Breaking up is hard to do for subscribers
It's easy to see why subscription-based companies love the automatic renewal. But many consumers hate it.
This post comes from Bob Sullivan at partner site Credit.com.
The biggest problem with auto-renewal is the likelihood that you will end up paying for something you don't want because you forget about it. That's even more true when renewal charges are rare, such as annual bills. One good way to avoid that -- use a separate, rarely-used credit card for these kinds of business deals. That way, the renewal charges are less likely to get lost in a sea of other charges.
Any time a company surprises a consumer with a charge, that's wrong. Call and fight it. Complain to your attorney general. Complaining is like voting, I often say. If no one does it, the bad practices go on forever. Even if you lose the battle, you will win the war by complaining. Also, know your rights if someone alleges you owe a debt that you dispute.
When you call to complain, say you plan to cancel and get to what's called the "customer retention department." Agents there have special powers to make deals that front-line agents do not. Often, you can get a company to waive late fees or other unfair charges by agreeing to renew at a bargain rate, which can be a happy ending for everyone.
Never use a debit card for subscriptions that might auto-renew. Consumer rights to dispute credit charges are stronger than debit rights -- for starters, with a credit charge, you simply dispute and don’t pay. With a debit charge, you have to fight to get back money that’s been taken from your account.
Use a prepaid card and then when try to auto renew it won’t work.
When this happened to me I emailed them and told them they had 30 minutes to take the charge off my account or I would contact the state attorney general. Since the charge was still there I filed a fraud complaint with the attorney general. I also immediately contacted the credit card company and told them it was a fraudulent charge and demanded that they remove it immediately, which they did.
Folks need to complain to their credit card companies, if they get enough complaints they will not approve any transactions to the offending vendor because it costs them too much to investigate and deal with the complaints.
You may see your contacting the attorney general or other agency as one complaint, but if the complaints start adding up for the same thing they do notice.
Just had the same issue with Sirius - not only charged our account but upped the service from "basic" to their best - which was roughly $100 more than we'd been paying. Several long winded phone calls later, finally got them to reimburse our account! Now, after several phone calls and mailings, they gave us 5 months at $25.00 - and we paid by check - no more credit card dealings with them!!
Once these folks who use auto-renew have your payment,you may as well kiss it goodbye.
You'll need an exponential amount in lawyer fees to get it back.
The first time I ever saw auto-renew some years ago when complaints about it were sporadic,I looked until I found the appropriate info and killed it.
If I see auto-renew on something I'm considering,I first make sure how to kill it BEFORE I sign up.
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