It is super easy to sign up for automatic renewals these days without even realizing it. Companies are becoming sneaky about offering you lower rates if you check the auto-renew box. They are banking on you forgetting about it and letting the charge slide when it comes around again either next month or next year.
Yes, take advantage of the lower bills. But, NO, do not let them take advantage of you. We are getting smarter than that. Right?
The trick to keeping these billers above board? Read your statements.
I use the e-bill option from our bank for almost all our bills. This includes my credit cards. The statement is released and I get a notice from my bank that my xyz credit card statement is ready to be paid. Here is the important part (the part I admit I have skipped in the past) – you have to check the bill – read it. Each and every time.
I know it’s too small to see the above screen shot, but it says:
Norton Anti-Virus Software was automatically renewed on 6/15/12 for $83.19.
I could have just accepted it and moved on, but I thought that price seemed quite a bit higher than what I paid last year. I checked and yes, it is quite a bit higher. Right now I can download a year subscription for $39.99 (saving $43.20).
But I’m not happy with Norton so wanted to cancel anyway. I called to cancel and the first thing the rep offered me was to keep the product and lower the bill to $41 a year. Yep, I could have saved $42 for making a 10 minute phone call.
Pretty good return on the investment of my time. Let’s see, that would equate to $252 per hour. Well worth it.
Lesson learned: I hope you take away from this the benefit of 1) reading your statements and 2) calling up the company and ask for a lower rate or a refund.
Have you ever had an outrageous charge on your card? How did you handle it?