Like most people these days, we use online bill paying. We enter our bill pay information once, the company sends an e-mail notification of the bill, we review it, and if it’s correct, we click Pay.
What we won’t do is Auto Bill Pay where you give a company permission to automatically debit your credit card or bank account every month. This is especially true if the company in question is a cable or water company, or anything that purports to be a health club. The first two are prone to errors (see my recent column about my neighbor’s $41,000 water bill after a meter reader transposed two digits); the latter is notorious for continuing to charge your credit card months after you’ve cancelled (or have expired). Further, our credit cards are compromised too often these days requiring replacement so an automatic debit is a recipe for disaster and/or having your water turned off. This is especially annoying in August.
What’s puzzling about our cable company’s billing site is that your only two options are either automatic bill pay (NEVER!) or having to re-input all of your bank or credit card information each and every month. I was hoping I had misunderstood this and contacted their Customer Chat line. Here is the verbatim transcript:
Alwin: Thank you for contacting XYZ Cable. At the end of our chat you will be given the option of taking a brief survey. My name is Alwin. How may I assist you?