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Old 08-31-2013, 02:21 PM
Location: Tampa Bay Area
169 posts, read 1,018,373 times
Reputation: 172


I have a grind.

There's a certain convenience to auto renewals for some things - like auto billing the flat fees for my cell phone charges each month. No contract, so if I change my mind I can call and cut them off and the limit to my liability is 30 days - 1 months fee. I'm ok with that.

What I feel is an infringement is extended "auto-renewals". I get that some contracts have to enure to the benefit of the vendor to recoup certain upfront capital expenditures - like installing capital improvements - e.g.: home alarm systems. And, that those costs are incrementally spread over a term - say 2 or 3 years. Fine. But at the end of that term, any renewals to the initial agreement should be short term - limited to 30 days or 90 days max. There should not be auto renewals in lengthly terms beyond the term of the initial agreement.

Once you've honored the initial length of the agreement they try to use complacency on the part of the consumer to rope us into extending their payment chain with longer renewal terms. This is taking advantage of consumer's. There are 130 million housholds in the US if each of us over pays just one month of a service we no longer really want but that auto bills us a $30 monthly service change - even if it only happens just once in a year - that's $4 billion dollars in wasted fees and expenses. It's not a trivial amount.

I want auto bill out of my wallet for anything longer than 30 days.

It's everything too from cell phone agreements, to lawn services, to website subscriptions... when you start adding it up it can come to hundreds of dollars per household per year. And the costs to fight it in one single case isn't usually enough to make it worth it but when you add them all together it gets to be a lot of money.

We should not have to monitor these damn agreements. They should not automatically renew beyond 30 day increments once the initial term is satisfied (unless a new agreement is willfully entered into with complete acknowledgement by the consumer and a new agreement is signed for a new term.)

We're consumers! We don't have sophisticated databases in which to know when every little subscription or subcontractor we hire expires... so as long as the initial deal is honored and the bill is current if I should want to cancel and get them out of my pocket I should be able to do so and never look back with nothing more than a 30 day obligation.

I am miffed at the moment at a vendor that has roped me into an agreement that I feel is agreegious - 4 year contract (they claim - I could swear it was two years and I let it go another year and now I fear they have "auto-renewed" another two year term) I will go pull the contract and I will honor whatever I signed but darn it I know I wouldn't have signed anything longer than 2 years, 3 at the most and I think they just rolled it over for a full term when I wasn't paying attention to some auto renew clause.)

I am looking into Guardian Security for those of you who may have had a similar experience and want to share - I would love to get some feedback.

Thank goodness I don't let them auto-draft my account.
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Old 08-31-2013, 04:59 PM
2,727 posts, read 4,684,770 times
Reputation: 2342
This is the huge disagreement between the big two parties in many situations, fundamentally.

The "opt-in" versus "opt-out" approach.

The "opt-in" option says unless you request a provider at the end of your service agreement or any trial period (remember "try it risk free for XX month" trick), they will cut the service off (the default).

The "opt-out" option says that you the consumer who has to remember and do whatever necessary to opt-out from the service (the default it to keep you in).

Most businesses fight for the "opt-out" option and bank on the fact that most people don't even remember to opt out in time so service is extended (by default) for the full period with hefty penalty to breach the contract. You can already guess which party is for what approach, .
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