requirements for Merchandise Not Received to 540 days about 4 years ago. Visa has no such restriction for Non-Receipt of Merchandise. There is a caveat that your example sidesteps and that is the expiration date on the card. Regardless of the validity of the transaction when the consumer engaged, once the card is expired, it's expired and no transaction that was created with the expired card is valid past the expiration date (except for dangling authorizations that are still validly outstanding when the card expires). Otherwise, the merchant must complete a new transaction receipt with the newly issued card. Most banks have 2-year expiration thresholds. If the card was valid for more than 2 years, then the bank deserves the headache it got.
My opinions do not necessarily reflect those of all the voices in my head.