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Old 06-22-2021, 05:10 AM   #1
rblampain
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They're making cancelling services impossible.


In the last few years, I have found that cancelling services is becoming more difficult as service providers seem to follow the growing common practice of burying the cancel option in a way that it is hard to find and consumes a lot of time or cost a lot or does not exist.

One such service provider (I forgot which) had such option designed in such a way that a large number of "clicks" are necessary, the last one pretending that you have a complaint to make and asking you to state it and they might give you a solution as if you mistakenly failed to "click" the right box at one stage.

In a recent case, one hosting company supposed to be reputable (linode) has decided to "suspend" one account because, as they claim, they were unable to collect payment for one service but not another while payment for both were taken at the same time, from the same card, unchanged for many years. It appears that they wanted a change of password for both services and as a result became able to get paid only for one which I highlighted and they admitted in their reply but later returned to their original claim.

In another case, mentioning to Vodafone that a change of bank account could lead to a delay in payment (it did not) triggered them to try to preemptively take payment for 3 months of service when nothing was due, for which they apologised.

As a result, I have decided not to provide my bank account whenever possible and insist on them providing another option. Some willingly provide their own bank account details, including their international banking number. which allow you to make regular payment that you can stop at any time. In other cases and if that option exist, I pay through "payment processor" which I can easily cancel at any time.

In another case and being Belgian-born I subscribed to "Le Soir" (a Belgian newspaper) and finding that they wanted more money to make it more easily readable, I decided reluctantly and with sadness not to submit to such approach and to cancel the subscription. To my amazement and thinking that consumer laws were more stringent in the EU, I discovered that they wanted the cancellation done in writing and by electronic official mail (named differently in each country) costing some 20 Euros for a cancellation that would not even take place immediately.

My question:
Has anyone a hint or advise or comment on how to deal with this growing problem as I am sure many people face it and, like myself, want a quick, easy and final solution?
The object is not to get any refund, it is simply to move on at minimal loss of time and avoiding extortion.

Thank you for your help.
 
Old 06-22-2021, 06:50 AM   #2
rkelsen
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They're making cancelling services impossible.

Stop paying them. They'll cancel your service. win win.
 
Old 06-22-2021, 07:16 AM   #3
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkelsen View Post
Stop paying them. They'll cancel your service.
Unless they log failures to pay on your credit history, then send bailiffs around...

 
Old 06-23-2021, 10:31 AM   #4
rblampain
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Within hours of their initial email, I answered Linode and they had replied to that answer. Their final explanation was very straightforward and not attempting any evasive action or excuse. They also explained how the confusion was possible and had everything corrected. So I must say that they are living to a reputable image.

Quote:
Stop paying them. They'll cancel your service. win win.
That was part of the initial post. You cannot stop payment once they have your card details, they keep taking the money regardless of what you say. And they try to make it the only option - paying through that card (credit or debit card).
In Australia, the banks will even refuse your request to stop those payments and I had to close a bank account with CBA to stop one.
All these examples (except Vodafone) are also about non-contractual services.

Last edited by rblampain; 06-23-2021 at 10:39 AM.
 
Old 06-23-2021, 11:43 AM   #5
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rblampain View Post
Within hours of their initial email, I answered Linode and they had replied to that answer. Their final explanation was very straightforward and not attempting any evasive action or excuse. They also explained how the confusion was possible and had everything corrected. So I must say that they are living to a reputable image.
Good to hear.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rblampain View Post
In Australia, the banks will even refuse your request to stop those payments and I had to close a bank account with CBA to stop one.
That doesn't sound right, and isn't the case in at least the UK or US.

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority has a page on this and specifically emphasizes: "REMEMBER: IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO CANCEL CONTINUOUS PAYMENT AUTHORITIES DIRECTLY WITH YOUR CARD ISSUER"
The US's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a similar page, stating: "You have the right to stop a company from taking automatic payments from your account, even if you previously allowed them."

I'm not sure what the Australian equivalent might be. There is a CBA FAQ claiming stopping payments can only be done for Direct Debits, not "regular payments", but another site has a page on regular payments, stating:
Quote:
Originally Posted by https://www.debitcards.com.au/how-do-i-cancel-a-regular-payment-on-a-debit-card/
...
If the payment’s cessation is not agreed, then there should be an email or letter sent by the debit card holder immediately, asking them to reconsider and reserving [the] right to go to the debit card provider and to the state authorities.
...
If there is no satisfaction then the complaint should be taken to the debit card provider and also to the state or territory’s Consumer Affairs Agency. It is a good idea to also forward copies of all correspondence.
...
Of course, all of those pages talk about cancelling with the merchant first. Perhaps in Australia there is a problem with people not doing that step, and so the banks respond accordingly.
If your account provider is actually refusing to stop payments after you've provided them with suitable proof that you've tried dealing with the merchants first, that's something one would need to take up with the relevant consumer protection agencies.

 
Old 06-23-2021, 07:52 PM   #6
rkelsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rblampain View Post
That was part of the initial post. You cannot stop payment once they have your card details, they keep taking the money regardless of what you say.
Never give anyone else control of your money, least of all a grubby phone company who outsources everything. Providers who require direct debit will never have me as a customer.
 
Old 06-24-2021, 12:54 AM   #7
aus9
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https://www.afca.org.au/make-a-complaint/banking

Aka bank ombusdman
 
Old 06-25-2021, 12:23 AM   #8
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rblampain View Post
In Australia, the banks will even refuse your request to stop those payments and I had to close a bank account with CBA to stop one.
That doesn't sound right. I suspect the situation was far more convoluted than you're letting on, and closing the account was a sledgehammer solution (couldn't find the screwdriver).
 
Old 06-25-2021, 03:49 AM   #9
Trihexagonal
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They bury an auto-payment clause in my Hosting Package at the end of the year when your contract is up but you can opt-out of it easily enough.

My site is hosted in Sofia, Bulgaria, by Awardspace.com and I've been with them 4 years now. I'm very happy with them and have always received great service.
 
Old 06-27-2021, 06:19 AM   #10
rblampain
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Quote:
Aka bank ombusdman
I have a long history of a dispute with Westpac lodged with this body when it was named FOS.
It is a typical example of how our politicians have allowed big business to fool the consumers.
This body clearly stated that, as a complaining customer you have to prove everything you claim (which is fair enough) but that it has no authority to ask the same from the service provider you complain about (not so fair). As part of their conclusion in the case and referring to issues that the bank intentionally ignored, AFCA (FOS) simply said that "there was nothing" (in the "evidence" presented by Westpac) explaining why they had stopped paying from my account for services to which I had subscribed. Pages of records were provided to FOS by Westpac with the relevant "evidence" conveniently and indisputably cut out.

FOS was, and I suspect AFCA is, fully financed by the service providers you complain about. In other words these service providers are the employers of the paralegals going to adjudicate your case and their job seems to be to protect their employer rather than seek justice for a customer.
If the business you complain about is not one of their "members", they will tell you they cannot help you (which is what they did with my complaint about mail.com).

Quote:
That doesn't sound right. I suspect the situation was far more convoluted than you're letting on, and closing the account was a sledgehammer solution (couldn't find the screwdriver).
The situation was very simple and as described. But even if it was a sledgehammer solution, it was still my right to cancel at any time.
IF you want, there is a good chance you can try it yourself. The supplier was mail.com (a US company) and the cancelling procedure clearly led to lodging a complaint to their support service in Sydney Australia which did not answer. However and not being aware of laws outside of Australia, it could well be that you would have to try as an Australian customer.

In this case, what needs to be highlighted is the fact that if mail.com became aware of something that it could do in Australia but not anywhere else, the global tendency will be to follow the example of what is done in Australia (the most profitable).

It is mentioned that US and UK may have laws protecting customers that Australia may not have but the fact is that if such laws are not enforceable easily, they are worthless.

For example, Australia has a much talked-about consumer law called the "ACL" which amongst other things states that when a consumer has a dispute with a service provider the service provider "should not accept payment for the service" (notice the word "should"). In my case, Telstra (the major Australian telco) did not "accept" such payment, it demanded it at every opportunity (and never got it) but was finally convicted in court of breach of contract in a case I started as a self-represented litigant.

CBA, in its last correspondence and following a number of letters in which I told them that they were going to loose a customer (which they did) due to their evasive answers only offered to send me an application for a refund as it looks like the bank was proposing to consider issuing a refund at their own costs (I am sure they never intended to) while still allowing mail.com to keep taking money from the account. They could have sent such application instead of proposing to send it. But preventing any further withdrawal was never a subject CBA accepted to talk about.

All this seems to return us to the need to find simple ways to stop an automatic withdrawal and move on. Having to cancel a bank account is a sledgehammer solution when it is the only solution.

Last edited by rblampain; 06-27-2021 at 06:43 AM.
 
Old 06-27-2021, 08:19 PM   #11
frankbell
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Speaking of charging for services, did you all hear about the latest stunt from Peloton?

An excerpt:

Quote:
Previously, people who had shelled out more than $4,000 for Peloton's Tread+ treadmill machine were able to select a "Just Run" setting and exercise without accessing Peloton's digital workout content. But following a recent safety update, the "Just Run" feature has disappeared, multiple users said on Twitter after receiving an email notice from the company.

Now, Peloton users need to pay a $39 monthly membership fee to use their treadmills. And some customers are threatening legal action, Business Insider separately reported, as they're angry over the additional charges.
 
Old 06-29-2021, 03:02 AM   #12
ondoho
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^ Wow, another example of "more safety" turned around and into "more restrictions for them, more money for us".
I hope the customers sue them to hell and back.
 
Old 06-29-2021, 08:03 PM   #13
frankbell
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Pelotons cost anywhere from $1500 up. Anyone who sprang for one of them can easily afford lawyers.

As an aside, I don't get why anyone is willing to spend that kind of money to have a "trainer" yell at him or her over the inner webs. Give me my Fuji Sports 10.
 
  


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