Warning about Automatic Withdrawals and ETF


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  1. qsoundrich

    qsoundrich Member This Topic's Starter

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    I had a Droid Eris for 30 days, then I returned it to Best Buy. I had been doing automated withdrawals for my Verizon bill for several years. Just this week, a month after getting my new AT&T phone, Verizon decides to automatically withdraw $372 from my bank account for an Early Termination Fee. Not only that, they also overcharged me on my final bill.

    I'm very fortunate that I have just gotten paid, or I'd really be in some trouble right now. After spending a couple hours on the phone today they promised to refund the money to my account. Just a warning: think twice about allowing ANY company to do EFT/automatic withdrawals from your accounts. It's not worth it.
     

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  2. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra= VIP Member

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    You learned a lessen the hard way that I also learned a few years ago with the electric company in my state; they nabbed over six hundred dollars from my checking account as an "inadvertent error" it was later explained to me. :rolleyes:

    I recovered the money in about six months.

    Never signed up for auto withdrawal for anybody since.

    My heart goes out to you.
     
  3. kyler13

    kyler13 Well-Known Member

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    I can't understand with years of horror stories how anyone allows their bank account to be attached to any biller for them to take funds as they see fit. Do you stack your cash on the curb outside your house? Keep your checkbook with blank, signed checks sitting on a bench in the mall? Submit your bills electronically through your bank OR use your credit card (or worst case, write a check). Never give anyone free access to your money. BTW, if you had used a credit card for automatic bill payment, most credit card companies will resolve disputes for you. If Verizon drags their feet on a refund, call your credit card and complain. They'll yank the funds right back from Verizon in a heartbeat.
     
  4. MOS95B

    MOS95B Well-Known Member

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    Been too broke for too long to not allow myself some juggle room. I have two bills that auto pay, but they total $15 a month
     
  5. Howie

    Howie Well-Known Member

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    that's why I do it with a credit card and not debit card. Much easier to get things resolved when they mess up like that. Hope it works out for ya!
     
  6. hrbib21

    hrbib21 Well-Known Member

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    I guess it's a good reminder for others but everyone should already know not to give ANYONE access to your bank account.
     
  7. 3devious

    3devious Well-Known Member

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    That probably comes from constantly using the debit card for everything like a credit card. It's usually times like these that you get this seriously painful reminder of the difference between the two.

    I got my checking account way back when I was just out of high school and my ATM limit was $100. It was eventually raised to $300. I could have a higher debit limit, but I never asked for one (sort of a self-control measure that was needed before I paid off everything awhile ago.) Now, if I want to make a large electronic transaction, I still have to call my bank.

    The drawback to that is I had sure better not need it when they aren't open.
     
  8. UBChain

    UBChain Well-Known Member

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    A handy technique picked up from scambaiting (another topic entirely) is to set up a bank account with a debit card attatched to it and no monthly fees. Keep a minimum balance of about $1.99 in it to keep it open. If/when you want to use it for a purchase (or an auto pay) you simply transfer funds into the account as/when needed.

    This can be handy for many things, one of which is to prevent things like the problem described here) from happening.
     
  9. kilofox

    kilofox Well-Known Member

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    A no monthly fee checking account with a minimum balance of $1.99 .... right.
     
  10. hrbib21

    hrbib21 Well-Known Member

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    Right. Like the one I have with a large bank that has no minimum balance.
     
  11. UBChain

    UBChain Well-Known Member

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    As hrbib21 says "right".

    I've seen many cases where banks promote no fee, no minimum accounts to obtain business. I think the only requirements is that there be activity on the account every once in a while (see terms of the account for details, your mileage may vary).

    Seek and ye shall find. They are handy to have.
     
  12. colnago

    colnago Well-Known Member

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    When one works 80-100 hour weeks for extended periods of time, and or find themselves out of town, autopay has its advantages. That said, I wouldn't want any vendor to have autodraft access to my account, especially not VZ. Too many issues with install/provisioning/decom of VZ DSL, Fios, and now wireless accounts, including the OP's issue of being charged ~$375 first bill, for 14 days service with (2) Droids. Also had to fight to get ETF taken off.
     
  13. kyler13

    kyler13 Well-Known Member

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    Or get yourself a Citibank credit card. They have a virtual credit card function/application that allows you to generate card numbers for purchases when needed. You can set the expiration and amount. The best thing about it is that they're not single use, but rather single merchant so you can set a decent sized balance for an extended period of time for monthly autobill. The first merchant to charge the card locks it to their merchant ID such that if a different merchant charges the card, it won't approve. Best feature in the world.
     
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  14. kyler13

    kyler13 Well-Known Member

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    I didn't say autopay doesn't have its advantages. I said I can't understand how one allows anyone to link to their bank account. If you're gonna use autopay, tie it to your credit card where if the biller is unresponsive, you can let them deal with your major bank who has the authority to yank the funds out from under them. Giving your biller direct withdrawal privileges from your personal funds is like leaving a pot roast on the floor of your kitchen and telling your dog to stay away from it as you walk out the front door.
     
  15. sc00bz

    sc00bz Well-Known Member

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    LOLOLOL
    That is quite possibly the best analogy I have ever heard. I award you 500 bonus points.
     
  16. butthead007

    butthead007 Well-Known Member

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    Well, as someone who deals with many cell phone billing issues, I have to admit, anyone who uses autopay is playing with fire.

    In the event there is an overage on an account, it IS getting billed and deducted immediately. If you're able to call in and get a re-rate on a bill, you will get a credit, but if you are debiting directly from a checking account or debit card, then you are going to take a short term hit which could put you in a bind temporarily.

    VZW's billing system is actually pretty reliable. But mistakes do happen sometimes and in the event of an overage that could be taken care of via a re-rate, your money is still tied up temporarily.

    I would argue this is the case with ANY autopay system.
     
  17. kyler13

    kyler13 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I looooove using analogies. ;)
     
  18. suitor

    suitor New Member

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    AT&T has had almost $500.00 of mine for 2 months. They took it via "Auto-withdraw" per the contract. I did not know I signed such a contract.
    Now they want me to "PROVE" the bank account was mine.
    What a F++king scam they have going.
    How many hundreds of thousands of other accounts have they taken and are collecting Hundreds of millions on these "legalized theft" of peoples monies.

    F++k the corporate cartels.
    Never again. I promptly canceled my account.
     
  19. Sailingmaster

    Sailingmaster Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, I'm betting this snafu is all Best Buy. They're notorious about not using their Offline Channel Support (Service support for indirect stores) to get ETFs credited back to customers, and that's with them actually bothering to disconnect the account in the first place (They don't disconnect lines, most of the time).

    All the Customer Care rep had to do was contact the Best Buy in question, make sure that they had the device, then credit you back for the ETF. According to the WFG, you only have to pay the restocking fee and for the actual usage of the phone.
     

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