Author Topic: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?  (Read 946 times)

BlueHouse

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Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« on: March 15, 2019, 10:45:18 AM »
A company that I need to do business with is insisting on being paid thru a 3rd party using ACH Debit (free) or credit card (with a fee). 

Consumer advocates STILL tell us to be careful when allowing the ACH DEBIT (as opposed to an ACH Credit which is more like your bank's billpay).  So my questions are:

1.  Am I unreasonable if I make a fuss (rile up others in the same boat) to force them to allow us to continue writing checks/ accepting ACH Credits?
2.  Are they allowed to force us to accept these limited options?  (An HOA decided on behalf of all of us that we should be willing to give over our banking routing and account numbers)

TexasRunner

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2019, 10:53:24 AM »
A company that I need to do business with is insisting on being paid thru a 3rd party using ACH Debit (free) or credit card (with a fee). 

Consumer advocates STILL tell us to be careful when allowing the ACH DEBIT (as opposed to an ACH Credit which is more like your bank's billpay).  So my questions are:

1.  Am I unreasonable if I make a fuss (rile up others in the same boat) to force them to allow us to continue writing checks/ accepting ACH Credits?
2.  Are they allowed to force us to accept these limited options?  (An HOA decided on behalf of all of us that we should be willing to give over our banking routing and account numbers)

Umm, ya no.  The absolute most I would allow is Debit via a bank-issued card.  I'm absolutley NOT going to give you my bank's information with my account number authorized for transfers unless you are a major financial institution-  and even they offer other methods.

Yes, I would throw a huge fit.  I would also want to know who is getting a kickback, but thats beside the point.

Proud Foot

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 09:37:57 AM »
Definitely push back on this. And get others who are effected by this to join you.

Are the payments a consistent amount and occur on a consistent date? Or do you get a notification stating the amount and date the payment will be ACH'd from your account? If all else fails set up a free checking account to use solely for this purpose and fund it a few days before the payment is processed.

TexasRunner

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 09:56:27 AM »
...
If all else fails set up a free checking account to use solely for this purpose and fund it a few days before the payment is processed.

Thats actually not a bad option...  Didn't think of that one.

Laura33

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 10:18:25 AM »
The answer is that yes, they can require you, but you are not being unreasonable to make a fuss about it -- like you, I don't like giving anyone direct access to my bank account, as I know from experience that it can be difficult to get them to turn it off or straighten out billing errors.

What is the reason that they are requiring ACH?  Sounds like it's a condo association, which may make more sense.  FWIW, I am on the board of a small condo association.  We used to require ACH.  Then last year we stopped requiring it -- and all of a sudden, we started to have a bunch of issues with people "forgetting" to pay on time.  That made things really difficult; I mean, our bills need to get paid whether residents are paying on time or not, you know?  And we are small and trying to keep fees low, so we don't have a huge slush fund in the bank account to tide us over (in fact, we're trying to build our reserves back up).  So this year we went back to requiring ACH.

My own approach is that if the relationship is ongoing/permanent/etc., I am ok with ACH -- I signed up for the condo ACH, for ex., because I have a condo there that I am not just going to walk away from one way or the other.*  OTOH, if it is a relationship I may want to terminate at any time (karate, gym, etc.), then no way.

*Note that I am also on the board, which helps me make sure things are being handled appropriately, i.e., "trust but verify."

ender

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 10:23:54 AM »
Am I missing something about why this is somehow less secure than having a check? There is slight increased data breach risk I suppose?

But a physical check contains routing/account numbers anyways.

bacchi

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2019, 10:32:29 AM »
Am I missing something about why this is somehow less secure than having a check? There is slight increased data breach risk I suppose?

But a physical check contains routing/account numbers anyways.

Permission.

A check is a draft on the account for a specific amount.

Allowing an ongoing ACH debit is permission to withdraw funds as needed, like when a bill is due (your cable or HOA or utility bill). Once the money's gone, it becomes your responsibility to prove why too much was pulled.

ender

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2019, 01:49:42 PM »
Am I missing something about why this is somehow less secure than having a check? There is slight increased data breach risk I suppose?

But a physical check contains routing/account numbers anyways.

Permission.

A check is a draft on the account for a specific amount.

Allowing an ongoing ACH debit is permission to withdraw funds as needed, like when a bill is due (your cable or HOA or utility bill). Once the money's gone, it becomes your responsibility to prove why too much was pulled.

But if there is nefarious intent wouldn't just having the bank/account number be enough in either case?

bacchi

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2019, 03:38:45 PM »
Am I missing something about why this is somehow less secure than having a check? There is slight increased data breach risk I suppose?

But a physical check contains routing/account numbers anyways.

Permission.

A check is a draft on the account for a specific amount.

Allowing an ongoing ACH debit is permission to withdraw funds as needed, like when a bill is due (your cable or HOA or utility bill). Once the money's gone, it becomes your responsibility to prove why too much was pulled.

But if there is nefarious intent wouldn't just having the bank/account number be enough in either case?

True enough but this isn't about nefarious intent necessarily. It's about vendors who have fucked-up billing systems and about vendors who don't do their job.

When you push, you can call the pool company and tell them that they missed the weekly cleanup. The onus is on them to prove that they did show up in order to get paid. When they pull, they already have your money -- the onus is on you to prove that they didn't show up.

It's always better to have the money and owe it over someone else having your money and trying to get it back.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2019, 07:01:39 AM »
A company that I need to do business with is insisting on being paid thru a 3rd party using ACH Debit (free) or credit card (with a fee). 

Consumer advocates STILL tell us to be careful when allowing the ACH DEBIT (as opposed to an ACH Credit which is more like your bank's billpay).  So my questions are:

1.  Am I unreasonable if I make a fuss (rile up others in the same boat) to force them to allow us to continue writing checks/ accepting ACH Credits?
2.  Are they allowed to force us to accept these limited options?  (An HOA decided on behalf of all of us that we should be willing to give over our banking routing and account numbers)
For my rental, I insist on being paid through a 3rd party using ACH Debit (free) or credit card (with a fee). So far, no tenant has complained, but part of the reason for that is that the payment process is explained before a lease is signed and anyone that "makes a fuss" would not be allowed to become a tenant. In my view it is completely reasonable for the company to require payment via ACH debits if you want to do business with them.

The real problem is that your HOA is requiring you to do business with the company.

TexasRunner

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Re: Can I be strong-armed into using Automatic ACH debits?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2019, 08:04:53 AM »
For my rental, I insist on being paid through a 3rd party using ACH Debit (free) or credit card (with a fee). So far, no tenant has complained, but part of the reason for that is that the payment process is explained before a lease is signed and anyone that "makes a fuss" would not be allowed to become a tenant. In my view it is completely reasonable for the company to require payment via ACH debits if you want to do business with them.

The real problem is that your HOA is requiring you to do business with the company.

I wouldn't have any problem with that...  Simply because we have a written contract at a set amount that should never vary (until the lease is renewed).  Plus, we would be forming a commercial relationship that works both ways.  This is completely different as HOAs can and do make shitty decisions and could easily (and legally) change the amount at a meeting one night and ACH charge it the next day.  Plus, there is no relationship, you are simply another house in the Association.