Few days back I wanted to end my relationship with an online Bengali movie streaming service called http://www.databazaarmedia.com. I had a nice relationship with them for quite a number of months, but then I felt otherwise and thought about cancelling the subscription I had. It was a monthly subscription where they used to charge my card once a month and everything was hunky dory. So couple of days before the next billing due date, I logged on their site and went to my account maintenance section to un-subscribe. And that’s when the story began.
I un-subscribed. And then I went to the payment section to delete my card information. I found that there was no delete option available. Uncomfortable with this (and remembering something similar I read earlier in a blog), I tried to overwrite the card number I had saved with a random fake number. I tried multiple times, but the system did not accept the number I was typing in. A little bit of googling, and I realised that the credit card numbers have a particular validation algorithm – called Luhn Algorithm. Taking help from http://www.getcreditcardnumbers.com I typed in one of the sample fake numbers, changed the validity month/year values, CVV etc., and the system allowed me to save the details. I understood that their database backups probably will retain a copy of my actual card details, but this was the best I could do at that time.
Surely enough, few days after that during the billing cycle run, I got an email alert that my monthly payment has been ‘declined’ and I should do something about it. Had I not changed my card details, in spite of cancelling the subscription, those guys would have taken the next month’s fees out from my pocket! What a fantastic strategy!
Spoken to a colleague about it, and came to know that he was a victim of same type of nonsense when he tried to cancel his LeapFrog subscription few years back – and kept on paying for TWO YEARS from his AMEX card (till the card expiry) as the company refused to acknowledge their capability of deleting the record or removing his name from the payment batch run (I mean, how ridiculous an excuse can one give)!!!
Hope this experience sharing will help someone in future.