Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Credit Cards and Online Transaction Renewals - Beware!

A while back, we posted about our experience with Symantec automatically debiting our credit card (CC) for a subscription we had picked up for a client ... even after the original card had expired.

Apparently, the practice of "automatically" renewing a subscription is quite common: Sunbelt Blog: Have You Been a Victim of Unethical Software Company Practices?

There is nothing more frustrating than having someone tell you that you agreed to something with no proof in the pudding.

Going back to the original transaction email shows that there was no indication that the subscription would be automatically charged on its subsequent annual anniversary.

This practice means that we need to be extra careful where we use our CC number.

It is mentioned in the blog post that some CC companies are now offering a temporary CC number generation service for their clients to use with online transactions. Once the numbers expire, that's all folks!

We say, "Bring it on!" Providing the temporary numbers only makes business sense to us. How much time and effort is wasted by both the CC company and the CC holder trying to get not so ethical companies to reverse the charges? Probably lots given our own experiences with the practice.

We look forward to the day the Canadian CC companies offer this service as we would be using it all of the time.

In the meantime, we are considering to reduce to one year from two years the frequency we roll our CC numbers over.

It is a bit of a hassle, but in the long run it saves us from unethical companies that do the automatic renewal stuff as well as those companies that refuse to publicize network breaches that would place our numbers in the wild.

Some further links:
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Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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