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The Perils of Automatic Payments

Automatic payment systems are convenient, but convenience always has a cost. It is essential to audit your automatic payments regularly, or you may get an unhappy surprise.

I noticed a charge on my PayPal account. An email arrived confirming I had made the payment. I investigated and saw it was for a service I no longer used. The email concerned me, as I don’t particularly appreciate squandering my income.

The convenience of this service is obvious. You have a fire and forget system that makes sure you pay your bills on time. The problem I have run into is with PayPal. I have not managed these payments. Operator error is the main issue here, not the services offered by PayPal.

PayPal allows you to set up automatic payments to various services. This capability is very convenient, but it also offers the ability to Manage Automatic Payments. You can find it in the Menu for Payments.

automatic payments

There were many automatic payments on the list, and some were payments dating back over ten years. I busily cancelled all the transactions I didn’t recognize. There were payments from demised companies like TigerDirect.

Perils of Automatic Payments?

If you do not cancel these payments, companies can take your Paypal payment without notice. You permitted them already. It is possible to recuperate if payment is taken (via PayPal’s resolution process), but your money may not come back.

Are there companies that snap up demised companies’ assets and PayPal accounts? Do these companies maybe try to withdraw money when they shouldn’t? I hope not, but I would not be surprised.

Remember that phishing scams can be hidden in emails that look like automatic payment emails.

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