‘My Tastecard auto-renewed by accident – now it won’t give me my £40 back’

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"Tastecard wouldn't let me cancel my subscription"


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I bought a Tastecard as a gift for my parents in January 2019.

They didn't use the card as they found it too much hassle as you have to contact the restaurants in advance.

This was a user issue and in no way Tastecard's fault. However, having never used the card, I spotted a payment going out of my account via auto-renewal in January this year.

I asked my parents if they had used it and therefore wanted to renew, however they said no.

It later transpired that Tastecard had sent the £40 automatic auto-renewal reminder to them and not myself. They refused to accept any contact or instruction from me – the purchaser – which I find absolutely ridiculous despite the money coming out of my account.

In the end, I had to get my parents to contact them to cancel, but now Tastecard have refused to refund the full amount. They've given me £10 as a gesture of goodwill.

Again, Tastecard would not listen to me at all, they think they have done nothing wrong.

Dear Jamie,


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Unlike Amazon Prime and Netflix, Tastecard operates a very tight cancellations policy – and it can be quite stubborn about it.

We've heard several cases where users who've been unwittingly auto-renewed have called up to explain they didn't want to take out a new membership, only to be told they can't get a refund, unlike, for instance, Amazon Prime, which accepts that sometimes mistakes just happen.

Tastecard says it's unable to cancel memberships where the correct cancellation procedure has not been followed.

This is clearly stated in Tastecard's terms and conditions but isn't indicated on the card itself – which can catch users out.

In your situation, it was a case of failing to untick the auto-renewals box at the start of your initial subscription. You did this intentionally to keep your parents' options open, and assumed Tastecard would automatically email you before charging you anyway. However, this was not the case.

You also didn't tell Tastecard that it was a 'gift' and put your father's email address on the account, which complicated matters further.

As a result, at auto-renewal, it emailed your father and then three days later took the money out of your account.

You then tried to cancel after renewal, explaining that it was a genuine error, only to be turned away.

When I put the case to Tastecard's HQ, the company said it "benchmarks against Netflix" and "strives to offer the best customer service" but it still refused to acknowledge that in your case it was simply a mistake.

Instead, it pointed me to its terms and conditions page – which is irrelevant given that it was a genuine administration error.

The company has again refused to refund and cancel your subscription – instead offering you £10 back for a service you have stated you do not need. It told me it also offered to move the subscription into someone else's name – also unhelpful in this case.

In the future – and for anyone else buying a Tastecard subscription as a gift – always tick the 'gift' option at the checkout.

"This means that the card can be set up in an alternative name; the person you are gifting, as well as ensuring that it does not have an auto-renewal," Tastecard said.

If you are auto-renewed, unfortunately your options are limited with Tastecard, but you can still try the following:

  • Complain to Tastecard and explain why you weren't able to lodge a cancellation request. You can do this directly by emailing  [email protected] , or by using the  free online complaints tool Resolver .

  • If you paid via PayPal, contact it and ask for a refund under its money back guarantee.

  • If you paid via a debit or credit card, contact your bank or card provider and ask for a refund. There's no guarantee you'll get your money back – Section 75 legal protection only comes into force on purchases of £100 or more – but it's worth asking. The sooner you do this the better.

Disclaimer

Money Troubles aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions.

All information in this post was correct at date of publication.

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