Wednesday, 13 July 2016

When Did You Last Check Your Direct Debits?

Hi Honeys
After my last post, warning of the horrors of identity theft, today I thought I'd highlight another "sting" (of sorts) albeit a perfectly legal one!
Direct debits & the dangers of auto renew...
We all have direct debits set up, yes?  Direct debits are those wonderful, silent, transactions made through your bank/checking account that pay bills automatically and always on a set day of the month, freeing us to enjoy life instead of waiting in line in the bank.  Wonderful idea! Couldn't live without it!

You're waiting for the "but...." aren't you honeys?  Well, here it is....
Direct debits are a complete life/time saver when they're managed well, but... because our direct debits (in particular payments for utilities, insurance policies and cable subscriptions) auto renew every year... well there is a tendency to let managing these accounts slide after a while.

The renewal quote arrives in the mail and gets popped into a drawer to be dealt with "later."  Only later never comes and before you know it, one day you're not so busy, or maybe a little bored and actually open one of these renewal envelopes only to be hit with a huge shock! We're paying how much!!!

You see honeys, every time you let a policy auto re-new each year, you enter into a new contract with the Company providing that service, whether it's an insurance policy, your electric or gas supply or your cable TV subscription.  In your renewal letter it will state this, because consumer laws say they have to tell us, and the letter will also provide a date for this new contract to begin.

The letter will usually give us two to three weeks notice of the beginning of this new contract and somewhere in the letter it will helpfully inform us that if we'd like to carry on using their service we don't have to do anything.  If the company doesn't hear from us, our contract will automatically renew on the set date.  Aha! but at what cost though?

Most policies (unless you're very, very lucky) will increase in cost each year when they renew, leading to the aforementioned huge shock when you finally get around to opening one of the letters. This is exactly what happened to us yesterday.

We have a blue box.   No, not a TARDIS! although I'd so love to have one of those.... Focus, Rosie! oops! Sorry :) Well, inside this blue, non tardis shaped box are items belonging to our furbaby Jade. Her little booklet from the vet, which gets stamped and signed each year when she has her yearly innoculation booster, her microchip registration documents and of course her pet insurance documents.

Her pet insurance was due to renew on 1st August and when it arrived yesterday Hubby actually opened it to find Jade's policy had increased to the grand sum of £34.40 per month!  This is a policy which cost a little over £16 a month two years ago.  Hubby went off and checked a bank statement and sure enough, for the last year the premium had jumped to almost £28 per month! For a policy we've never made a claim on!

If you've read any of this blog before honeys, you'll know that Jade is the centre of our home.  She is loved beyond measure and I hope that Hubby & I are good furbaby parents.  Jade has her booster each year to keep her healthy, she was spayed and micro chipped in case, God forbid, she ever gets lost.  We've done everything responsible owners should do and yet Jade's insurance has gone from a little over £12 to £34.40 in two years!

A single phone call to another insurance company (I had intended to call around for two or three quotes) and Jade had a better policy with better coverage, ie: it covers her to the sum of £8,000 per illness where the upper limit was £6,000 on her previous policy, and the new premiums are £21.74 per month.  A saving of over £12 per month, more treats for Jade, as if she doesn't have enough already :)

So, as you can see honeys, it's worth staying on top of policy renewals and even if you think you have a good deal, it doesn't hurt to look around before allowing that auto renewal.  We have our gas & electric deal coming to an end, as well as our buildings & contents insurance for our home and I'm on a roll! Off to look for new quotes :)

Do you keep a watchful eye on your direct debits honeys?  Or are you, like me, guilty of popping letters away for "later"  Even if your deals aren't due to renew for a while, it might be worth checking what's available. Always, always, always read the fine print though and be very aware of what you're tying yourself into and for how long.  Is there a cancellation fee if you change supplier before your renewal date for instance?

There are so many comparison sites available online to help you compare products and deals, and there is definitely money to be saved, as our baby Jade's insurance shows.   Just be sure it's a reputable site before entering your data and look for a little box at the end of the form, giving permission for the company to pass on your details "to trusted third parties/partners" and if it isn't already, untick it or you'll be snowed under with junk mail or worse! See yesterday's post :/

Til next time dear ones, keep smiling and hugging because the world needs your smile and your hugs, huggles always xx


  1. I just had something like this happen with my daughter's renters insurance! What a good reminder for us all.

    1. Heidi!Hello honey xx Oh no! That's so annoying! I honestly could kick myself for not checking Jade's renewal last year, but at least Hubby found out in time this year, bless him :) How's your week going honey? I had some fun in the garden today taking pics for tommorrows Picture Perfect Project post, we have blueberries & two tiny apples in the back garden :) Sending heaps of huggles dear wee friend xxx