Bank Refuses to Cancel Credit Card Subscription Payment

Banks are not obligated to carry out your instructions to cancel credit card subscriptions. This is a little off topic but very relevant to Baby Boomers who are likely to subscribe to various services like health clubs. But it is still relevant to protecting your nest egg in retirement.

Here is a story that explains the problem the man’s daughter had with a health club not canceling her subscription when requested to do so. I only know the facts from his point of view and make no judgments about the situation.

What I do want to point out though is why the bank may not have canceled the credit card monthly debit to the health club.

Here is what happen to me with Visa when I subscribed to an Internet service.

I requested the service to cancel my subscription but they did not do it. So I contact my Bank and asked them to stop payment. They said they could not do it because the contract was between me and the Internet service and I should talk with them. I told them I had made several requests both verbally and in writing to the service. No amount of complaining got them to stop the payment.

I then had extensive talks with VISA about this and I found out the real problem. Apparently the reason the Bank won’t intervene is because their contract with VISA forbids them to stop payments. But they very rarely tell you that.

The only thing I did was keep hassling VISA and the Internet service and eventually VISA said I could fill a form out and they would review it. But I had to insist on talking with a manager. The help desk people somewhere in India or the Philippines maybe did not know anything about the forms. Once they got the form and my “evidence” they would contact the Internet service and the bank and decide whether to stop the payment. But this could take some time. During that time the disputed amount would be put in a special account.

Luckily for me the Internet Service got fed up with me emailing everyone in the company, the bank and VISA that I could find and canceled my subscription. I also tried to have the company de-registered as a VISA service outlet 😉 Apparently this can be done but is very hard to do. Becoming a nuisance can help but it can backfire too.

In short you need to realize when you use your credit card for subscription payments your bank will not intervene to stop the payment because it will be violating its contract with VISA.

The answer is to use a direct debit from a bank transaction account. This will mean the transaction does not involve a credit card company. The bank has to act on your authority to stop payment as I understand the rule to be. But you should check with your bank.

My VISA Card was with Citibank. They eventually sent me a letter with a form called “Customer Investigation Request – Credit Card Transactions”. All Banks should have forms like these. Get it and fill it out.

On the side of the Bank and the VISA though, they make it hard to cancel because you can imagine how many people would ask for refunds for no valid reason which would make the use of credit cards almost impossible. The credit card is a great business tool and is a commitment to pay that all parties rely on.

One more bit of advice is to use PayPal or other reputable service when paying subscriptions or even for products online. They will refund your money. But make sure you know the rules for claiming a refund. I have purchased probably well over 50 products and/or subscriptions through PayPal as I learn the Internet business and I have probably claimed refunds on at least 50% of them because they were not suitable or were not worth the money. I have never had a problem doing this using PayPal.

I hope that helps stop others falling into the same trap.

2 Responses to “Bank Refuses to Cancel Credit Card Subscription Payment”

  1. John says:

    The real issue here is that you too-casually signed a legal contract that you didn’t really want in the end. When you sign an obligation, let’s say it’s a 12-month subscription, you’re on the hook for 12 months. If you want to cancel at 11 months, you’re obligated for 12. If you want to cancel after 8 months, you’re obligated for 12. And if you want to cancel after just one month, you’re obligated for 12. That’s how contracts work. If you want to weasel out of your commitment, that’s fine. But don’t expect VISA to help YOU break YOUR legal obligation with YOUR subscription service, just on your say-so. It’s your legal obligation because YOU signed a contract. And it’s just silly of you to expect that VISA will help you breach that contract. Just silly and naive. Don’t you understand that your subscription service could sue VISA (and would win) if VISA helped you breach a legally-binding contract? If you don’t want the obligation, don’t sign the contract! It’s that simple.

  2. admin says:

    John,

    Thanks for your comment regarding credit card cancellations. Here is my response to your comments.

    The article I linked to appears to have disappeared. The father said they had paid the full year subscription and did not want to pay for another if I recall it correctly. So they had fulfilled their contractual obligation as you quite rightly point out they should.

    The problem was the health club kept billing them beyond the contract and ignored their request to stop debiting their credit card.

    In my case the Internet subscription service was a monthly service which could be canceled at any time by emailing them. That was in the contract I signed. The service was not available to me because they had serious technical problems. I waited three months and then requested the service be canceled. They ignored my requests for several more weeks.

    I didn’t sign a contract for a service I did not want as you imply. I wanted it and had spent considerable time putting together a web site to use that service.

    When they failed to provide the service I tried to cancel it. That’s when I found out I have no power to request my bank stop a credit card subscription payment. I eventually got the service to stop payment.

    If you read my post you will see I have tried to take a balanced view and support the banks,

    “On the side of the Bank and the VISA though, they make it hard to cancel because you can imagine how many people would ask for refunds for no valid reason which would make the use of credit cards almost impossible. The credit card is a great business tool and is a commitment to pay that all parties rely on.”

    With respect your comments made incorrect assumptions and were rude and condescending in part. I believe you did not read the post in full. It seemed to me you were more interested in making derogatory remarks rather than adding helpful information to this post.

    The aim of the post was to make people aware of what banks will and will not do with credit card subscriptions if you get into a situation where a service you have canceled within your contractual rights, fails to observe their contractual obligations.

    I hope I have made things more clear for you.

    Thank you

    David Bates

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