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  • One annoying thing about VMedia billing

    (I've talked about this before. Someone might remember.)

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't want to use "pre-authorized" payment mechanisms. I made this abundantly clear when I signed on to VMedia, and have been paying my bills through internet banking from the beginning.

    The annoying part is the necessity to impart credit card info in order to initially subscribe, along with VMedia's determination to keep this info, and to keep trying to tap it for payment on the 1st of the month. This continues, despite choosing something else as the "preferred method" of payment, and it occurs simultaneously as I pay my bills.

    Needless to say, this caused real problems for me. I would pay a bill, only to see the account get a second tap if there was a delay in the transaction reaching VMedia. That means, either a double payment gets taken, or a penalty from either the bank or VMedia if the funds weren't there. I tried talking to VMedia's billing, but all I got was this wall of "policy" thrown at me. I literally had to trash my bank card and get a new one, in order to void the credit card info VMedia was acting on, and stop this stupidity.

    That may have stopped two problems, but the annoyance goes on. My account keeps getting flagged every so often at the beginning of a month, and I get these delinquency notices that threaten to cut service and/or fine me. These notices come from a "noreply@" box, so there's no responding to them. (Why not something we can at least reply to? It could provide an opportunity to supply a confirmation of payment.)

    The funds are not always available 5 or 6 days ahead, in order to keep your billing system completely happy. Sometimes I have to make the payment on the 30th, 31st or 1st. There shouldn't be anything wrong with that, and I don't understand the delay in VMedia receiving these payments. All other payments I make through internet banking are received immediately elsewhere.

    Today, I received another one of these notices. Yes, I made the payment on the 31st, and I know New Year's day and the weekend that followed might have contributed to the delay in receiving it (though it still should've been received the day it was made). But, I still think it's a disingenuous process that needs an adjustment. For one thing, I have never given VMedia the proper permission to take money from a bank or credit account (there was no informed consent, and the account was closed). And whatever happened to giving a long-standing customer any credibility for having always paid the bills?

    It's like the billing process is simply on some form of inflexible auto-pilot, without regard to what is logical, or what unnecessary damage it might do. Constantly flagging a customer that IS paying the bill is nuts, and bloody annoying. Surely there's a slightly more appropriate way of rigging this process?

  • #2
    Hi Alphaset,

    Really sorry for the confusion with regard to our billing process.

    VMedia operates as a prepaid service, with payment due on the first day of each month. This differs from the postpaid billing approach typically offered by the incumbents, which often come with a credit check and term. As such, if electing to pay by online banking, it is important to ensure that payment is made several days before the 1st of the month, so that it is received prior to the due date. It can take up to 3 business days for online banking payments to be received.

    In the event that payment has not been received by the 1st of the month and there is an outstanding balance due, automated email notifications are dispatched. We provide a grace period before an account is suspended, a late payment fee is applied, or we attempt to debit another payment method, in order to account for late EMT payments.

    We try to be as forthcoming as possible with regard to our billing practices, and this is covered at length in our Terms and Conditions of Service, as well as the "Paying Your VMedia Monthly Service Fee" email that is sent following signup.

    Hope this helps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Matt, we've already had this conversation, you and I.

      You've only managed to repeat back to me basically everything I've just told you.
      Read what I said above again. Everything you've just said reflects the "policies" I just complained about, and which I'm perfectly aware of.
      ,,
      BTW, I've never had to do any credit checks with anyone to subscribe to a common service like phone, internet or TV. And, even proactive billers, like (ugh!) Rogers, don't send delinquency warnings on the actual due date. (You don't see a customer relations problem with that?) Maybe that's my main point?

      A company shouldn't run this process on complete auto-pilot. The unintended results, as I'm explaining, show how harmful that can be. I've been paying VMedia through IB for 4 or 5 years now. The IB option has never been more important to me than it is right now, thanks to the state of everything in "Covidland". A grace period is fine, but why can't the system allow for the delay that only VMedia seems to experience with these payments? (If I pay on the 29th, they should see it at least on the 30th.)

      One thing you didn't comment on was my observation that VMedia won't scrub the credit card info, even if the client is already paying another way, and distinctly asks them to trash it. They're determined they're going to keep this info, and even try tapping it, as if they're entitled to, even after being actively denied the permission to do so, and even when the account itself has been scrapped. (What's the point?!)

      The last time we talked about this, I mentioned not being able to get the CC deleted, and how that, coupled with the account flagging, was probably the only ONE real problem I had with VMedia. Unless of course, if I were to supply ANOTHER one I can't permit them to have free access to. Some people get paid once, at the end of the month, and some simply don't agree with "pre-authorized" anything. (I sure don't. These systems cause serious problems.)

      Also, why is the communication from billing (in the form of a warning) only a 1-way avenue? What's wrong with a reply option that would allow payment confirmation? That was my other question.

      Here's a thought...
      Q. Would the whole issue be avoided, if I simply paid by e-mail transfer?
      It's certainly more instant, but I don't see that as an option.
      Last edited by AlphaSet; 2 weeks ago.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hello,

        The incumbent companies primarily operate as post paid service providers. Typically, service is delivered first, and following the service period, an invoice is generated. Payment is expected within a specified time frame (usually 30 days) of the invoice being available - the due date. If payment is not received by the due date, attempts to notify and secure payment are made, service may be suspended, and in many cases, there are late payment and administrative fees applied. In this scenario, you have a window to make payment, after the invoice has been provided and before the due date, before any notification or recovery efforts are made.

        This is not necessarily dissimilar to VMedia, however, we do have a slightly different approach, as we are not a postpaid service and operate a prepaid model. Many classical prepaid services (ex: prepaid mobile phones) simply suspend service immediately if payment has not been received, as per the nature of the product. We, of course, are very sensitive to the inconvenience this would cause our valued customers. If payment is not received by the due date, we do not immediately suspend service or levy late-payment fees, and instead provide a grace period for payments to reach us before taking next steps. With that said, during this grace period, an email may be sent advising that payment has yet to be received. It's important to note that your upcoming service fees are posted and available prior to the first day of the billing cycle - the due date. As an example, you can visit your My Account today, see your statement and breakdown of fees for the February billing period, and make a payment. This mimics the post paid providers, except the review and payment submission window occurs prior to the service window, as opposed to after.

        With regard to turn around times for payments made via online banking, this does vary unfortunately, depending on the institution. We receive online banking payments from some institutions within 24 hours, while others may take up to 3 business days. On our end, the process of applying payments to outstanding invoices is automated and occurs immediately, once payment confirmation is provided by the institution. Interac transfer is certainly less variable and it sounds like this may be a good option for you. Payments via Interac transfer are generally received and applied within hours of being made. You can pay by Interac transfer at any time by logging in to your My Account and selecting the Payment History tab at the top. On the right, you will see your statement for the next billing period, which you can select and review the fee breakdown, and select the Pay Now button. On the Pay Now page, there are tabs at the top to select the desired payment method: credit card, bank payment, Interac. I do think this section could be more appropriately highlighted and directed to from our initial My Account landing page though, and we'll be reviewing how this could be better implemented.

        You are correct that we do require a credit card on file, and I know this is a particular point of frustration for you. We try to be very transparent with regard to this policy, and I hope that the ability to use Interac transfer as a more immediate alternative payment method is satisfactory.

        I think it's important to note that the processes and automations we have in place, with respect to our billing practices, are not intended to inconvenience our valued customers, but instead, to increase value. These approaches allow us to offer VMedia service(s) at the lowest possible price point, and focus efforts and resources on further developing and enhancing our service offering.

        Comment


        • #5
          Just for the sake of drawing a proper parallel, I need to correct you on the incumbents, at least Bell and Rogers - they're NOT post-paid. They bill proactively, just like VMedia. I've had accounts with both of them. Just so you know.

          Rather than keep badgering you about "how the billing process functions", I'll just pull out the one key difference with VMedia that creates the problem I'm talking about, which is this insistence on a credit card as a "back-up" payment method, and charging it immediately on the due date. The reason I'm making such a stink about it is because VMedia didn't acquire this information from me honestly, and with my informed consent, and didn't receive my permission to use it as a pre-authorized payment avenue. (I did explain this to you some time back.)

          In order to contract the services, VMedia would only accept the initialization payments by CC. At the time, I found this a little odd, and offered to pay 2 or 3 other ways, but there was apparently some reason why they couldn't accept anything but a CC (not even e-transfers). I stated, before I even gave the info, that I wasn't comfortable with it, and that I had no intention to give them permission to tap this card later. I was "assured" that I could change my "preferred method" from "credit card" to "banking", once I had an account, and that the CC would no longer be an issue. I believe I was even told I could delete this information myself.

          I quickly realized, only after setting up the account, that 2 of those things I was told weren't correct (true). I contacted billing on the first week, and asked for the CC to be deleted, and reiterated that I was not consenting to its use. They refused. This left me 2 choices - either cancel my account, or replace my bank card. (You know which one I chose.) I don't recall signing or agreeing to anything of this nature. Of course, I've never scoured the TOS for some hidden clause on compulsory CC access, but surely such a thing wouldn't be very ethical.

          Now, if VMedia wasn't trying to tap the other card right on the first of the month, after I've already made the internet banking payment, and gave an actual "grace period", as you say, there wouldn't be a problem. (That grace period would only need to be 3 days, max.) No delinquency notices would be triggered, and everybody would be happy.

          I've had a look at that "pay now" option. Obviously e-transfer isn't offered. The "Interac" section has no qualifiers. Just a "submit" button. I'm certainly not going to click it, just to find out what happens. (For all I know, it will immediately try to use the stale CC info .) Will it give me the option of a secure Interac transaction, or is it going to need me to give VMedia the account number and password to record, in order to use this option?

          If it offers a normal, private Interac transaction, I'll try it next time to see if the payment is received any faster. (Though I don't know why it should be any different than internet banking.)
          Last edited by AlphaSet; 2 weeks ago.

          Comment


          • #6
            A lot to unpack here.

            With regard to the Interac payment option, you will be directed to an Interac landing page, where you will then select your financial institution, and then log in to your online banking portal to complete the transaction. You do not need to manually enter your account details, as they are passed automatically by initiating this from your My Account. You can read more about Interac's Online for Business solution here.

            Again, I am very sorry that our credit card requirement is a point of frustration for you, especially if this was not conveyed effectively during your initial sign up call. Despite this requirement, you seem to have found a loop hole that works for you.

            We certainly do our utmost to be open and transparent with regard to this policy. It is disclosed in our Terms and Conditions of Service, and immediately following sign up we send an informational “paying your VMedia service fees” email. In this email, we explain that credit card is the primary payment method, but that other options may be used to pay for service fees, if inclined. In this email we recommend that payment by other methods be made five business days prior to the first of the month (to be safe), in order to ensure receipt. We also expressly detail that in the event payment is not received and you have an outstanding balance, your credit card will be charged. Furthermore, should an additional payment be received following this, it will be applied as a credit to your account. If this does occur and two payments are received, a refund can be facilitated as well, upon request.

            For clarification, if you frequently pay using an alternative payment method, we do not immediately attempt to charge your credit card on the first day of the month, if payment has yet to be received. This is something we did do quite a few years ago, but in 2018 we adjusted this process. For those who pay frequently by an alternative payment method, we wait until the 5th day of the month, and only then do we attempt to bill via credit card. We do send out missed payment notifications during this grace window though, and if you have already made payment, these can simply be ignored. These notifications are automated, and we believe necessary. Some may simply have forgot to make a payment, or their credit card details may have changed, and this notification is an important and appreciated reminder.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MattVMedia View Post
              For clarification, if you frequently pay using an alternative payment method, we do not immediately attempt to charge your credit card on the first day of the month, if payment has yet to be received. This is something we did do quite a few years ago, but in 2018 we adjusted this process. For those who pay frequently by an alternative payment method, we wait until the 5th day of the month, and only then do we attempt to bill via credit card. We do send out missed payment notifications during this grace window though, and if you have already made payment, these can simply be ignored. These notifications are automated, and we believe necessary. Some may simply have forgot to make a payment, or their credit card details may have changed, and this notification is an important and appreciated reminder.
              I can confirm this as my experience - my card doesn't get charged on the first if the bank payment is slightly delayed.

              Comment


              • #8
                For clarification, if you frequently pay using an alternative payment method, we do not immediately attempt to charge your credit card on the first day of the month...
                I can confirm this as my experience - my card doesn't get charged on the first...
                If this is true, then why did I get notifications (on the 1st) saying they "failed to recover the payment from the CC"? (Or something to that effect.) That would certainly seem to indicate there was an attempt to tap the (discontinued) credit card.

                Look, obviously unintended things happen here, simply because of the lack of a window between "due date" and "notification" / attempted recovery. If your 5-day grace period delayed the notifications and the attempted recovery, I wouldn't be writing all this.

                I also fail to see the point in refusing to delete discontinued credit card info, or even refusing to remove a valid credit account when asked to. Seems to be some confusion as to who has the authority over such a thing.
                Last edited by AlphaSet; 2 weeks ago.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hello,

                  The email we send covers both missed/failed credit card transactions, as well as missed/unreceived payments by alternative payment methods.

                  Subject: Your Credit Card Declined / Missed Online Payment - Payment Required

                  Perhaps we can separate these and have two discreet notifications, for better clarity.

                  We do not send notifications, with respect to missed payments, on the first day of the month. Missed payment notifications are sent beginning on the third day of the month, should an outstanding balance remain. Earlier today we reviewed our logs to ensure consistency, and you received this notification on January 3rd. No missed payment notifications were sent prior to this.
                  ​​​​​

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I didn't say every notice came on the 1st. Just to be clear.

                    I'm sure the last one I saw wasn't worded like your example. I wish I hadn't deleted it, as I remember it being more like the example I paraphrased. And, perhaps with New Year's Day this time around, it seemed a bit soon to see the notice on the 3rd.

                    The delay receiving internet banking payments is strange. I don't know why it would take 3-6 days longer to register a payment coming from the same bank account my VISA is attached to. Both forms of exchange use basically the same mechanisms (with VISA actually using an extra step). Sounds more like companies just catering to the whims of the financial agencies that thrive off the promotion of CCs. (Hell, they're already trying to eliminate cash and everything else that doesn't maximize profits.)

                    It's just frustrating to know I've paid the bill, while trying to ignore these notices every other month or so, for the duration of my subscription. It strikes me as unnecessarily rigid and avoidable, from a customer relations point of view. If there really is a legitimate problem some day, and I ignore the message, as suggested, that would end up being on me, wouldn't it? That's what makes the notice problematic.

                    Anyway, I've beaten this one to death, Matt. I'm done. All I would ask of you is to enter the feedback. I've told this from the perspective of a customer who hasn't failed to pay his bills since signing on, and how it strikes me.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AlphaSet View Post



                      If this is true, then why did I get notifications (on the 1st) saying they "failed to recover the payment from the CC"? (Or something to that effect.) That would certainly seem to indicate there was an attempt to tap the (discontinued) credit card.
                      This is what I'm wondering. It might be specific to your account. I know in my online account there are billing preferences, which I assume dictates if/when they attempt a credit card payment. Mine is set to "Bank Payment". It might be worth checking if yours is still set to that. That might explain why you're getting charged on the first.

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