1. thesuzukimethod's Avatar
    I'll try and keep this simple/short - Curious if anyone has any help or suggestions they can offer me.

    Brief Timeline
    1) ~$250 Vzw Bill is due 9/9/09
    2) Bill is set to auto-pay from checking account
    3) Due to temporary cashflow issues, I pay said bill on 9/5 w/ a different account
    4) I also switch auto pay to this account on 9/5
    5) Bill balance reverts to $0 (paid in full via c-card - shows up on c-card website, etc.
    6) on 9/9/09, VZW autopay still goes through with old autopay account, resulting in a -$250 balance on my VZW account
    7) Overdraft at bank (insufficient funds - see 3) above)
    8) call to Verizon to fix, they assure me it will reverse charges in 3-5 days...not happy about this, but i guess i understand.
    9) 7 days later, no refund, another call to CS and they tell me "financial services" says there is a hold on the money, and I wont get it back for 2 more weeks.

    My cashflow issues are resolved, so I'm no longer negative, but my credit union wont refund the insufficient funds fee till they see the refund come back from VZW, but by the time VZW refunds, my new statement will have posted (it already has actually), so the refund wont match the debit, and credit union wont refund the money..

    Is there anything I can do to
    A) get the money back (in full) and quicker - w/o being a **** to CS? (I hate being a ****, but i know how)
    B) get verizon to cover the fee?

    I'm pretty laid back, so my frustration is still pretty minor...but I'd really like to see VZW do something to help me (the last CSR was very nice, but said there was basically nothing they could do...)

    09-16-09 11:28 PM
  2. vatothe0's Avatar
    Make another payment so your credit balance is $250. This way full get the right credit back and be done.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    09-17-09 12:40 AM
  3. TwinsX2Dad's Avatar
    EFT payments are generally queued 3-5 days in advance & typically cannot be stopped within that time frame. They are processed through the ACH (Automated Clearing House) - so now you have your billing company, your financial institution, the clearing house, and you. Too many & no protections.

    From Verizon Wireless
    1. Can I stop an Automatic Debit payment amount before my checking account or credit card is debited?

      You would select the Auto Bill Pay option and click on the Suspend button. You would then be prompted through the Suspend payment process. You can elect the Suspend button up to 4 business days before your scheduled automatic payment. If you choose to stop payment within 4 business days from your scheduled payment, please contact your bank to stop payment.
    2. What if I need to stop a payment that has already been made?
      If you want to cancel a payment, please contact your bank or credit card company to see if the payment or charge to your account has already been processed and can be stopped.
    Refunds can take weeks & typically will not be processed unless the account is final.

    You had an NSF, which probably meant your CU did not pay the amount. You will get charged an NSF fee by them & possibly VZW. You signed on for the auto-pay & agreed to the terms - it doesn't matter that you paid a day or two in advance.

    Also from the above link:

    Your payment will be reversed by Verizon Wireless if the transaction is returned by your bank for any reason. Verizon Wireless will charge your account a fee of up to $25.00 per returned transaction.

    I don't care how "convenient" it is - using ETF (auto-pay) is one of the dumbest things you could ever do with your finances. You are giving the company full access & permission to access your account for any reason & there are no consumer safeguards or recourse. Use your bank's or CU's Auto Bill Pay instead. Yes, you have to authorize the payments - you can do automatic drafts, too - but you retain complete control.

    From ClarkHoward.com:

    Aug 26, 2009 -- Automated account debits come with risk of never stopping

    Do you give any companies the right to draft your checking account for a monthly bill? It could be a utility company, a health club, a mortgage lender, your cable service, a cell provider or any other business.

    Once your contract with them ends, that business may continue to make monthly debits via Automated Clearing House (ACH) from your account. Giving authorization to regularly draft an account is an open-ended arrangement, regardless of your contract.

    Getting that money back can be a grueling process. The problem with ACH payments is that there are no consumer protection statutes governing what happens if you're cheated on purpose or in error.

    The New York Times reports one consumer had a real nightmare with a car loan. The note was paid in full, yet the loan servicer continued to take monthly payments! The customer's own bank was no help and it was a fight every month to get the money back.

    So what's the solution? Use electronic bill pay that you set up so you can shut it down anytime you want. That's the distinction between e-bill pay and traditional ACH payments. The former you control, the latter is out of your control.

    And never allow a health club to draft your checking account. We've had more complaints about this industry than any other on the show.
    09-17-09 01:04 AM
  4. vatothe0's Avatar
    You know what does stop ACH payments for good? Closing the account or getting a different debit card number.

    Having auto pay based on a debit card isn't too bad of a risk. Yes they can still take whatever amount they want but if becomes a problem at any time, you just shut off the card and it's over. Much easier than getting a different checking account.
    09-17-09 01:17 AM
  5. thesuzukimethod's Avatar
    Thanks all
    Fortunately (?) - my CU is really good, and spotted me the money to cover the bill, so I only have the NSF from them. They said they would refund said fee if/when the money was returned.
    Also updated: VZW also said they would help with the fee if my CU would not, assuming I faxed them proof of the NSF fee.

    Given the details above (thanks again) - this appears to be a case of bad timing (e.g. payment and switching payment accounts just after the payment had been placed in the queue).

    I see your point about ETF control, and have heard horror stories about places like health clubs, cable providers, etc. I guess I wanted to believe that VZW is above them (and given their actions it seems they are...they seem willing to help, but unable to change the ACH/ETF flow of funds) - but actually - this is the reason I switched my ETF to pay from my credit card and not my checking account. (more easily disputed, reversed, etc.)

    thanks again. I'll post back if/when things are resolved, assuming there is something new to report.
    09-17-09 09:01 AM
  6. mikestorm's Avatar
    Back in the day I used to work for a bank and handled things like this all the time.

    Here's some food for thought: It's just a reversal of fee income from you CU's point of view (in other words, instead of making $57,250 in NSF fee income that day, they make $57,225), but any fees rebated to you from VZW is a flat out customer expense from their point of view.

    If VZW offered to pay my overdraft fees like that, I'd HATE to take them up on it, especially since it's only increasing the profits of my credit union...
    09-17-09 06:20 PM