By David Peel
Many services online now provide their services on an auto renewal basis. This means that each year your credit card is billed for their services automatically.
Examples of auto renewal include satellite XM radio in people’s cars, memberships in various buying clubs, and some warranty programs.
Some of these businesses are careful to send out an email ahead of time to alert you that you can cancel before the auto renewal takes place.
The Internet is replete with examples of people who have had auto renewals go across their credit card for many years after a service is no longer being used.
Obviously they could be criticized for not checking their credit card statements more carefully. However, credit cards are often used to run businesses and it is easy to miss a charge here and there in the course of One year.
Also there is not a lot of information on a credit card statement line. It’s not as if it gives you three lines about what the service is, or what it does.
In one case, an antivirus program continued to auto renew a credit card that had been transferred to the heir of someone who died. This continued for about five years before it was caught. When the antivirus people were contacted they simply explained the auto renewal policy and said they had sent an email 15 days before each charge each year. Now that email would not have gone anywhere since the person was deceased and any email account had long ago been terminated. Further the antivirus system was not being used since the computer had been destroyed.
But yet for about five years this company continued to charge.
The only reason this would work in this scenario is because it is possible to inherit a credit card. There are advantages and inheriting one because you get all the points that are already there and the longevity of the person that you inherited it from. Longevity is a key factor in determining credit score.
The credit card company can always dispute unauthorized charges as fraud. Remember you never have to pay for a charge that you did not personally authorize.
So the moral to the story is, check your statements.
On a personal note I checked a statement not long ago and found out that someone had obtained a credit card number on my wife and had bought a huge pile of tickets to an out-of-town concert. About $4500 worth!
I have to tell you that identity theft is no longer the exception. I think it is now the norm and if you can go a year without having something false show up, it’s astonishing.
In the meantime, beware of the auto renew. It can either bite you or your heirs.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
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