Canceling Automatic Withdrawals

by Simon Black

I like Simon Black’s informative stuff- but on almost every one of his articles, I have 2c to add – Comments by Grandpa

Simon said: 11 Oct. 2014

True story.

I maintain one small account in the US, mostly as a way to be able to send my parents’ some money and to access cash when I’m traveling in the Land of the Free.

So last night I was checking my US bank account, and something caught my eye.

My medical insurance premium had increased to $231 per month. This made me pause and wonder what the hell I was even doing with this policy.

I signed up for it when I was 25. It feels like I lifetime ago. At the time, I was in a completely different position in life. And back then the monthly premium was less than 50 bucks a month.

I looked at the history. By 2010, I was paying $106. In 2012, $153.  Now at nearly age 36 in 2014, I’m paying $231.

It goes up by more than 50% every other year.

But here’s the real kicker: I have never used the policy. Ever.

I’m a healthy guy. I rarely go to the doctor. And what’s more, I don’t even live in the United States anymore (where the policy is based).

I felt like such an idiot, so I called immediately to cancel the policy.

You can just imagine the scene. I sat on hold for over 20 minutes, and by the time I finally got to a human being, the guy wasted even more of my time trying to talk me out of canceling.

When he finally acquiesced, he then told me that he would have to pass me to the cancellation department, where another person tried to talk me out of cancelling my policy.

(Curiously, they each cited Obamacare as the reason why I shouldn’t cancel…)

It was infuriating. I kept explaining that I didn’t want to have anything to do with the policy, that I wasn’t using it, that it wasn’t even the right fit for me, and that it was a total waste.

They didn’t care at all. They were perfectly happy for me to waste my money.

I hate that kind of attitude. I know I would be out on the street if I ran my businesses this way.

By Simon Black

I like Simon Black’s informative stuff- but on almost every one of his articles, I have 2c to add – Comments by Grandpa

Re: Canceling Automatic Withdrawals

We have all been in that same place. We want to get out of a bad deal or to stop previously authorized automatic monthly withdrawals from our bank account –or charges to our credit card. The counter-party either doesn’t respond or  tries endlessly to talk you out of canceling. Often a big company sends you in a Ring around the Rosie from one person to another on the phone. Long waits rotten music and lots of disconnections. What to do? How to Handle?

The sensible way to handle these situations is to write a very clear demand by registered letter to cancel out & stop the automatic withdrawals. If they don’t respond quickly or if they do reply and say you “can’t cancel without 3 months notice” or something you probably agreed to on their forms, then you go to your bank or credit card company. You instruct them not to make any future payments.

In one case, my debit card company still kept charging and the bank kept paying despite my very clear orders. It was necessary to cancel the card. And if necessary I would have closed the bank account too.

I refuse to be transferred around for hours on a phone call I am usually paying for, listen to music, press this button and that button. I won’t try to do anything (except BUY) by telephone anymore. And these days, if I have a real complaint about a promised or guaranteed refund not made, I can always complain online & tell my sad story of mistreatment in some online forum. That way, the chaps who are screwing me will lose a lot more in future customer business than the few dollars or Euros they are trying to screw me out of.

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