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Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:04 pm
by rich126
A bit of a rant here but "auto renewal" is the number one reason why I rarely sign up for newsletters, reports, etc. on line. Companies try to spin it by saying "it is for your convenience". Of course it is 99% for the company to make money off people when they didn't realize it auto renews or make it a "treasure hunt" to figure out how to cancel.

Most recently I had a year (I thought!) subscription to Morningstar. A decent financial provider and I didn't mind paying for a year since I had used the service for free in the past and I realize w/o some money companies won't survive.

However after the auto renew experience, Morningstar is one company that won't ever see another penny from me. The exclamation point on this experience was that you CANNOT cancel auto renew on line. You must call in during their working hours (i.e., no weekends) to cancel. That just seems like another step to try and take people's money and make it even more inconvenient to cancel.

At least my hold time wasn't long, but I made sure to let the guy know that I thought it was exceptionally poor customer service to require you to call in to cancel an online service.

I'll go back to viewing free content or do without it entirely.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:06 pm
by Dottie57
Ihad a hard time cancelling morningstar too.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:08 pm
by Fletch
rich126 wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:04 pm A bit of a rant here but "auto renewal" is the number one reason why I rarely sign up for newsletters, reports, etc. on line. Companies try to spin it by saying "it is for your convenience". Of course it is 99% for the company to make money off people when they didn't realize it auto renews or make it a "treasure hunt" to figure out how to cancel.

Most recently I had a year (I thought!) subscription to Morningstar. A decent financial provider and I didn't mind paying for a year since I had used the service for free in the past and I realize w/o some money companies won't survive.

However after the auto renew experience, Morningstar is one company that won't ever see another penny from me. The exclamation point on this experience was that you CANNOT cancel auto renew on line. You must call in during their working hours (i.e., no weekends) to cancel. That just seems like another step to try and take people's money and make it even more inconvenient to cancel.

At least my hold time wasn't long, but I made sure to let the guy know that I thought it was exceptionally poor customer service to require you to call in to cancel an online service.

I'll go back to viewing free content or do without it entirely.
+1
My worst experience was with Sirus.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:11 pm
by GoldStar
I learned my lesson many years ago. Signed up for some magazine for something like $5 for the first year and then got something like a $150 credit card charge for FULL price for the next year. Who ever pays full cover price for a magazine? Called and canceled. When I subscribe to a magazine I now either write an old fashioned check or I use a credit card that is a temporary bonus-points card I know I won't have in a year. This is one of the few places I have left where I write a check.
I am an Adobe Photo Plan subscriber. There isn't much I can do about that in order to stay current on Lightroom and Photoshop. This is just the way software sales are headed. Perhaps media sales are heading in the same direction.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:15 pm
by CedarWaxWing
It took two years to cancel my home phone service... Century Link refused to accept a written cancellation notice, and when I called in they would shuffle me to off shore lines to people who "didn't understand" and who refused to acknowledge the request to cancel. Then after a 15 minute waste of my time would offer to connect me to "another person" ... and every time I was disconnected. This was their MO.. .happened over and over again.

I even tried to go into any office in person and had deliver a written notice of cancellation... and they simply would tell me there is no office that can act on a request to cancel service. (But they can accept your bill paying... or initiation of service request.)

Finally after two years they changed their system so a local call could get it cancelled... I presume there was finally some legal issues that arose from their shenanigans.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:16 pm
by Wakefield1
Classmates Online? Hard to cancel?
I would use a check or a temporary throw away credit card generated number such as Bank of America "Shopsafe"

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:22 pm
by neilpilot
Why when I call XMSirus "deal" every 5-6 months I always have them send an invoice, even when there was a small invoice fee. I simply don't want them to have my cc #.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:30 pm
by daheld
Every 6 weeks or so, DirecTV calls me and gives me this excited pitch about how they're going to give me a few months of premium movie channels for :sharebeer FREE :sharebeer --and all I have to do is call after that few months to cancel. I do not want this, I don't want movie channels, my bill is already expensive enough.

After a few times of telling them to never sign me up for anything I ever have to call back and cancel, I think they might have gotten the message. For the next few weeks anyway.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:38 pm
by likegarden
We just today cancelled an Auto-renewal at CVS Caremark. They auto-ordered pills months faster we could use them at $65 a month.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:48 pm
by DCChak
I prefer to call these Negative Option arrangements, as I find the pejorative connoation more appropriate. I also like to avoid them.

More on them below:
https://bluewatercredit.com/negative-op ... y-falling/
https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/b ... m-positive
https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files ... report.pdf

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:08 am
by rich126
Wakefield1 wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:16 pm Classmates Online? Hard to cancel?
I would use a check or a temporary throw away credit card generated number such as Bank of America "Shopsafe"
I didn't mention this in the original post but I guess this was my week to try and deal with a few subscriptions.

I had another one that kept sending me emails saying they were having trouble with my CC and were warning me about my service expiring. Then "magically" they ended up charging me for another year. I managed to turn off the auto-renew for next year but they wouldn't refund my money this renewal.

I'm going to call my credit card company and ask them (and if necessary forward them the emails I received saying the company couldn't renew my service) how did this company eventually get approval to renew my service ? I'm assuming the card expired or something like that. I may call later but I get so frustrated dealing with some of these annoyances. Pretty minor but I just get frustrated when companies pull these stunts and hate fighting the battles so I have to prepare myself for the annoyances.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:12 am
by brokendirtdart
Wakefield1 wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:16 pm
I would use a check or a temporary throw away credit card generated number such as Bank of America "Shopsafe"
I ended up having to use a temporary credit card # to "cancel" morningstar.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:25 am
by mpsz
+1 for using temporary credit cards. Bank of America and Capital one offer this, among others. There's also privacy.com

Some states were considering legislation for this, where if you were able to sign up online, you must be able to cancel online. There's still tricks the companies can pull, but not much (eg, the cancellation website could have "business hours"). Write your legislators.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:44 am
by RickBoglehead
Citi offers it on SOME cards. Not the Costco card though.

I use them in situations like this as well as unsophisticated websites if I have concerns. I bought some animal traps from a site that was very rudimentary.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:50 am
by criticalmass
rich126 wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:04 pm A bit of a rant here but "auto renewal" is the number one reason why I rarely sign up for newsletters, reports, etc. on line. Companies try to spin it by saying "it is for your convenience". Of course it is 99% for the company to make money off people when they didn't realize it auto renews or make it a "treasure hunt" to figure out how to cancel.

Most recently I had a year (I thought!) subscription to Morningstar. A decent financial provider and I didn't mind paying for a year since I had used the service for free in the past and I realize w/o some money companies won't survive.

However after the auto renew experience, Morningstar is one company that won't ever see another penny from me. The exclamation point on this experience was that you CANNOT cancel auto renew on line. You must call in during their working hours (i.e., no weekends) to cancel. That just seems like another step to try and take people's money and make it even more inconvenient to cancel.

At least my hold time wasn't long, but I made sure to let the guy know that I thought it was exceptionally poor customer service to require you to call in to cancel an online service.

I'll go back to viewing free content or do without it entirely.
Why give out your unrestricted real credit card number for a temporary service? Bank of America, Citibank, and more recently Capital One offer virtual numbers with expiration dates and/or limits that you set.

Sadly, Discover and American Express ended this feature.

I’ve never had an issue “canceling” renewal on something I didn’t want beyond the time/money limits of a virtual number, but always close the number as soon as practical.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:50 am
by Kenkat
rich126 wrote: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:08 am
Wakefield1 wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:16 pm Classmates Online? Hard to cancel?
I would use a check or a temporary throw away credit card generated number such as Bank of America "Shopsafe"
I didn't mention this in the original post but I guess this was my week to try and deal with a few subscriptions.

I had another one that kept sending me emails saying they were having trouble with my CC and were warning me about my service expiring. Then "magically" they ended up charging me for another year. I managed to turn off the auto-renew for next year but they wouldn't refund my money this renewal.

I'm going to call my credit card company and ask them (and if necessary forward them the emails I received saying the company couldn't renew my service) how did this company eventually get approval to renew my service ? I'm assuming the card expired or something like that. I may call later but I get so frustrated dealing with some of these annoyances. Pretty minor but I just get frustrated when companies pull these stunts and hate fighting the battles so I have to prepare myself for the annoyances.
There is a service provided by the credit card companies that billing companies can subscribe to that will send them updates to your card when it expires - i.e., the new expiration date is now xx/xx. Of course it is slanted as a convenience for consumers to avoid “breaks in service” but also a great way to keep that money rolling in.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:25 am
by criticalmass
Kenkat wrote: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:50 am
rich126 wrote: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:08 am
Wakefield1 wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:16 pm Classmates Online? Hard to cancel?
I would use a check or a temporary throw away credit card generated number such as Bank of America "Shopsafe"
I didn't mention this in the original post but I guess this was my week to try and deal with a few subscriptions.

I had another one that kept sending me emails saying they were having trouble with my CC and were warning me about my service expiring. Then "magically" they ended up charging me for another year. I managed to turn off the auto-renew for next year but they wouldn't refund my money this renewal.

I'm going to call my credit card company and ask them (and if necessary forward them the emails I received saying the company couldn't renew my service) how did this company eventually get approval to renew my service ? I'm assuming the card expired or something like that. I may call later but I get so frustrated dealing with some of these annoyances. Pretty minor but I just get frustrated when companies pull these stunts and hate fighting the battles so I have to prepare myself for the annoyances.
There is a service provided by the credit card companies that billing companies can subscribe to that will send them updates to your card when it expires - i.e., the new expiration date is now xx/xx. Of course it is slanted as a convenience for consumers to avoid “breaks in service” but also a great way to keep that money rolling in.
Transactions setup as “recurring” via the merchant account do not need expiration dates. The merchant doesn’t subscribe for expiration dates or receive them, they are not necessary for transactions processed as recurring.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:36 am
by uberdoc
Once a year, I report all my credit cards lost and get replacement cards. This way whoever is using my card for whatever purpose, gets blocked.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:20 am
by Kenkat
criticalmass wrote: Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:25 am
Kenkat wrote: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:50 am
rich126 wrote: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:08 am
Wakefield1 wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:16 pm Classmates Online? Hard to cancel?
I would use a check or a temporary throw away credit card generated number such as Bank of America "Shopsafe"
I didn't mention this in the original post but I guess this was my week to try and deal with a few subscriptions.

I had another one that kept sending me emails saying they were having trouble with my CC and were warning me about my service expiring. Then "magically" they ended up charging me for another year. I managed to turn off the auto-renew for next year but they wouldn't refund my money this renewal.

I'm going to call my credit card company and ask them (and if necessary forward them the emails I received saying the company couldn't renew my service) how did this company eventually get approval to renew my service ? I'm assuming the card expired or something like that. I may call later but I get so frustrated dealing with some of these annoyances. Pretty minor but I just get frustrated when companies pull these stunts and hate fighting the battles so I have to prepare myself for the annoyances.
There is a service provided by the credit card companies that billing companies can subscribe to that will send them updates to your card when it expires - i.e., the new expiration date is now xx/xx. Of course it is slanted as a convenience for consumers to avoid “breaks in service” but also a great way to keep that money rolling in.
Transactions setup as “recurring” via the merchant account do not need expiration dates. The merchant doesn’t subscribe for expiration dates or receive them, they are not necessary for transactions processed as recurring.
That is not correct:

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card ... y-1585.php

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:26 am
by 2pedals
CedarWaxWing wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:15 pm It took two years to cancel my home phone service... Century Link refused to accept a written cancellation notice, and when I called in they would shuffle me to off shore lines to people who "didn't understand" and who refused to acknowledge the request to cancel. Then after a 15 minute waste of my time would offer to connect me to "another person" ... and every time I was disconnected. This was their MO.. .happened over and over again.

I even tried to go into any office in person and had deliver a written notice of cancellation... and they simply would tell me there is no office that can act on a request to cancel service. (But they can accept your bill paying... or initiation of service request.)

Finally after two years they changed their system so a local call could get it cancelled... I presume there was finally some legal issues that arose from their shenanigans.
You could have sent them a certified USPS letter. This always works for me.
uberdoc wrote: Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:36 am Once a year, I report all my credit cards lost and get replacement cards. This way whoever is using my card for whatever purpose, gets blocked.
Great idea as well just cancel your CC as you feel the need, but once a year is too much hassle for me.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:37 am
by RickBoglehead
uberdoc wrote: Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:36 am Once a year, I report all my credit cards lost and get replacement cards. This way whoever is using my card for whatever purpose, gets blocked.

1) I have many autopays that I would need to redo.

2) Cancelling annually simply raises everyone's costs.

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:52 am
by Turbo29
Fletch wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:08 pm
rich126 wrote: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:04 pm A bit of a rant here but "auto renewal" is the number one reason why I rarely sign up for newsletters, reports, etc. on line. Companies try to spin it by saying "it is for your convenience". Of course it is 99% for the company to make money off people when they didn't realize it auto renews or make it a "treasure hunt" to figure out how to cancel.

Most recently I had a year (I thought!) subscription to Morningstar. A decent financial provider and I didn't mind paying for a year since I had used the service for free in the past and I realize w/o some money companies won't survive.

However after the auto renew experience, Morningstar is one company that won't ever see another penny from me. The exclamation point on this experience was that you CANNOT cancel auto renew on line. You must call in during their working hours (i.e., no weekends) to cancel. That just seems like another step to try and take people's money and make it even more inconvenient to cancel.

At least my hold time wasn't long, but I made sure to let the guy know that I thought it was exceptionally poor customer service to require you to call in to cancel an online service.

I'll go back to viewing free content or do without it entirely.
+1
My worst experience was with Sirus.
Yep, when I read the post about Morningstar the first thing that popped into my minds was, "If you think that's bad you should try cancelling Sirius."

Re: Auto Renewals

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:06 pm
by LadyGeek
This thread has run its course and is locked (rant, derailed in several directions). See: Personal Consumer Issues
Note that topics must be directly connected to your (or your friend's or family's) life as a consumer. General comments or complaints about these topics will be locked or removed.

Note that this subforum has a much lower threshold for locking or removing posts than the financial and investing subforums. In general, controversial, offensive, pointless, divisive or mean-spirited posts or topics may be locked, edited or deleted (with or without notice) at the discretion of the moderating staff even if they do not otherwise violate forum policies.
Also see: A reminder that non-investing general comment threads are OT