The audacity of charging the customer to autopay his bill

GreedAutomating your bill payments is possibly the best thing since sliced bread. Not only are you assured of an on-time payment, but you traditionally save the cost of a stamp and envelope too. That is, unless you want to auto-pay your State Farm Insurance bill. In order to use the auto-pay service from State Farm, a service which practically guarantees them access to my money, I have to pay them an extra fee.

It's not that State Farm charges an arm and a leg for the opportunity to use their auto payment service that irks me, it's the fact that they charge me for a service that takes less of its time, resources and money to process than a paper check. Charging customers for an auto payment may have been "OK" when it was a shiny new way to make life easy for your customers, but it has become a standard free feature for most companies. It's ridiculous that companies are charging customers for the ability to pay them electronically.

While there are other options for auto-paying bills, the addition or removal of discounts on a bimonthly basis causes my State Farm bill to fluctuate, making a third party auto payment system impractical if not impossible.Rather than charge me a dollar a month just to make a profit on my payment, I'd rather these companies absorb payment processing into the cost of doing business or, barring that, hide the charge in my ever-fluctuating monthly bill. In the end, the fee that State Farm charges for using their auto-pay is small enough that I won't switch to another company because I've had great experiences with them; but it's high enough that it annoys me every month.

Hopefully State Farm and other companies realize that it's to their advantage to have my permission to charge me every month and get rid of these unfriendly and wasteful fees.

Read Full Story