Recurring charges are charges that recur on a regular basis.
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Carmen and I were surprised to learn how many seniors spend at an unsustainable rate. James and Mary were both in their seventies, lived on a fixed income, and wanted to stay in their home, where they raised four children. The kids supported their parent’s wishes but were concerned that their parent’s spending was out of control. Some of them were willing to help with any needed caregiving, but others said they weren’t willing to contribute until the frivolous and unnecessary spending stopped. In other words, they wanted unnecessary recurring charges canceled.
Most Common Types of Recurring Charges
We got access to the parent’s bank and credit card statements. Their most significant controllable expenses were recurring charges, including:
These recurring fees totaled $270 a month or $3,240 a year. That represented almost 10% of their annual income. Half of these expenses can also be eliminated or reduced.
A recurring charge is also one that we authorize to recur over and over again. These charges usually involve one of our credit cards. Consequently, each recurring period (usually monthly or annually) a charge gets placed using our card.
Quick Tip. Some companies make it easy to cancel online. Use this method first, because its fast, and the company should give you some confirmation notice. Type into google the company name and “How to cancel my subscription” in quotes. Sometimes you’ll get a very detailed description of how to cancel the charge.
How To Remove Recurring Charges
Generally, you have a contract authorizing the recurring payment. This means you can’t just deny the credit card charge. Technically, you need to cancel your agreement. If the company you’re interacting with doesn’t have an easy explanation discoverable on Google, follow the steps below.
Get A Copy of The Agreement
Get a copy of the agreement. You can call the company applying the charges and demand a copy or check the company’s website – they usually have the agreement available.
Review The Agreement
Review the agreement to find the paragraph(s) that answer the following questions. 1.How do I cancel the Agreement (e.g., email someone, complete a form, call the company, write the company, etc.). 2. What charges are stopped? I need to make sure all the charges I am getting billed for are canceled. 3. Are there any charges that will appear after my cancellation (e.g., cancellation fee, processing fee, prorated fees, etc.). If so, what are these fees, and what are the amounts.
With this information, proceed with the cancellation. 1. Follow the instructions in the Agreement. 2. Get confirmation of your efforts (a. if on the phone, ask for a confirmation number, b. if online take screen captures and save any confirmation email, c. if by written notice, send via certified mail).
Check The Cancellation
Check The Cancellation. 1. Follow up a few weeks after the cancellation. Call the company to ensure you have been removed from the recurring subscription. Alert your credit card company not to authorize new fees with the company. Review your credit card statements to ensure no new charges appear.
Document Your Efforts
Document Your Actions. 1. Write down the company and the representative you talk to, the representative’s identification number (name or location), the date and time of your conversation, and what you’re talking about (charges, amounts, type of subscription, etc.). 2. Some states allow you to record these conversations (some states require the other party to also agree to the recording). 3. Get and keep confirmation receipts, emails, and ticket numbers (customer service IDs).
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Some companies help you identify and cancel charges like Truebill.