The Weekly Gripe

Automatic subscription renewal fees on credit card

I just wanted to warn everyone not to get sucked in to subscriptions, memberships or insurance policies where they automatically renew.  This has happened to me three times now, twice without realising.

The first time was a couple of months ago when my car insurance was due.  As usual I shop around every year to get the best deal.   The day before my renewalI phoned up the new insurance company to take out their policy.  At the end of the week I got a new insurance certificate from my old insurance company.  What annoyed me most was the fact that the details were all wrong as I had changed car to coincide with my new insurance policy and therefore the renewal notice I had received a couple of weeks earlier was not relevant.  The thing I found cheeky was I realised that they had taken nearly 700 off my credit card to pay for the policy (I always pay in one go).  This was nearly 2 times more than what I had just paid for my new policy elsewhere. Luckily enough after a quick phone call they did refund the money back to me.  The interesting thing was when I took out the policy with the new company this did tell me that they would be holding my payment details on file for automatic renewal upon which I told them I would like to opt out.   Cheeky monkeys!

Credit card auto renewal for membership and subscription The second incident was with a Babysitting company.  I urgently needed a babysitter one night as a whole bunch of us were going out on a celebration.  I found this babysitting company, signed up for 3 months (their minimum membership) and they found me a very good babysitter for the night. I have just received my Visa bill and noticed that a payment of 12.75 has been deducted off my account.  I phoned them up and explained that I did say at the time that I only wanted membership for the minimum term.  The lady I spoke to said that its all automatic and that they cant refund but can cancel my membership.  I think this is very off as it wasnt actually explained to me when I originally took out the subscription.

Now the third thing was a free membership to Screenselect.  My free membership was a total nightmare, I was supposed to receive at least 5 DVDs in the first 2 weeks and I only received 3 and 2 of them were damaged and unwatchable.  Unfortunately I was away at the time I needed to cancel my automatic membership payment and upon telling them this and about how unhappy I was with the service they said they could not refund me but would give me another 5 days free membership.  Well those 5 days had already passed, so was worth nothing to me.  Anyway, after a lot of emails back and forth and getting nowhere, I decided continued my membership until the end of the month and cancel it.

So, whats this business with companies holding your details and automatically renewing your membership without actually getting your consent first or even reminding you that your membership is about to end and they will automatically be renewing it.  And worst of all they dont do refunds!  Moral of the story is, think twice when paying out for a subscription or membership for anything and check whether they do automatically renew because you might end up paying out for something you dont want later on.


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Disillusioned of Harrogate

Some of the worst offenders are dating websites. They make it next to impossible to find a way to stop auto renewal. Even though you thought you had clicked a box and also called customer service, you still get billed. 'Oh, we needed it in writing.' What a ripoff. Their excuse is 'we bill you automatically in order to avoid any disruption'. What kind of disruption could they mean? A couple of days without seeing my 'daily six' won't kill me. What they really mean is that it would disrupt their supply of free money from people who thought they had cancelled. Did I meet any worthwhile? No, most had no photo, the ones that did looked like Santa Claus and the rest listed 'horror films' and 'erotic movies' in their interests. No thanks.
30th Jul 13 12:07

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ttrevor b

yes i quite agree regarding regarding Tastecard. Mine was a complete waste of time too. I never got a reminder notice and they were very adamant they would not give me a refund . My advice - STAY AWAY from them! Belive me there is no good will there. Just a money scamming racket.
10th Aug 12 10:08

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Meldrew

I'm experiencing the same thing with Tastecard. The card was a waste of time for me as there were too many restrictions and as it was my wife that took out the card I wasn't aware of the small print regarding the renewal practice. The renewal notification e-mail was blocked by my spam filter and when I complained they replied with "we send out notifications as a goodwill gesture and cannot be held liable for non-delivery". In short it's deliberate ploy to take advantage of customers. I checked my credit card detail and don't think they have my correct current number so they can whistle for it if they think I'm going to give it to them. The government really has got to crackdown on this practice of rolling over contracts and entrapping unwitting customers, I believe its becoming more and more widespread.
18th May 12 07:05

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Peter

Hello, I am going through a very similar experience with www.xing.com (XING AG) a networking website. Although, in my case, they haven't been able to take the money as my credit card was expired. In What's the current status of your legal pursuit against tastecard? Good Luck
8th May 12 01:05

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Darran

I am in the processes of seeking legal advice. Tastecard stole the money out of my account even though they know I did not want to renew my membership again after so many problems using the Tastecard. They are a really cheeky company to contact coming across as very underhand. I am determined to get my £30 quids worth of spreading the word. The automatic renewal is underhand and as has already been mentioned across the Internet "very Arthur Daily". They have the cheek to take money from your bank account as if they own it. In my experience the Tastecard is a complete waste of space. I have had many embarrassed meals with friends and the bill is not properly discounted. Yes when I made official complaints to the restaurants and Tastecard I have got my overpayment back but its not right. So taking the renewal automatically was the last straw. My campaign will now commence against their automatic renewals.
8th Feb 12 10:02

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shawy

having the same tastecard scam. Has anyone got their money back
4th Jan 12 07:01

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peter moss

BEWARE Tastecard? Tastelondon? tasteashes! Same story. Another money-grabbing company so desperate for your cash it snatches unauthorised payments for its useless product, ("Didn't you look in your Spam Filter for a reminder?") which it then stoically refuses to refund. Did I say useless? Yes. The Retaurants that they have persuaded to advertise through them are mostly rubbish. (What self-respecting Restaurant would over charge by 50% just to give you a discount?) Those that aren't, hedge the use of the card with so many "if & buts" that trying to use the card becomes a nightmare and then make you feel like a second class customer. If this Harrogate based company really added any value to anyones life they wouldn't need to refuse a reasonable request for a refund.
16th Mar 11 07:03

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A . MUG

Hello , can any one please provide any advice ? A ISP tricked me by doing auto renews every 2 yrs without any warning in their sign up online. My cc has expired so they could not collect the fee - now they threaten using a debit collections agency !!!. Can I stand my ground and refuse these 'unethical yuppies' ?? Many thanks if you can help !!!
12th Nov 10 11:11

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Sick of the AA

Automatic subscription fees I agree one of the worst company is THE AA. This automatic renewal of my breakdown cover costs me more and I have been caught out thrice before . Now I go on the internet, check out their fees and ask them to match these, they know they are in the wrong!! They try and catch people out like this especially older people who do not use the internet that often and I am sure they make tons of money, this is NOT FAIR!!! I have been a long term customer, but there are no rewards for this at all. I saved nearly a third by just going on the internet and then calling them to match this - SO DO THIS NOW AND COMPLAIN TO THEM TOO!
23rd Jun 10 11:06

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The First Time

A friend of mine is a lyricist and was a member of The Guild of International Songwriters and Composers. With my business experience he asked me to be his agent and in order to try to promote his work I needed information available to him via his membership which he let me have his username and password for. Representing him I made a few enquiries with head office as this was a new area to me and I came across a most abrupt jobsworth who accused me of trying to get something for free under my friend's membership and with the tone of his message being aggressive gave me a telling off. As a result of this I continued to use his membership to gather as much information to widen my knowledge pretending to be him and not his agent. Since expanding into the songwriting field I have diverted numerous people from becoming members of this organisation as it is a jumped-up organisation which pretends to offer unique services. Most songwriters with a bit of business experience could get by without using their services - and I have made sure of that for at least ten songwriters. A message to GISC: If you had treated me with respect I would have referred my customers to you for membership but I do quite the opposite as I can offer the essentials and will contiune to use my friend's membership to gather the latest information. If they rely on me they won't need to become members.
2nd Jun 10 06:06

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Chuckler

Labour are launching their manifesto at Birmingham's New Queen Elizabeth Hospital today Having a wife who has to visit hospitals on a regular basis I have one question for all Labour Party Members. "Have you paid for your parking at the Hospital today...???
12th Apr 10 12:04

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grumpy

Hi have also been stung. Now I change my credit card every year. It is easier to fight this when they don't have the money. good luck
15th Mar 10 07:03

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