Burned by automatic renewals - Mothering Forums
Frugality & Finances > Burned by automatic renewals
AnkaJones's Avatar AnkaJones 03:42 PM 09-25-2011

This is more of a vent than anything else. I guess I'm glad I decided to start budgeting for October after reading all of you guys' motivational posts, because I realized I'm paying over 100 dollars a month in automatic renewals that I don't think I signed up for!  Like, I signed up for a 1 month membership on Sittercity.com, and they've just been renewing it every month.  I'm sure there was some small print somewhere that said they were going to do that, but I read pretty closely when I was signing up and didn't see it.   I wrote them an e-mail asking them to refund last month, but I doubt they will and I'll probably have to write all of this off as a rather expensive learning experience.

 

I just feel so taken, you know?  How do you ladies protect yourselves against this sort of thing?  Am I the only one who winds up in this situation?  Do you just read your statements carefully every month?

 

Anka



crunchy_mommy's Avatar crunchy_mommy 03:46 PM 09-25-2011
Yes, I check my statements carefully every month. Also, I make sure when I sign up for anything -- free trials or whatever -- to not provide my credit card. If you need to provide any kind of financial information (checking acct, credit card, paypal, etc.) that is a huge red flag that they are going to be charging you as soon as your trial is up. Another thing you can do is make sure to check off the 'one time payment only' box when you pay for things. Not all sites have that box but many do (otherwise, they save your info "for your convenience").
worthy's Avatar worthy 05:59 PM 09-25-2011

Yes, you have to be very diligent when signing up for anything with financial info.

 

But not all companies who do automatic renewal are out to screw you. I work for a company that has automatic renewal as the default, and the reason is simply that the software system we use cannot handle two options (auto vs. manual) and we had to pick the one that more of our customers said they wanted.  (To upgrade to a system that could do this would be cost-prohibitive for us).  There is a way to opt out of the automatic renewal and we provide that information at multiple stages of the signup process, but I handle customer service and get e-mails from people all the time who didn't read what they were signing up for.

 

I'm not able to give refunds, but I'm always ALWAYS happy to help people opt out of the automatic renewal process.  I don't want people feeling like they got screwed, and it's not our intent to do that at all, we simply don't have the resources for an easy-choose system.  I think the solution is just to be a hyper-aware consumer and be sure of what you're signing up for - and contact customer service by e-mail after signing up to ensure you are getting what you think you're getting.


lilyka's Avatar lilyka 07:27 PM 09-25-2011

Most free trials are "first month free"  You can get some good deals by taking advantage of them but you have to be organized and stay on top of it and canceling before they start charging. I doubt you will get any money back but it never hurts to ask.  It is better to call and talk to a customer service rep though.  Besides asking for a refund you will be able to be sure that you have canceled your subscription.

 

Otherwise i would just look at this as an expensive lesson and rather than focusing on how much you have been spending try to be positive.  Look at how much budgeting has saved you right out of the gate!  This is great news!


zebra15's Avatar zebra15 11:06 PM 09-25-2011

I check my bank account all.the.time.   Since I used to work in banking and have a finance degree I tend to be a bit ..ummm... anal about these things.

 

"Free Trials, One time Offers, Book Clubs, etc" can be good deals but if they ask for financial information you can bet they will be auto billing your account.  You need to be very organized and make sure you really want the program//service or you cancel way before the first billing cycle.


Ellien C's Avatar Ellien C 06:31 AM 09-26-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post

Most free trials are "first month free"  You can get some good deals by taking advantage of them but you have to be organized and stay on top of it and canceling before they start charging. I doubt you will get any money back but it never hurts to ask.  It is better to call and talk to a customer service rep though.  Besides asking for a refund you will be able to be sure that you have canceled your subscription.

 

Otherwise i would just look at this as an expensive lesson and rather than focusing on how much you have been spending try to be positive.  Look at how much budgeting has saved you right out of the gate!  This is great news!


This - not many things are really "free." They count on people either really liking the service, OR not remembering to cancel for a few months. I KNOW I'm not organized enough to cancel, so I just don't sign up for free trials. Very few things are actually recurring on my cc - and anything is something I definitely wanted long term. 

 

 


AnkaJones's Avatar AnkaJones 11:51 AM 09-26-2011

See, that's what gets me... these weren't free services.  I had to give them info because I was buying the service for 1 month or similar (with SitterCity it was particularly misleading, since the options were 1 month, 3 months, or 1 year you were signing up for)!

 

Anyway, time to get over it and move on.  The good news is, that's an easy $100 per month!!!  And I've learned something.

 

Thanks for all your support ladies.  I'm looking forward to being frugal with you all!

 

Anka


honeybunmom's Avatar honeybunmom 11:54 AM 09-26-2011

I simply refuse the free trial membership periods.  I know myself.  I won't cancel.  And I'll be charged.  Repeatedly.  And I'll pay it.  For months.  It's not a large enough amount to galvinize me to act in a more prompt fashion.  So, I've learned my lesson and now just.say.no.


crunchy_mommy's Avatar crunchy_mommy 12:02 PM 09-26-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnkaJones View Post

See, that's what gets me... these weren't free services.  I had to give them info because I was buying the service for 1 month or similar (with SitterCity it was particularly misleading, since the options were 1 month, 3 months, or 1 year you were signing up for)!


Yeah this sounds really weird... but I just checked their site & it does say in the Terms that they will continue to renew your subscription until you cancel. That's kind of crazy & unethical IMO, but I guess it is what it is. That can be the problem with automatic payments -- if you had received a bill, you could have just called to cancel, but since it went right to your credit card, you have to pay super careful attention. greensad.gif Not cool. Sorry that happened to you... but yay for saving $100/mo!
AnkaJones's Avatar AnkaJones 02:10 PM 09-26-2011

I wanna give a big shout out to SitterCity -- they actually refunded the money!!!

 

Shocking given business practices these days, but deeply appreciated.

 

Anka


crunchy_mommy's Avatar crunchy_mommy 03:39 PM 09-26-2011
Wow that's great!
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