SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Setting up automatic payments can be a good way to make sure your bills are paid on time.
The downside is, they can be a pain to cancel.
By the time Ashley Dernovsek of Scottsdale let me know about her situation, she had been charged twice for a condo that she was no longer living in.
When she decided to move out of the place she'd been leasing, she wanted to make sure to do everything right.
She gave the required 30-day notice, kept the electricity on so the condo could be shown to potential renters, and made her last automatic payment from her bank account.
The charge was supposed to have been for a prorated amount, since the move-out date was a few days into the month.
Instead, she says her property management company took out an entire month's rent -- nearly $1,000.
So, she contacted Real Property Management East Valley.
"I understand errors happen,'" said Ashley. "I'll let them know and they'll get my money back."
Ashley says the first person she spoke to said she would be able to get her money back the same day. When that didn't happen, the next person said it would take three to five days. But after a week passed, and still no money, she says she got frustrated.
"Nothing was happening. And I'm calling and calling and now the receptionist is putting me to their voicemail and they are not returning my calls," said Ashley.
The next month rolled around, and she says it happened again. Another $930 gone, this time with overdraft fees.
Ashley couldn't believe it.
"I had taken every precaution. I spoke with them. I spoke with my bank. This is where I came in and said, 'Who else can I contact?'"
That's when she let me know.
We called the property management company with Ashley on the line, and after a couple of questions, they hung up on us.
But within a few days Ashley says things started to quickly change.
"All of a sudden my money is coming left and right," said Ashley.
Ashley told us she finally got all of her money back, plus the overdraft fees.
We never did hear from Real Property Management East Valley about why this happened, but we can all learn from what Ashley did to protect herself.
She had written proof from the management company of the prorated amount she was supposed to pay, and when it should happen. And that helped us help her.
So if a business won't stop debiting your account even after you have requested in writing that they do so, here are some tips that can help cancel continuous billing :
-Notify your bank by phone and in writing that your authorization for the recurring transaction is no longer valid
-Dispute the charge with your bank or credit card company