It’s so easy these days to order products and services online and be pretty confident about the security of your credit card. It’s also a potential hazard if you don’t have a system in place to ensure that when payments are supposed to stop they do so.

I’m in the midlle of an annoying and hopefully not too costly exercise because I did not have such a system in place.

Four months ago I signed up for one of the many autoresponder services and later cancelled it, from memory within the 30 day money back guarantee period. Do I have a confirmation document on my computer that the supplier actually accepted my cancellation? Well, actually, no. The company shows the account as “deactivated” by me, but not with a date. So I am going to have to rely on their goodwill to check their records and reimburse at least some of the payments.

Fortunately the service provider is quite reputable, and I’m confident the matter will be resolved quickly and honourably. And the card is American Express, who have told me they will help me resolve it. But I’m still kicking myself that I let it get to this. And if it can happen for a relatively small amount of money then it can happen for larger amounts. The answer is not to “remember to do something” but to have a system in place, with appropriate documentation, properly filed, and a signoff system for the credit card statements.

I did this punctiliously when I worked in large organisations. How did I manage that? Someone had established a system and I went along with it.

But in a home based business it’s not always easy to set up the right systems. Why? Well, mainly because it’s the owner doing it, like everything else. And if you’re like me, organised enough “when it matters” but not obsessive about detail, things can slip.

Which is a bit like leaving a tap running and wondering why you have a bigger water usage bill.


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