Feature Articles: Financial Information & Tips
Canceling Automated Payments
By Suzi McGarvey, Human Environmental Sciences Extension, University of Missouri Extension
Paying bills through automated payments can be extremely convenient. When you set up your account for automated payments, either your credit card is charged or a certain amount is removed from your bank account when a bill comes due. There’s no need to worry about writing checks and getting them sent in the mail on time.
However, as more and more consumers choose this option to simplify
their bill paying, some people are finding it difficult
to stop these recurring payments.
Following are some tips to stop an automatic payment.
- First of all, only set up automated payments with well-established companies. Though this does not guarantee you won’t have any problems, it might reduce your chances of errors.
- Contact the company or vendor directly. Don’t contact your bank or credit card company and expect them to cancel your automatic payments. Although banks are supposed to stop any payments from your checking account at your request, don’t count on it. Your best option is to contact the company who is withdrawing the money from your account or charging your credit card.
- Contact the company in writing. It is fine to call and request that they stop payments, but always follow up with a certified, return receipt requested letter stating your desire to discontinue automated payments (providing account and relevant information). Carbon copy your credit card company or bank.
- Be persistent. Sometimes companies may be difficult to get a hold of, but look for consumer inquiry or complaint numbers. Always get the name of the person you spoke to and keep good documentation.
- If you are unable to get automated payments stopped, contact your bank or credit card to dispute the charges.
- If you still cannot get your situation resolved, contact the Missouri Attorney General’s office (800-392-8222) or the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) for assistance.
Source: Federal Trade Commission, http://www.ftc.gov/
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009