DreamHost $7.5 Million Billing System Error



  • Hosting Provider DreamHost was in the process of troubleshooting some issues with their billing system, and had believed that they had isolated and fixed the problem to some new servers they had installed a few weeks ago. They went back and manually re-ran the billing system for the days that the new servers had been erroring out, except for one important detail: when the dates in December were entered, they were entered as 2008 instead of 2007. In the words of Josh Jones's blog entry describing the incident:

    I can imagine the half second or so of thought that sprinted through the programmer’s mind when he was adding the ability to allow you to pass in what day to run the biller as though today is:

    Hmm.. well, I could see us POSSIBLY wanting to be able to bill for a future date.

    Well guess what… NO! We will NEVER want to rebill as though today were a day that hasn’t happened yet! But instead, somebody along the line (Sage? Me? Somebody else?) figured, “What’s the harm in keeping it flexible?”

    About $7,500,000 in harm, that’s what!

     

     In short, their entire customer base got billed (and in the case of customers who had arranged for automatic deductions, charged for) as if it was the end of 2008, and that they'd missed 11 months of payments. In addition to the blog entry there's also an updates page on what steps they're taking to fix it. Even has a link to Josh's picture:

    This guy is the reason your DreamHost Bill is so high this month 

    So in summary: when you screw up and cause your company to hit your customers with millions of dollars of erroneous bills and charges, your company just may post a shirtless picture of you.

     



  • Going by some of the replys to his blog, the next time we see that picture might be on the side of a milk carton.



  • No kidding... the tone of his blog post is basically:

    <FONT face=arial,helvetica,sans-serif>OMG dudes.... I screwed up sooooooooo royally!!!  Sorry about the year's worth of charges applied to your debit/credit card, LOL.  Hope that didn't, you know, make you go all "over-the-limit" and what not.  oh man this has been a loooooooong night!!!!!!!  sorry sorry sorry..... I'll check you guys later!!!!!!</FONT>

    Yeah, I feel so much better now.



  • I see a parade ...

    Of attorneys ...

    In clown suits ...

    Drooling ...

    "whoops"!?

    This is why in the "real world" "real companies" test, then they test again, then they test it again before rolling out any billing system changes.

    "Whoops we screwed up our direct deposit and your paycheck amount was debited instead of credited to your account. Soooooo sorry about that. We should have this fixed by April 1"

    I now have hundreds of dollars in overdraft charges a result of this
    error. Is DH going to issue a credit to me for these third party
    charges that resulted from the error as well?

    I think they may actually be legally liable for those, so yes, the probably should.  

     

     



  • Any halfway intelligent person would have blamed it on (and fired) the guy who entered the dates wrong, not the guy who allowed the incorrect input.



  • I'm glad I just ignore their bills anyway. (I see the email notices come in, then go to the website and pay.)

     Also, I'm glad I don't let them just ding my account!
     



  • I'm a customer of theirs (as of about two weeks ago). I saw the charge hit our account this morning, and by early afternoon I had received an email from them sincerely apologizing.

    I replied back with a link to the "Leaning towards A" posting, saying they should lean towards B.

    Hey, we all make mistakes. Just some of us make them in spectacular ways. As my favorite Demotivator poster says - "Sometimes the purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others"



  • it's nice to see real world WTFs as they actually happen most of the time.



  • That guy looks terrifyingly like myself. Seriously, the only reason I know that is not a photo of me is because I know such a photo has never been taken of me. I'm just glad I don't work in IT or I'd never get a job after this.



  • Looking into it a bit more... looks like twenty-something-shirtless-guy is actually the co-founder of the company, now in his 30's.



  • I like this part:

    [QUOTE]
    If, because of this billing mistake, you somehow incurred some fees from your bank or credit card company, please let us know after tomorrow (today we are just replying to all 10,000+ billing messages with a generic explanation) and we’ll do our best to make it right for you[/QUOTE]

     

    Uhm, no....you will refund everyone's money or face the wrath of some attorneys who don't find this as funny as you do!

     

    Lord knows I wouldn't expect to have a job if I ****ed something up that badly.  I'd probably quit out of shame and guilt after cleaning up the mess.  I certainly wouldn't be blogging about it when the situation was still unresolved.

     

    This is a perfect example of why I never enroll my checking account/debit card in any "automatic billpay" programs!   



  • @medialint said:

    This is why in the "real world" "real companies" test, then they test again, then they test it again before rolling out any billing system changes.

    1) This was "business as usual", only, the input date was december 31, 2008.

    2) I wish "real companies" would test.  According to this website and my own experience: there are no such "real companies".

    3) Aside of the obvious wtf on DH's part; who is stupid enough to have automatic billing on debit cards with overdraft charges?

    4) I love Europe.  No such thing as ridiculous "overdraft charges" here.



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    Any halfway intelligent person would have blamed it on (and fired) the guy who entered the dates wrong, not the guy who allowed the incorrect input.

    From what I've read, those may very well be the same guy.




  • Wow, I probably wouldn't have noticed this for a couple of weeks if you hadn't posted it.  I got charged and refunded, I'll have to see if they charge me an overlimit fee.

    I think they'll probably dish out a couple months of free hosting over this, so I don't really mind.  Dreamhost gets a lot of crap from the industry (and yes, this is a pretty big screwup) but you really can't get a better value if you're just doing personal sites.



  • I know that the bank fees incurred have a real cost in the customer's time/frustration. On the other hand, if you can't goto your bank and dispute the charge as unauthorized, they should be more than willing to reverse the bank fees as well as the original charge. If you have anyone auto billing your checking card, you should probably even be used to this by now.

    I dispute at least one charge on my account every 2-3 months. I know the company fucked up, but bank "overdraft fees" are BS and usually the customer service reps are happy to reverse them given a reasonable situation. If not perhaps you should switch banks...and hosting companies.



  • I am registered with a newly expired credit card, and cannot say enough how thankful I am for that. Instead of nasty overdraft charges, I got a nasty email warning me of account termination. Bit of a shock, but at least it didn't cost me anything.

    My compulsive paranoia toward letting any entity charge my account automatically has once again been vindicated.



  • You guys are fucking insane.  There is no reason to fire anyone for this.

     

    1.  Typing 2008 instead of 2007 is a 1 letter typo that obviously couldn't have been caught by any software.  Two fire someone over hitting a key .5 inches from the key they meant to hit would be ridiculous.

    2.  The programmer was just writing the system that someone asked for.  It's not as the OP stated that the programmer actively thought "Hey, lets allow people to bill for dates in the future."  It looks more like no one ever though of that situation, or perhaps even the designers asked for the capabilities.

    3.  "We'll do our best to make it right for you"  is pretty much the perfect wording.  A.  Refunding money might not do it for some customers.  Some customers will want some more compensation for their time, and their trust.  So obviously they can't just say, "We will refund all money."  And they can't promise to reimburse everyone for their monetary loses, because people will come up with some crazy loses they insued because of the ordeal.  So the best they can do really is try and make it right.  Some people are just going to be pissed about it because they will want more than the company can and/or should give them.



  • @Arancaytar said:

    I am registered with a newly expired credit card, and cannot say enough how thankful I am for that. Instead of nasty overdraft charges, I got a nasty email warning me of account termination. Bit of a shock, but at least it didn't cost me anything.

    My compulsive paranoia toward letting any entity charge my account automatically has once again been vindicated.

    I don't know about your neck of the woods but around here all bill/pay solutions have maximal payment limit, you set that sanely within your billing limit and nobody can bill you for years worth of payments automaticaly. If your system does not have it, its a WTF on its own. The more things are automate the more time you save and time is money.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @wooter said:

    4) I love Europe.  No such thing as ridiculous "overdraft charges" here.

    Bollocks. The OFT is taking the banks to court over just those sorts of charges:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/feedarticle?id=7211271

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2007/jul/27/accounts.business


     



  • @PJH said:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2007/jul/27/accounts.business

    Egad -- those of us who are in the U.S., [i]look[/i] at that site. The U.K. government actually told the credit card industry that their charges were too high, and did not reflect the costs of administration, and restricted them to £12 (~$25) as the fee for exceeded credit limits. Can you imagine our government [i]ever[/i] doing something like that, where the goal is to limit the financial industry to favor consumers?

    And now I'm all depressed, after realizing what I just wrote. 



  • @The Vicar said:

    @PJH said:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2007/jul/27/accounts.business

    Egad -- those of us who are in the U.S., [i]look[/i] at that site. The U.K. government actually told the credit card industry that their charges were too high, and did not reflect the costs of administration, and restricted them to £12 (~$25) as the fee for exceeded credit limits. Can you imagine our government [i]ever[/i] doing something like that, where the goal is to limit the financial industry to favor consumers?

    And now I'm all depressed, after realizing what I just wrote.

    what business does the government have telling a company how valuable their service is to their customers?  Shouldn't the customers make up their own mid if something is worth the price they are paying.  Last time I checked no one is forcing anyone to have a credit card.   I would look at the site, as you suggested;  however, I prefer capitalism.



  • OK, not all of Europe then.  My bank doesn't charge overdraft charges like that.  Authorized overdraft and unauthorized overdraft have their specific interest levels, but I set my bank account to not allow any overdraft.  If there isn't any money in the account, no money is being paid.

    That, and I don't do any bank transfers automatically, except for the rent which I schedule for once every month a fixed amount, and my landlord does not have any power to deduct funds from my account.



  • @tster said:

    Last time I checked no one is forcing anyone to have a credit card.

    My wife got a credit card in Canada for the sole purpose of having it to score a good credit rating.  Without credit card no credit rating, without credit rating no credit.  Like for a house or so.



  • I get charged about £25 each time something bounces from my Halifax debit account.  That amount can go beyond my overdraft facility, say I'm £-500 and they charge me £75 worth of charges for 3 bounces.  It will push me to £-575.  I'm not sure what happens after that point since the one time that happened I did manage to clear it up pretty quickly.  Now I just make sure to keep enough money in that account for things not to bounce as well as avoiding as many direct debit systems as possible.  I'd rather pay £1.00 more a month then risk the chance of getting x number of bounces.

    I think it's a definate rip-off.  How can it cost £25 for an administrative charge?  Who exactly is administering it and from what jade palace are they sitting in?  As far as I can tell it's an automated system, for the total amount they make off it the sytem should be automated.  What do they have, specially trained ants carrying the letter from the printer, sealing it in the envelope with their tiny little ant spit and then a little tribe of them carrying it off to the mail box?  They should just issue a warning or two and then lock the account.



  • @Tann San said:

    I get charged about £25 each time something bounces from my Halifax debit account.  That amount can go beyond my overdraft facility, say I'm £-500 and they charge me £75 worth of charges for 3 bounces.  It will push me to £-575.  I'm not sure what happens after that point since the one time that happened I did manage to clear it up pretty quickly.  Now I just make sure to keep enough money in that account for things not to bounce as well as avoiding as many direct debit systems as possible.  I'd rather pay £1.00 more a month then risk the chance of getting x number of bounces.

    I think it's a definate rip-off.  How can it cost £25 for an administrative charge?  Who exactly is administering it and from what jade palace are they sitting in?  As far as I can tell it's an automated system, for the total amount they make off it the sytem should be automated.  What do they have, specially trained ants carrying the letter from the printer, sealing it in the envelope with their tiny little ant spit and then a little tribe of them carrying it off to the mail box?  They should just issue a warning or two and then lock the account.

    Maybe you just shouldn't overdraft in the first place?

    I would tend to think this is really more of a punitive fine than anything else. If the charge wasn't there, many people wouldn't care about overdrafting. That would be ridiculous as people already spend enough money they don't have (credit cards). You didn't really expect them to just loan you money for free did you?



  • ah no, I wasn't really clear on that.  My overdraft is £500.  The bounces will take it over my overdraft as in -£575.

    What's the point of a punitive fine?  The end result is the same.  If I can't afford the initially bounced charge then chances are I won't be able to afford the fine either.  What takes the piss is that you might have say £5 bounced but they'll charge you £25 on top of that as a fine.  The other one I used to get quite often when I was at uni was that my rent would come out, I'd be £5-10 short due to some house bill direct debit but the bank would send me a letter to say "You have exceeded your arranged overdraft but we have paid it anyway.  You shall receive a £25 administrative charge for this at the end of next month as well as a daily interest rate of x until the amount we paid on your behalf is covered".  Nowadays I don't have these problems, I'm talking about a few years ago but I know the system hasn't changed in that time.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Maybe you just shouldn't overdraft in the first place?

    I would tend to think this is really more of a punitive fine than anything else. If the charge wasn't there, many people wouldn't care about overdrafting. That would be ridiculous as people already spend enough money they don't have (credit cards). You didn't really expect them to just loan you money for free did you?

    During high school, the balance on my bank account was pretty much perpetually negative. Never had a problem because of it.



  • @Tann San said:

    ah no, I wasn't really clear on that.  My overdraft is £500.  The bounces will take it over my overdraft as in -£575.

    What's the point of a punitive fine?  The end result is the same.  If I can't afford the initially bounced charge then chances are I won't be able to afford the fine either.  What takes the piss is that you might have say £5 bounced but they'll charge you £25 on top of that as a fine.  The other one I used to get quite often when I was at uni was that my rent would come out, I'd be £5-10 short due to some house bill direct debit but the bank would send me a letter to say "You have exceeded your arranged overdraft but we have paid it anyway.  You shall receive a £25 administrative charge for this at the end of next month as well as a daily interest rate of x until the amount we paid on your behalf is covered".  Nowadays I don't have these problems, I'm talking about a few years ago but I know the system hasn't changed in that time.

    My point is still the same. The overdraft charge is to make sure you don't want to keep doing that. You shouldn't overdraft. In the old days, this would have been bouncing a check. This would have resulted in (usually) much larger fines, and possible legal action. Consider yourself lucky to pay the overdraft charge instead. MUCH less hassle.

    The answer is not in the bank's charges. It is in the person using the card being responsible enough not to spend money they don't have. 


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @Tann San said:

    I get charged about £25 each time something bounces from my Halifax debit account.  That amount can go beyond my overdraft facility, say I'm £-500 and they charge me £75 worth of charges for 3 bounces.  It will push me to £-575.  I'm not sure what happens after that point since the one time that happened I did manage to clear it up pretty quickly.  Now I just make sure to keep enough money in that account for things not to bounce as well as avoiding as many direct debit systems as possible.  I'd rather pay £1.00 more a month then risk the chance of getting x number of bounces.

    I think it's a definate rip-off.  How can it cost £25 for an administrative charge?  Who exactly is administering it and from what jade palace are they sitting in?  As far as I can tell it's an automated system, for the total amount they make off it the sytem should be automated.  What do they have, specially trained ants carrying the letter from the printer, sealing it in the envelope with their tiny little ant spit and then a little tribe of them carrying it off to the mail box?  They should just issue a warning or two and then lock the account.

    Maybe you just shouldn't overdraft in the first place?

    There's a distinction here between 'authorised' and 'unauthorised' overdrafts. It is entirely sane to have an authorised overdraft, and to use it occasionally getting charged only interest on the amount borrowed.

    These charges are what the banks use when you use an 'unauthorised' overdraft (instead of, say, bouncing that cheque or not allowing you to withdraw money. That would be far too complicated for the UK banks. Or at least it wouldn't be as lucrative.) e.g. you have an overdraft of £500. You can go to -£500 and only get charged interest. As soon as you go to -£500.01, then you get walloped with the £25 fee as well.

    I would tend to think this is really more of a punitive fine than anything else. If the charge wasn't there, many people wouldn't care about overdrafting. That would be ridiculous as people already spend enough money they don't have (credit cards). You didn't really expect them to just loan you money for free did you?

    If it's a punitive fine, then it's not allowed under UK law (this is essentially what the court case is trying to decide,) the 'fee' must be commensurate with the cost incurred to the bank. The banks say it 'costs them £25' to allow someone to go over their agreed limit. OFT and numerous customers think that this figure is a tad high. (Why the banks didn't just turn round and call these a 'fee for service' I don't know. Would have solved most of the problems inherent in this whole mess.)

    Of course, those who don't incur these 'I can't properly handle my finances' stupidity charges in the first place are complaining that if the OFT win, then the banks will simply claw back any lost monies from everyone by hook or by crook. We currently have a system of 'free banking' over here where you don't (normally) get explicitly charged for using a simple bank account (stupidity charges above notwithstanding.) You can use ATMs, cheques, debit cards etc. any number of times per month and not (explicitly) pay extra. The pessimists are saying this model may change as a result of this case. 

    Note that this whole case is about charges on bank accounts only - the charges credit card companies impose for similar indiscretions are an entirely separate matter. 



  • They may have pissed off a lot of people, but think about the free advertising they got. I had never heard of DreamWorks until yesterday. And now I heard about it from several places!



  • @medialint said:

    I see a parade ...

    Of attorneys ...

    In clown suits ...

    Drooling ...

    Almost a haiku:

     

    I see a parade

    Of attorney in clown suits

    Drooling rabidly

         -- f'lar



  • @PJH said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:
    @Tann San said:

    I get charged about £25 each time something bounces from my Halifax debit account.  That amount can go beyond my overdraft facility, say I'm £-500 and they charge me £75 worth of charges for 3 bounces.  It will push me to £-575.  I'm not sure what happens after that point since the one time that happened I did manage to clear it up pretty quickly.  Now I just make sure to keep enough money in that account for things not to bounce as well as avoiding as many direct debit systems as possible.  I'd rather pay £1.00 more a month then risk the chance of getting x number of bounces.

    I think it's a definate rip-off.  How can it cost £25 for an administrative charge?  Who exactly is administering it and from what jade palace are they sitting in?  As far as I can tell it's an automated system, for the total amount they make off it the sytem should be automated.  What do they have, specially trained ants carrying the letter from the printer, sealing it in the envelope with their tiny little ant spit and then a little tribe of them carrying it off to the mail box?  They should just issue a warning or two and then lock the account.

    Maybe you just shouldn't overdraft in the first place?

    There's a distinction here between 'authorised' and 'unauthorised' overdrafts. It is entirely sane to have an authorised overdraft, and to use it occasionally getting charged only interest on the amount borrowed.

    These charges are what the banks use when you use an 'unauthorised' overdraft (instead of, say, bouncing that cheque or not allowing you to withdraw money. That would be far too complicated for the UK banks. Or at least it wouldn't be as lucrative.) e.g. you have an overdraft of £500. You can go to -£500 and only get charged interest. As soon as you go to -£500.01, then you get walloped with the £25 fee as well.

    I would tend to think this is really more of a punitive fine than anything else. If the charge wasn't there, many people wouldn't care about overdrafting. That would be ridiculous as people already spend enough money they don't have (credit cards). You didn't really expect them to just loan you money for free did you?

    If it's a punitive fine, then it's not allowed under UK law (this is essentially what the court case is trying to decide,) the 'fee' must be commensurate with the cost incurred to the bank. The banks say it 'costs them £25' to allow someone to go over their agreed limit. OFT and numerous customers think that this figure is a tad high. (Why the banks didn't just turn round and call these a 'fee for service' I don't know. Would have solved most of the problems inherent in this whole mess.)

    Of course, those who don't incur these 'I can't properly handle my finances' stupidity charges in the first place are complaining that if the OFT win, then the banks will simply claw back any lost monies from everyone by hook or by crook. We currently have a system of 'free banking' over here where you don't (normally) get explicitly charged for using a simple bank account (stupidity charges above notwithstanding.) You can use ATMs, cheques, debit cards etc. any number of times per month and not (explicitly) pay extra. The pessimists are saying this model may change as a result of this case. 

    Note that this whole case is about charges on bank accounts only - the charges credit card companies impose for similar indiscretions are an entirely separate matter. 

    I really can't argue UK law. I wouldn't waste my time reading about it either, since it doesn't affect me. 

    My point is simply that if you are complaining about overdraft fees of any kind, maybe you should look in the mirror. Review your finances, and figure out a way to make it never happen again. Take it like a man, and get over it. The bank is providing a service to these people. They don't have to offer overdraft protection. Like I said, in the old days, the check would simply bounce and you would be screwed. I will take a (relatively) small fine any day of the week over bouncing a check. (those who have been through this know how bad this can be)

    I would say that if you take away the right of the bank to fine people for overdrafts, the banks should take away the overdraft protection. Watch all the people who seem to not be able to handle their finances fall straight into financial ruin. A few bounced checks can easily do that to someone.

    I don't think I would be proud of my government for involving themselves in this kind of issue, and trying to control the business practices of banks. With any luck, I won't see this in the US for a while.

    <sarcasm>I can just sit back and enjoy the other paranoid laws that are even worse, safe in the knowledge that my government only removes freedom from the people, and not the large business that have the money to lobby against it. </sarcasm>


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @PJH said:

    Of course, those who don't incur these 'I can't properly handle my finances' stupidity charges in the first place are complaining that if the OFT win, then the banks will simply claw back any lost monies from everyone by hook or by crook. We currently have a system of 'free banking' over here where you don't (normally) get explicitly charged for using a simple bank account (stupidity charges above notwithstanding.) You can use ATMs, cheques, debit cards etc. any number of times per month and not (explicitly) pay extra. The pessimists are saying this model may change as a result of this case. 

    Note that this whole case is about charges on bank accounts only - the charges credit card companies impose for similar indiscretions are an entirely separate matter. 

    I really can't argue UK law. I wouldn't waste my time reading about it either, since it doesn't affect me. 

    My point is simply that if you are complaining about overdraft fees of any kind, maybe you should look in the mirror. Review your finances, and figure out a way to make it never happen again. Take it like a man, and get over it.

    In case my ire wasn't clear in my OP, I wasn't complaining about the charges. Quite the opposite; I hold roughly the same view that you appear to.



  • @PJH said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:
    @PJH said:

    Of course, those who don't incur these 'I can't properly handle my finances' stupidity charges in the first place are complaining that if the OFT win, then the banks will simply claw back any lost monies from everyone by hook or by crook. We currently have a system of 'free banking' over here where you don't (normally) get explicitly charged for using a simple bank account (stupidity charges above notwithstanding.) You can use ATMs, cheques, debit cards etc. any number of times per month and not (explicitly) pay extra. The pessimists are saying this model may change as a result of this case. 

    Note that this whole case is about charges on bank accounts only - the charges credit card companies impose for similar indiscretions are an entirely separate matter. 

    I really can't argue UK law. I wouldn't waste my time reading about it either, since it doesn't affect me. 

    My point is simply that if you are complaining about overdraft fees of any kind, maybe you should look in the mirror. Review your finances, and figure out a way to make it never happen again. Take it like a man, and get over it.

    In case my ire wasn't clear in my OP, I wasn't complaining about the charges. Quite the opposite; I hold roughly the same view that you appear to.

    I know. Just used the chance to further express my stance.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Maybe you just shouldn't overdraft in the first place? My point is simply that if you are complaining about overdraft fees of any kind, maybe you should look in the mirror. Review your finances, and figure out a way to make it never happen again. Take it like a man, and get over it. The bank is providing a service to these people. They don't have to offer overdraft protection. Like I said, in the old days, the check would simply bounce and you would be screwed. I will take a (relatively) small fine any day of the week over bouncing a check. (those who have been through this know how bad this can be)

    I would say that if you take away the right of the bank to fine people for overdrafts, the banks should take away the overdraft protection. Watch all the people who seem to not be able to handle their finances fall straight into financial ruin. A few bounced checks can easily do that to someone.

    I don't think I would be proud of my government for involving themselves in this kind of issue, and trying to control the business practices of banks. With any luck, I won't see this in the US for a while.

    <sarcasm>I can just sit back and enjoy the other paranoid laws that are even worse, safe in the knowledge that my government only removes freedom from the people, and not the large business that have the money to lobby against it. </sarcasm>

    Aaaawwww, how sweet! You've never encountered a bank or other business that screws you over, refuses to refund improperly taken payments, makes it impossible to find the person who can fix it, and not only refuses to apologise but also insists their mistake was All Your Fault.

    You must be very young.

     



  • @GreyWolf said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Maybe you just shouldn't overdraft in the first place? My point is simply that if you are complaining about overdraft fees of any kind, maybe you should look in the mirror. Review your finances, and figure out a way to make it never happen again. Take it like a man, and get over it. The bank is providing a service to these people. They don't have to offer overdraft protection. Like I said, in the old days, the check would simply bounce and you would be screwed. I will take a (relatively) small fine any day of the week over bouncing a check. (those who have been through this know how bad this can be)

    I would say that if you take away the right of the bank to fine people for overdrafts, the banks should take away the overdraft protection. Watch all the people who seem to not be able to handle their finances fall straight into financial ruin. A few bounced checks can easily do that to someone.

    I don't think I would be proud of my government for involving themselves in this kind of issue, and trying to control the business practices of banks. With any luck, I won't see this in the US for a while.

    <sarcasm>I can just sit back and enjoy the other paranoid laws that are even worse, safe in the knowledge that my government only removes freedom from the people, and not the large business that have the money to lobby against it. </sarcasm>

    Aaaawwww, how sweet! You've never encountered a bank or other business that screws you over, refuses to refund improperly taken payments, makes it impossible to find the person who can fix it, and not only refuses to apologise but also insists their mistake was All Your Fault.

    You must be very young.

    Your statements have nothing to do with what I was arguing. If there is an illegitimate charge on your account, that is one thing. If you overdraft because you have a bill set up to automatically debit your account, and you fail to have sufficient funds, then you are to blame.

    Please read the post before flaming.



  • @kaamoss said:

    I dispute at least one charge on my account every 2-3 months. I know the company fucked up, but bank "overdraft fees" are BS and usually the customer service reps are happy to reverse them given a reasonable situation. If not perhaps you should switch banks...and hosting companies.

    As Gallagher said, "Why, when you overdraft your account, does the bank charge you more money, which they KNOW YOU DON'T HAVE ANY OF?" 



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @kaamoss said:

    I dispute at least one charge on my account every 2-3 months. I know the company fucked up, but bank "overdraft fees" are BS and usually the customer service reps are happy to reverse them given a reasonable situation. If not perhaps you should switch banks...and hosting companies.

    As Gallagher said, "Why, when you overdraft your account, does the bank charge you more money, which they KNOW YOU DON'T HAVE ANY OF?" 

    What would you suggest the alternative should be?



  • @Arancaytar said:

    I am registered with a newly expired credit card, and cannot say enough how thankful I am for that. Instead of nasty overdraft charges, I got a nasty email warning me of account termination. Bit of a shock, but at least it didn't cost me anything.

    My compulsive paranoia toward letting any entity charge my account automatically has once again been vindicated.

    I had a similar situation with a ... ahem ... site I was using.  I wanted to cancel my services, but the website that handled the charges was broken, so I couldn't cancel the future charges.  Canceled the credit card and took care of that.



  • I'd rather they just bounced the payment and not charge me £25 to tell me they bounced the payment.  In the case of paying my rent where £595 was in the account and the rent was £600; I'd rather they just bounced it instead of charging me £25 for covering the £5 plus the daily charge until I paid off the now £30 excess on my account.  They don't have any facility where I can say "Please do not pay anything that will put me over my agreed overdraft".  I did go in and ask them about this at the time.

    The two things are distinct in that if the amount that wasn't covered was quite small such as with the £5 for my rent then they would pay that and charge me.  If it was my whole rent then they wouldn't pay it but they would still charge me for bouncing it.  In the later case the only things the bank has had to do is notify the requester that the funds aren't available as well as mail me a letter telling me what happened.  I think the later one shouldn't incur a £25 fee.  Sure if they cover my ass by paying it then the fee is ok as a service.

    Anyhow, like I said before; this is all in the past for me.  After my college and uni years I started getting things back on track and now it's me telling the banks "no, I don't want one of your shitty accounts thankyou" :¬)



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @Arancaytar said:

    I am registered with a newly expired credit card, and cannot say enough how thankful I am for that. Instead of nasty overdraft charges, I got a nasty email warning me of account termination. Bit of a shock, but at least it didn't cost me anything.

    My compulsive paranoia toward letting any entity charge my account automatically has once again been vindicated.

    I had a similar situation with a ... ahem ... site I was using.  I wanted to cancel my services, but the website that handled the charges was broken, so I couldn't cancel the future charges.  Canceled the credit card and took care of that.

    if it was a credit card you could have had the card company stop payment on their account. 



  • @Tann San said:

    I'd rather they just bounced the payment and not charge me £25 to tell me they bounced the payment.  In the case of paying my rent where £595 was in the account and the rent was £600; I'd rather they just bounced it instead of charging me £25 for covering the £5 plus the daily charge until I paid off the now £30 excess on my account.  They don't have any facility where I can say "Please do not pay anything that will put me over my agreed overdraft".  I did go in and ask them about this at the time.

    The two things are distinct in that if the amount that wasn't covered was quite small such as with the £5 for my rent then they would pay that and charge me.  If it was my whole rent then they wouldn't pay it but they would still charge me for bouncing it.  In the later case the only things the bank has had to do is notify the requester that the funds aren't available as well as mail me a letter telling me what happened.  I think the later one shouldn't incur a £25 fee.  Sure if they cover my ass by paying it then the fee is ok as a service.

    Anyhow, like I said before; this is all in the past for me.  After my college and uni years I started getting things back on track and now it's me telling the banks "no, I don't want one of your shitty accounts thankyou" :¬)

    I don't think you understand the terms 'bounced' and 'overdraft' at all.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tster said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    I had a similar situation with a ... ahem ... site I was using.  I wanted to cancel my services, but the website that handled the charges was broken, so I couldn't cancel the future charges.  Canceled the credit card and took care of that.

    if it was a credit card you could have had the card company stop payment on their account. 

    Not if it was a "Continuous Payment Authority." In fact 'cancelling' a card won't stop one of those. You must get the charging company to cancel it. AOL, e.g., have history in this area. (Contrast with a Direct Debit where which you can cancel.)



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

      

    Please read the post before flaming.

    Guilty as charged.

    However, pot and kettle - the reason the UK government got involved was because the market was failing - all the banks were overcharging (very similar amounts, what a surprise) and there was no real choice for the customer.

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    I don't think I would be proud of my government for involving themselves in this kind of issue, and trying to control the business practices of banks. With any luck, I won't see this in the US for a while.

     

    So you haven't noticed the Federal Reserve System, nor the antitrust laws as used on Ma Bell, IBM (twice), Micro$oft, and others?

    From the POV of the benighted foreigner, the US antitrust laws are a shining beacon and a concept to emulate. I wish we could use them on our banks in their cosy little cartel.



  • @GreyWolf said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

      

    Please read the post before flaming.

    Guilty as charged.

    However, pot and kettle - the reason the UK government got involved was because the market was failing - all the banks were overcharging (very similar amounts, what a surprise) and there was no real choice for the customer.

    Again, read the post. I really don't know about the UK, or it's laws. And I don't care.

    @GreyWolf said:


    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    I don't think I would be proud of my government for involving themselves in this kind of issue, and trying to control the business practices of banks. With any luck, I won't see this in the US for a while.

     

    So you haven't noticed the Federal Reserve System, nor the antitrust laws as used on Ma Bell, IBM (twice), Micro$oft, and others?

    From the POV of the benighted foreigner, the US antitrust laws are a shining beacon and a concept to emulate. I wish we could use them on our banks in their cosy little cartel.

    Antitrust != Limiting bank fees

    Your tin foil hat approach to banking is pretty comical. Maybe you should consider a coffee can buried in the backyard? Not that there could be much to bury if overdraft fees are common enough for you to argue this point in the first place.



  • @PJH said:

    @tster said:
    @belgariontheking said:

    I had a similar situation with a ... ahem ... site I was using.  I wanted to cancel my services, but the website that handled the charges was broken, so I couldn't cancel the future charges.  Canceled the credit card and took care of that.

    if it was a credit card you could have had the card company stop payment on their account. 

    Not if it was a "Continuous Payment Authority." In fact 'cancelling' a card won't stop one of those. You must get the charging company to cancel it. AOL, e.g., have history in this area. (Contrast with a Direct Debit where which you can cancel.)

    Wow, I didn't know any of that.  I obfuscated it for simplicity's sake.  I have a tendency to leave in too many details, but they make all the difference.

    What actually happened:  I signed up for a repeat payment account with a debit card.  I wanted to cancel the account.  I couldn't because ccbill was being retarded.  I ended up closing the checking account a month later for a completely different reason, though I kept the savings account.  This, in effect, canceled the card.  I got an email at the top of the next month from the company saying that my account would be canceled if I did not pay.  I promptly ignored it, glad that I had found a way to cancel my account.

    For those wondering, yes, I realize how much this shows my laziness. 

    EDIT: I also received a payment on that debit card while the account was closed, and proceeded to get statements from the bank saying I had a credit of  $7 some dollars.  It was over 5 years before I finally called them up to have them send me a check for the credit.  Meanwhile, they sent me over 60 statements. 



  • @scwolf said:

    @vt_mruhlin said:

    Any halfway
    intelligent person would have blamed it on (and fired) the guy who
    entered the dates wrong, not the guy who allowed the incorrect input.

    From what I've read, those may very well be the same guy.

    Should have tried reading for comprehension then.

    @http://blog.dreamhost.com/2008/01/15/um-whoops/ said:

    I can imagine the half second or so of thought that sprinted
    through the programmer’s mind when he was adding the ability to allow
    you to pass in what day to run the biller as

    That would be a very strange way to describe it if he himself was that programmer.



  • @rbowes said:

    They may have pissed off a lot of people, but think about the free advertising they got. I had never heard of DreamWorks until yesterday. And now I heard about it from several places!

    They sold the movie rights already?

    (DreamHost is the OP target; DreamWorks is a movie production house...)



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    I don't think you understand the terms 'bounced' and 'overdraft' at all.

    hmm maybe I don't.  Here's what I think they mean, correct me if I'm wrong.

    When a payment bounces it means someone tried to take money from my account but the bank refused the withdrawel.

    An overdraft is a cash extension to my account.  It is the banks money and when I dip into it I'm technically borrowing from the bank.



  • @Tann San said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    I don't think you understand the terms 'bounced' and 'overdraft' at all.

    hmm maybe I don't.  Here's what I think they mean, correct me if I'm wrong.

    When a payment bounces it means someone tried to take money from my account but the bank refused the withdrawel.

    An overdraft is a cash extension to my account.  It is the banks money and when I dip into it I'm technically borrowing from the bank.

    Right.... and if you 'bounce' the amount instead of 'overdraft' the amount, it is typically MUCH worse in terms of fines and penalties. Typically the bank charges you, the person you wrote the check to charges you, and the police can even get involved in some cases.

    Why you would prefer that, instead of your bank handling the situation and charging you a fee for it is beyond me. Maybe you should find a new bank.


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