Beware of ongoing online payment commitments. - Mon 12th June 2017

Lesson learnt from companies whose T&C  only offer ongoing payment  commitments:

A few years ago I signed up for LOGMEIN, which is a software programme that enables you or a nominated person access to your computer, at a cost of some 60US Dollars, although having only used it on one occasion at the time it was needed for a computer fix I’d unfortunately  forgotten about having set it up altogther. What went unnoticed was that each year a charge is made to your credit card without any warning  each year. Unlike your utility provider, household insurance and the likes of pet insurance, whereby the provider informs you of the amount and due date of the charge in good time, LOGMEIN simply carry on charging regardless.

The last sum charged was 299 US Dollars which I only recently discovered, and  was simply kicking myself for not having noticed previous charged entries.

What became apparent is that I ticked their T&C box that allowed LOGMEIN to charge annually and that the fine print allowed them also to charge whatever fee rates applied in the future without stating a figure. According to the T&C you can only cancel by phone or email, so you are dependent upon the company being honourable to ensure the account is not charged again.

After it was brought to the companies attention that the service was only used the once in the first year, they kindly credited the last payment of 299 US Dollars, but not the previous 2 payments that had gone unnoticed.

I then took this up with my Natwest credit card provider, who informed me that they get a huge amount of complaints from their clients complaining about this type of ongoing fee commitment, not just because of my loss and stupidity but also because others may be unaware of this bad practice generally.

Natwest advised they could do nothing about it with the company concerned, although very kindly credited me in full for the previous payments and also for the difference in exchange rate on the last charge.

I enquired to Natwest if this practice can be outlawed by credit card providers, simply as it appears to me unreasonable & unfair that such practices are employed by some companies, but this suggestion did not gather any traction.

I do think it is incumbent upon all companies to inform their client/customer that a charge is going to be made in advance and each year, in order the client/customer is given the opportunity to be aware of the cost and to cancel the service if they wish to.

To reinforce this there should, in my opinion, be a credit card regulation that ensures proof of a client having accepted any new higher charge on an annual basis, in the event of a dispute.

I was lucky in this case and am now aware more so of such ongoing commitments for online services made.

Posted by Bruce Gibson

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