Tag Archives: automatic renewals

For Quick Insights

Identity theft: In the past few months, the federal government has been running a nation-wide ad campaign on identity theft and on-line passwords. You’re way ahead of them in that we talked about it twice over the past year. Protecting yourself on line is huge, but if you missed it, go to yourmoneybook.com and you can search by topic to catch up on how to protect yourself.

Automatic renewals: Everybody from magazine subscriptions cell companies want access to your bank account. They market it as convenient when you can automatically renew or pay. But the downside is that few people remember the renewal and never look at the total charge or the breakdowns. Great for the company – really bad for you.

Tim Horton now has an ad campaign designed to get people to automatically re-load their gift cards through a bank account: ”Could I get one of these and one of those and get my friend here whatever he wants.” A pre-loaded gift card is like a credit card. Tim Horton, and everyone else in the small cash purchase industry, knows that you’re likely to spend way more money with a card, instead of cash!

With a pre-paid card, or credit card, McDonalds average purchase increases 47%, and vending machine purchase per person increases 178%. Small wonder these companies want you to use anything but cash!

Buying on payments alone: The majority of people purchase big ticket items such as vehicles or motorcycles purely on the payments. The is a new car dealer ad on the radio: If I can get you the same or lower payment than you have now, why wouldn’t you trade your vehicle for a new one? It’s very clever and appeals to most people. Sure, same payment but get a new vehicle? But the one you have may be a year from being paid in full, while the new one has you start over for six or seven years. Not a good idea. Never talk about payments alone. You have to start with the price or you can never comparison shop.

More Fraud Protection, A Big Party and Default Renewals

More Fraud Protection for Credit Cards

A heads up if you have a Credit Union MasterCard. Their fraud management system has been upgraded and strengthened to detect suspicious activity. The software identifies unusual spending patterns and will trigger an automated call from their fraud department.

If you get the call, it will only ask you to verify you date of birth and a list of some recent transactions it will supply. If you’re not home, the MasterCard will be blocked until you call them to verify the transactions.

You will never ever be asked for any financial information, passwords, the three digit security code, or anything else. If you’re asked for that – it’s an identity theft attempt. Hang up the phone and call the number on your credit card.

What’s your budget for a celebratory party?

If you’re having a big celebration with five of your friends, what would be your budget? Somehow I’m guessing it’s not $26,000 a person. But it was for six Boston Bruins players the week after they won the Stanley Cup. The six drove across the state line to the Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Connecticut to celebrate. To celebrate a lot…with a tab of $156,679, not including tips. True, it included one bottle of champagne for $100,000, but it was a 30 litre bottle. It was one of only six of these Ace of Spade Champagne bottles in the world! Quite the party…and quite the dent on these players’ credit card!

Default Renewals

In the last two weeks I’ve had three e mails from really mad people. All three had purchased a new vehicle. The depreciation they paid right off the bat should have made them mad, but that wasn’t actually it. The vehicle came with free satellite radio for a few months.

But in order to activate it, they had to supply their credit card information. When the free subscription ended, they found charges on their credit card where the satellite radio company had automatically started them on a pay subscription that they didn’t want, order, authorize, or request.

You have to know that every company that sells you any kind of subscription wants your credit card information. You think it’s because of convenience, but it’s way more than that. Lots of companies include a clause in your agreement that you give them the automatic right to renew your subscription when the term expires without notice.

That default renewal is perfectly legal. It shouldn’t be – but there’s not going to be any help from the government to outlaw this. So you have to ask up front, or read the fine print. It will outline how you can stop it, but you will have to follow that procedure. Most of the time you need to notify them 30 days before your term runs out or you’re in for another year, or another subscription term.

If that happens, your first call should be to their customer no-service to dispute the renewal. Your second call needs to be to your credit card issuer to dispute the charge.