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How to Detect (possible) Automatic Renewal Scam?

  1. Jan 8, 2019 #1

    WWGD

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    Hi,
    I am being charged yet again for an account I had closed two years ago. My customer dashboard was set to "Automatic Renewal" , which I believe I had disabled. I have now disabled this Automatic Renewal and I took a screenshot of it . QUESTION: Were the settings in the dashboard to be changed again (whether purposefully or by mistake) back to Automatic Renewal, what technical recourse could I have? May I request the network or account server logs to test whether this has been changed? Anything else?
    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2019 #2
    It's hard to say anything about this without knowing exactly what company this is and in what state/country you live. It's also more a question for legaladvice on Reddit or something than for physicsforums. I would certainly complain about it, or it could just happen again.
    If their automatic renewal doesn't send email notices, either when the renewal settings change, or before you need to renew, that seems already questionable, and you might try to dispute this.
     
  4. Jan 8, 2019 #3

    WWGD

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    Thank you, I was considering more the technical aspect than the legal one. I seem to have taken care of this -- for the second year in a row after having closed the account-- but I am bracing myself for next year.
     
  5. Jan 8, 2019 #4
    There should be an account log on their end depending on the company and service. Maybe you miss clicked?
     
  6. Jan 8, 2019 #5

    WWGD

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    I Mister clicked :) , but the settings of my client dashboard seem to have been changed ( I cannot be sure of this) EDIT : Into "Allow Automatic Renewal" even when I had explicitly asked that the account be closed in full . I do have proof of this last request.
     
  7. Jan 10, 2019 #6

    rbelli1

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    Try deleting any payment method from the account. They can't get your money then.

    BoB
     
  8. Jan 10, 2019 #7

    StoneTemplePython

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    I was going to make a joke that you need to first study '(automatic) renewal theory'
    - - - -
    but I think renewal theory is too much of a niche topic so this is bad even by math joke standards.
     
  9. Jan 11, 2019 #8

    Tom.G

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    Or enter an invalid account number. The organization paying them may even have an account number reserved for that.

    If it is a Credit Card payment the CC company may be able to 'reverse' the payment if you complain enough (before you pay the CC amount). They may also have 'single use' account numbers available for use.

    If it's a bank go in and have a sit-down talk with them and ask how to stop the payments. They may have have 'single use' debit card capability which you could perhaps fund with the smallest monetary unit in you country, here in the States that could be either one dollar, or one cent, dependent on the bank rules.

    Of course the a 'last effort' solution may be to close the financial institution account the bad guys are drawing from. The drawback here is sometimes an institution may automatically transfer such periodic withdrawals to your new account. (They figure you would not want to cancel an automatic house payment for example.) So that leaves moving your account to a different institution. What a hassle!

    It's an interesting situation that seems to occur too often. Please keep us updated on your results so others can learn too.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  10. Jan 11, 2019 #9

    CWatters

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    In the UK what matters is your contract with the seller so entering fake cc or bank numbers may not be the end of the matter. They can come after you years later saying you had a contract and they continued to provide a service for which you didn't pay.

    Writing to the companies registered address to formally terminate the contract would be worth doing just to cover your a--e. Use some kind of recorded delivery/signed for service and keep copies of all the paperwork. This paperwork might also be useful if your credit card co needed evidence before they will do a charge back.
     
  11. Jan 11, 2019 #10

    Evo

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    If they're like Amazon, they keep every card you've ever used and when it's time to renew, they will try every card they have in your file until one goes through. A couple of years ago, I had stopped auto renew, but somehow it was changed back to auto renew and they did this because the main card on the account had expired. So I ordered a ton of small items that were dirt cheap but had free shipping (all things I needed) and got much more than my membership costs back.
     
  12. Jan 11, 2019 #11

    WWGD

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    Scarily-enough, one place where I paid for with credit card sent a receipt to my phone. I had never used my phone to pay nor had I entered my phone number with the company. Someone is keeping track of everything somewhere.
     
  13. Jan 11, 2019 #12

    WWGD

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    Thank you all. Company is called FatCow. I sent them an email explicitly asking that my account be closed for good, that I did not want to do any additional business with them. Ever again. I had changed the settings to disable Auto Renewal. I took a picture of it. You would imagine after this request would not even be neccesary.... My question re the Data Servers was to see if I could somehow request the network/account logs in case the settings are changed back to Auto Renewal. EDIT: I wonder also whether I can request the logs to the effect that the page ( they were hosting a webpage for me for one year after which I had explicitly asked to close the account) has never been accessed. This last is the reason I had posted this in the CS forum.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  14. Jan 11, 2019 #13

    CWatters

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    The termination process is described here in section 12. Follow link for Term and Termination of services...

    https://www.fatcow.com/legal/legal-useragreement.html#term-Termination

    Note that disabling auto renewal for basic hosting doesn't disable auto renewal for add-on services such as domain names.

    It actually says that to terminate some services you have to contact them for assistance. See last line of 12.c).ii.
     
  15. Jan 11, 2019 #14

    WWGD

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    I sent an email explicitly asking that my account, any and every service they (may have) provided to me is to be terminated for good, irreversibly, and said this to phone reps. I can't say it is a scam, it may be just incompetence. I lean towards the latter since the company seems to have been in business since 1998, and the whole " You can't full all the people all the time..." type thing. But that doesn't make it any less frustrating to me.
     
  16. Jan 15, 2019 at 4:39 PM #15
    This "method" has worked for me, another option I have used is blocking/removing the EFT
     
  17. Jan 15, 2019 at 4:45 PM #16

    WWGD

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    Thanks all. Issue (hopefully settled): I finally received an email explicitly stating that my account had been permamnently closed. Of course, I had had similar replies beforehand which did not help. Problem with changing payment methods is that often they are "rolled forward", i.e., if I remove credit card ####-.... from my dashboard, the payment will be forwarded to a new credit card.
     
  18. Jan 15, 2019 at 4:57 PM #17
    I have just seen a website (privacy.com), this site allows you to create a virtual or even burner card with choices of single use or max monthly amounts, Im going to use this for my online service's
     
  19. Jan 16, 2019 at 1:54 PM #18

    WWGD

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    To follow up and be fair with the company FatCow , I received a full refund. The problem seems to have been one of coordination: several reps replying, seemingly independently of each other with advice/claims that contradicted each other. I asked and received an email certifying that my account has been closed in full. So this is it. At least for now, hopefully for good.
     
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