Businesses that auto charge your card

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MemberSince99
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Businesses that auto charge your card

Postby MemberSince99 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:57 am

I've been reading stories of businesses that auto charge your card, and even if you cancel they still continue charging you hoping you won't notice. If you make it so they can't do that, they simply turn it to some vulture agency who jacks it to many times what the original thief felt they had the right to demand from you and puts it on your credit ruining that.

To me this seems like a form of extortion, but in our system I can see it would be VERY easy to do. I've stayed away from this kind of thing for precisely this reason. Recently I read that gyms are notorious for doing this, but I'd also read about Sirius XM, which is the only auto pay thing I have because they insist on it, no doubt so they can do something like the above if you ever try to cancel your service.

My question is why is it so easy for criminals to rape you in our system and so difficult for you to do anything about it? Something like you cancel and them not trying to extort/rape you should be a no-brainer. But from what I read it seems to come down to you paying whatever ransom they demand and begging them not to rape you further through our just legal system (HA).

Sure you can cancel your card and prevent their charges - they'll just sic a vulture on you for 10k, to pay for that 9.99 a month gym membership and destroy your credit, no problem!

Honestly I was quite concerned when I set up that Sirius XM I've heard stories they will never let people out as well it's like a cult - once you sign up you're in for life. Any truth to these things? Any recourse in this legal system that seems to favor smart and evil people and screws us over?


Midori
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Postby Midori » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:42 am

We bought some new vehicles that came with a 6-month trial period of XM, which we allowed to lapse. There were several calls from customer service urging us to re-up, but they stopped when I told them that yes, their deals were wonderful, and it was very sweet of them to "work with us" with their reduced rates, but *cue the embarrassed, self-conscious voice* we just couldn't afford it in our budget right now with the economy the way it is, you know... :o)

XM kept sending us fliers with good rates to lure us back, and after a while, DH picked up a 6-month subscription for my birthday (with an eye to some road trips as well). He specified to customer service, "I just want the 6-month advertised rate; I don't want it to auto-renew." And he was assured, oh, no, it wouldn't auto-renew. Not at all.

At some point during that 6-months, I had a frazzly day and had no clue where I put a particular credit card after use. It happened to be the same card that he had used for the XM subscription. After looking for it for a few hours, I called to report it lost, and never actually spoke to a CSR... just an automated "press a number if your card has been lost or stolen..." "verify these last few purchases..." "your card has been closed. A new one will be sent to you." I found my old card a day or two later on my dresser; the replacement card arrived; I didn't think anything else of it.

At the end of the 6 months, we get a nasty letter from XM saying, "Hey, you deadbeats! That credit card number you gave us doesn't work! No XM for you if you don't give us a good cc number!" And he got a couple of phone calls from customer service. I want to say he was around for the third one, and, among some other issues he had with them (which I can't remember), he demanded to know why he was being charged when he was specifically promised that he wouldn't be. He was escalated to a supervisor, and the call was mysteriously dropped during the transfer. XM never called back...

Wait a year or so, and XM started sending us some tentative fliers again. Another advertised special. This time, I'm the one who re-ups for a fresh 6 months with his birthday (and some roadtrips) in mind. I read the flier, and it distinctly says, "We will automatically bill you at the end of the promotional period."

Skip a month or two, and the credit card company that I used for the subscription abruptly sends us a new card in the mail, saying there had been some suspicious activity. After a three-day weekend, my old card abruptly stops working, so I call customer service. What do you know, there really was suspicious activity, and they couldn't tell me anything about it. (Unlike, say, Chase, which makes up pretend suspicious activity to cover when they misinterpret "suspicious activity".) :oP So the card got switched over. We'll see in a month or two what happens when XM finds out when their automatic billing doesn't go through...

Since satellite radio is a prepaid service (I pay for the 6 months I'm about to use), I don't see any problems about getting out if they don't have a means to bill you. Otherwise, you can just be direct and say, "I'm done; cancel my subscription" instead of hemming and hawing and being polite and making up excuses about how you'd love it, but it's just not in the budget...

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Postby whit » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:08 am

wonder where they're incorporated and the state laws, I'm sure sooner or later they'll piss off the wrong consumer

I think even techcrunch former now again writer michael arrington of uncrunched had similar experience but it was with a Chase credit card that kept letting the merchant charge, not sure if he even went and changed the number, might have, but because the merchant either had an electronic agreement or something of that nature..he blogged about it

it's sad for companies who rely on this to get their business and even more sad for the poor fellow who has to work there making the phone calls (I'm optimistic and I don't believe anyone would joyously do that line of work)

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:19 pm

I had the same free-trial romance with XM when I bought my last car. I never got any phone calls, but I did consider taking them up on one of their mailer offers. Sounds like it was a good thing I didn't.

Member - why are you talking about rape so much today?
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cashback
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Postby cashback » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:40 pm

You do not have to auto pay Sirius. I am positive of this.

But yes a lot of companies practice this. Sign you up for a free trial and make it hard to cancel. I watched a show on Enzyte (Remember happy Bob?) the male enhancement pills. They did the free trial and when people called to cancel they said they need a form from their doctor to cancel. Obviously a lot of people were too embarrassed to do this, and the ones that did had even more hoops to jump through. In the end they were shut down though, and bought out by a more reputable company.
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Postby MemberSince99 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:38 pm

djrez4 wrote:I had the same free-trial romance with XM when I bought my last car. I never got any phone calls, but I did consider taking them up on one of their mailer offers. Sounds like it was a good thing I didn't.

Member - why are you talking about rape so much today?


Good question. Maybe it's the theme of feeling economically violated when you've done nothing wrong, but some company skirts the law to try to screw you and acts like they are actually in the right and uses the system to try to make it right. That's what that feels like to me. Not that I've ever actually been raped but economically speaking of course.

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:40 pm

If I may, it minimizes rape to use the term euphemistically. Perhaps substitute "robbed."
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whit
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Postby whit » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:44 pm

or jacked, if you want to stick to some slang



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