Credit cards and auto-renewal of contracts

My husband took out a contract with Mcafee anti-virus software many years ago.  He usually purchased a renewed contract at about half the price of the auto-renewal fee each year or so.  This year he wanted to cancel it.  He had a very late warning that it was due to auto-renew and he told them he didn't want it to.  Despite his cancellation they still debited a credit card with an exorbitant fee - twice as much as it would have been had he renewed by choice.  The card they debited was a credit card he had not used for years and thought he had cancelled, or at the very least not renewed.  The credit card number had remained the same, but the expiry date and security number on it were different from those provided to Mcafee. He had not activated the replacement credit card to which the details related.  The credit card company insisted it had to honour the renewal even though it was unwanted.  They also charged him a fee for not paying his credit card bill on time because he had missed a notification of a charge, thinking it was just "Spam" or a mailshot arising from the credit card company's knowledge of his e-mail address from an old account he no longer used.   He therefore ended up with a bill from Mcafee, credit card charges, and a service he no longer wanted.  Has anyone else experience this "scam"?  It cannot be right that companies can keep renewing contracts no longer wanted. And credit cards should surely be be cancelled and no longer able to be charged to as soon as out of date.  I find this bizarre.  I have just logged into Amazon and found details of out of date cards that are now out of date and can no longer be used.  Clearly Amazon has a record of expiry dates, and honours them as no longer valid.  How can Mcafee get away with this?  
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  • booneruk
    booneruk Posts: 228
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    It's likely that they set up a Continuous Payment Authority on the card when the subscription was first taken out.

    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/recurring-payments/
  • BoGoF
    BoGoF Posts: 6,788
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    Get away with what? Your husband didn't cancel in time.....and he could have switched off the auto renew at any point. It seems like it's been an annual thing so why did he miss it this year.

    These subscriptions are paid by a Continous Payment Authority, the key word being continous. You do not pay Amazon by CPA so what they show as expired is comparing apples and oranges.
  • MorningcoffeeIV
    MorningcoffeeIV Posts: 1,912
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    It's not a scam and perfectly normal.

    MacAfee hasn't 'got away with anything'. The continuous payment authority because your husband didn't cancel it in time.

    If he has contracts he no longer needs, hs should cancel them well in advance of renewal.
  • cymruchris
    cymruchris Posts: 4,883
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    When he signed up - in order to get his discount he would have digitally signed a continuous credit card authority which allows the company to take their fees forever until you tell them to stop. Having a new card number doesn't make a difference - the credit card company just links the old payment to the new card. That's the way it's worked for as long as I can remember. It's done so if someone loses a card/has a card stolen - they don't have to ring around all the various companies to update the details of a new card.

    They will stop taking payments once you instruct them - but if you don't give enough notice - you can expect the debit to process. Have you asked them for a refund?

    As for the card company charging for non-payment - that's fair. He had a balance, ignored an email, didn't check the account, didn't pay, so a late fee would be justified. You could ask the credit card company to remove it as a gesture of goodwill - but that's not guaranteed.

    It's not a scam - but you have to keep on top of things that you sign up to. They rely on people forgetting to cancel to make bigger profits.
    An ex-bankrupt on a journey of recovery. Feel free to send me a DM reference credit building credit cards from the usual suspects :) Happy to help others going through what I've been through!
  • Desmond_Hume
    Desmond_Hume Posts: 69
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    In addition to all the above, stop paying for McAfee. 
  • penners324
    penners324 Posts: 2,603
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    You send the credit card company proof of the cancellation request and get the card company to do a charge back 
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,182
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    Caplymo said:
    My husband took out a contract with Mcafee anti-virus software many years ago.  He usually purchased a renewed contract at about half the price of the auto-renewal fee each year or so.  This year he wanted to cancel it.  He had a very late warning that it was due to auto-renew and he told them he didn't want it to.  Despite his cancellation they still debited a credit card with an exorbitant fee - twice as much as it would have been had he renewed by choice.  The card they debited was a credit card he had not used for years and thought he had cancelled, or at the very least not renewed.  The credit card number had remained the same, but the expiry date and security number on it were different from those provided to Mcafee. He had not activated the replacement credit card to which the details related.  The credit card company insisted it had to honour the renewal even though it was unwanted.  They also charged him a fee for not paying his credit card bill on time because he had missed a notification of a charge, thinking it was just "Spam" or a mailshot arising from the credit card company's knowledge of his e-mail address from an old account he no longer used.   He therefore ended up with a bill from Mcafee, credit card charges, and a service he no longer wanted.  Has anyone else experience this "scam"?  It cannot be right that companies can keep renewing contracts no longer wanted. And credit cards should surely be be cancelled and no longer able to be charged to as soon as out of date.  I find this bizarre.  I have just logged into Amazon and found details of out of date cards that are now out of date and can no longer be used.  Clearly Amazon has a record of expiry dates, and honours them as no longer valid.  How can Mcafee get away with this?  
    Putting it in brackets doesn't make it any more true... its not a scam or "scam".

    When you made the original purchase you agreed to a continuous payment authority. The first payment that setup a CPA has to go through normal authorisation/security in principle to ensure it's the cardholder authorising it but all subsequent payments don't need to go through security. This means you can be safe in the knowledge your service will continue each year even though the card may have expired and replaced with another with a new number, security code, expiry date etc. It'd be chaos with vastly more uninsured cars on the road etc if this wasn't the case. 

    Even if CPAs didn't work this way, failure to pay is not a legitimate way to decline a contract... would you be happy if at the end of the month your employer didn't pay you and when you asked your boss why they said they decided they didn't need you any more and thought the non-payment would make it obvious. 

    Amazon has gone down its own path, it doesn't use CPA for reoccurring payments just the same way as it resisted using 3D secure and other security features for years; they always claimed their own security checking was better than the banks.


  • prettyandfluffy
    prettyandfluffy Posts: 646
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    After being caught out by auto renewal on this kind of payment, I try to avoid setting them up because they are more difficult to cancel than direct debits, you don't always get notification of renewal and so they slip through the net.  I much prefer direct debit payments because I find them more visible and easier to manage.
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,665
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    The credit card number had remained the same, but the expiry date and security number on it were different from those provided to Mcafee. He had not activated the replacement credit card to which the details related. 

    CPA, do not need CVV or EXP. But retailers can use Visa Account Updater (Mastercard have the same) & request new card details, even if card has been stopped & new number issued. All part of the card regulations.

    But to echo saomeone else. Stop paying for something that is no longer required. Windows built in defence if more than good enough, & does not slow systems down.
    Life in the slow lane
  • surreysaver
    surreysaver Posts: 3,987
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    First thing I do when buying something with a continuous payment authority, is cancel the continuous payment authority. Although this can be laborious with some organisations, as they obviously want you to forget that you've got an automatic renewal, so it is sort of a 'scam', as they know people will forget, or won't bother to cancel, a continuous payment authority.
    I just keep a diary of when things renew that I may actually want to renew 
    I consider myself to be a male feminist. Is that allowed?
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