As New Zealanders struggle to cancel direct debits for online services, new guidelines are on the way
New Zealand’s Banking Ombudsman Scheme will update its guidelines on credit and debit cards as consumers struggle to cancel recurring payments for online subscriptions.
This follows numerous complaints made by banking customers “frustrated” at their respective bank’s inability to cancel or stop a subscription service such as anti-virus programs, streaming services or online trials from accessing direct debit.
“Many people assume such payments are direct debits that can be cancelled by their bank,” said Nicola Sladden, a banking ombudsman. “But they are actually authorised through the card provider – usually Visa or MasterCard.”
She added that it is “notoriously difficult” to cancel the service without the co-operation of the company receiving the payments.
“Many people also think they can cancel their card or close their credit card account, and this will stop future payments. But this isn’t necessarily so because the authority remains valid until cancelled with the company.”
To close a payment altogether, she recommends dealing with the company directly and if the request is ignored, banks can assist in recovering the money through a “chargeback” – essentially reverting payment back to the customer after a cancelled service.