More than a year ago, a man in New Jersey entered his PNC Bank debit card information into the Sirius website so he could sample the satellite radio company’s service for a month. Unfortunately, he only realized in recent weeks that the free trial had auto-renewed into a paid subscription.
He admits to the Newark Star-Ledger’s Bamboozled column that, had he been paying better attention to his checkbook, he would have noticed the $15/month going out the door.
“Ultimately the onus is on me,” he says.
He did contact Sirius to cancel the subscription and find out some more information regarding his account. That’s when he realized the while Sirius had his correct credit card number, the on-file expiration date was dead wrong. Not for an old card; just plain old incorrect.
Trying to figure out how his card could have been charged for a 12 months in a row with an incorrect expiration date, Bamboozled contacted PNC Bank, where a rep would only say, “Our policies are consistent with other banks.”
It was time to contact those others, all of whom said a transaction with an incorrect date would not go through.
So how did this man’s card get charged over and over again?
The bank told the customer it could only investigate the matter if he disputed the charges. Rather than dispute all of them, he filed a claim on one charge to see what could be learned.
So far, the bank hasn’t come up with any explanation, reports Bamboozled. However, Sirius did elect to refund the man 9 months of his subscription.
“It comes as a bit of a surprise,” he says. “They really didn’t have to but it’s nice.”
Let this man’s story stand as a reminder to everyone that a “free trial” that requires you to enter a credit/debit card will almost certainly turn into a paid subscription at the end of the trial. So be sure to mark on your calendar when that trial ends — and end it at least one day early so you can’t get hit with questionable “your request didn’t get processed in time” claims. Or, even better, just don’t sign up for the trial.
In the meantime, feel free to take your guesses — educated or otherwise — as to how this man’s debit card was charged, even with the wrong expiration date.