Service of Automatic Payment Relationships

November 8th, 2012

Categories: Automatic Payments, Impatience

computersuckingmoney

I couldn’t get on my website or blog during Hurricane Sandy so I called the company I pay for my domain name–jmbyington.com–to find out if the weather was causing the glitch.

payment-dueI learned that I was nine days late in paying them.

“Impossible,” said I. “For over five years you have taken $X a month from my credit card. This never happened before!” The customer service person’s answer was: “We don’t recommend that anybody pays that way.”

That was the first I’d heard this. On Tuesday, I paid for the next year.

If sucking money monthly from a credit card doesn’t work, why:

1) Do they allow this form of payment?

2) Did it stop working all of a sudden after 60 months and

3) Weren’t they curious to find out why I left them after all this time? The man said they’d sent me an email. [My fault: It went to an account I never use.]

nailincoffin1This experience represented just one more nail in the coffin for automatic payment relationships for me. No way!

When a blue slip of paper with a headline “Free Automatic Payment Service” landed on my desk after I opened the invoice from my mortgage bank, it went directly into the trash.

A friend told me he had similar problems with his cable TV/Internet access company that gave him credit card grief and that he’s heard of nightmares with another domain-selling company. It immediately sends a debt collector after you under similar circumstances.

Do you use automatic payment systems for services or supplies?

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6 Responses to “Service of Automatic Payment Relationships”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    I invested into automatic payment with a utility because of regular forgetting to pay that particular bill. This has gone on for several years with no incident. As it is not an on line business, it would be subject to penalties which may not yet apply to more ephemeral enterprises.

    There are punitive measures which apply to debt collectors under certain circumstances. The person harrassed by his cable TV outfit might do well to investigate and then threaten to pursue. It might bring a swift end to unwarranted annoyance.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    For five years I had no problem either. With something like a utility, should they try such shenanigans the screech would echo around the community. My guess: They wouldn’t try it.

    As for the other domain company, my friend was explaining the situation to me in an elevator and was cut short at the end of the ride so I did not get the details, but he said–he’s a computer tech whiz and guru–that he warns clients away from this company and that the company, that jumps to the extreme vengeance in just a few days, has no proof to send in the dogs. He said if you ignore the debt collector, he/she goes away. My problem with that approach is that I’d hate to see my credit record go down the sink because of something like this.

  3. Buck Buchanan Said:

    Largely because I have felt I had no other choice, I have several times given my credit card number to a supplier that I could not do without. Afterwards, with only one exception, when I have wanted to terminate the relationship, I’ve found the only way I could was to report my credit card as “lost” or “stolen” to my accommodating card issuer, which then issued me a new card with a different number.

    The supplier, when he tries to collect his fee, or whatever, thus is told by the card issuer, “Account closed.” He may bluster and fluster a bit and send emails, but when he finds that he can’t debit a card, there is nothing he can do about it.

    A practical tip: If you wish to adopt this method of protecting yourself from “automatic” debits to your credit card, bunch all your vender automatic debit dates into the same month of the year. This way you only have to “lose” your credit card once a year.

    A warning: Never, I mean never, let any supplier debit your checking account. It’s much harder to close and open a checking account than it is to “lose” a credit card.

    A last word: It’s too bad we have to go to such lengths to protect ourselves against the rapacious way “big business” tries to gouge the consumer these days when the automated debit is seemingly such a convenient and cost-saving device, but this is the world in which we live. If you don’t believe me, just think about how little in taxes the “fat cats” pay!

  4. JBS Said:

    I’ve had good luck with automatic payments. In fact, almost all my bills are paid exactly that way … mostly because we used to travel a lot and I have never changed them. It “ain’t” broke, so why fix it.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Hi Buck,

    I don’t know if what I am about to write is accurate, but I have heard that if you change your credit cards too often, you get bad marks on your credit report.

    I am a control freak and don’t like to give the person who is creating the bills a way to draw whatever they determine is the right amount from any of my accounts. And what just happened to me with the holder of my domain–in spite of an agreed upon amount that never changed I still ran into a snag causing me potential big time grief–I am not a fan of this system.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JBS,

    I, too, had good luck for five years–60 months–and then I didn’t. I get the feeling that where you live your suppliers may be more buttoned up and serious than are mine. In any case, if it works, as you note, don’t do a thing to mess anything up!

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