What Is A Gray Charge And Why Is It Bad?

To keep money from leaking out of your pocket like a leaky molasses pipeline, you should avoid gray charges. A gray charge isn’t fraud, exactly. No one stole it from you but your own laziness and forgetfulness. Does that sound harsh? It is, but it’s true. Fortunately, you can banish them from your life.

It’s money that you could have in your pocket, but don’t. What are some examples of gray charges that you might be putting up with right now?

  • Subscriptions that you did sign up for, but meant to cancel. You know, like the Netflix that you haven’t watched in months or the newspapers that you recycle without even reading the comics.
  • Subscriptions that you never signed up for in the first place. Some sneaky retailers do this. Don’t let them.
  • Abandoned rebates. You buy something based on the price with a rebate, but don’t bother to fight the rebate processor.
  • Non-refunds. You mean to return something for a refund or cash in a money-back guarantee…but don’t.

How can you get rid of them? Well, look your bills over closely. Lifehacker recommends BillGuard, which we have no experience with, but is a service that keeps companies from charging you money you didn’t authorize. There’s no substitute for quickly skimming your debit and credit card statements for things that aren’t supposed to be there.

Now, please excuse me while I cancel the online New York Times subscription that I’ve been meaning to cancel since mid-2012. Thanks for the reminder, Consumerist.

Your Wallet Called: Grey Charges Are Costing You Dearly [US News & World Report] (via Lifehacker)