Company kept one-time card on file and charged it? You have options

Contact your issuer and explain you didn’t authorize the company to store your card – then reach out to the company and ask them to stop charging the card


If a company charges your card without your permission you can take action; contact the issuer and request a chargeback and ask the company to remove your card from their files. If that doesn’t work, file a complaint with the FTC.

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Dear Your Business Credit,

I made a one-time payment to the cable company for my godson. The system even stated that. Something told me to call back. I did and, to my disbelief, my card was still on file with pre-authorization. All the person has to do is say yes I want to use this card, and it will be billed. They said I can’t remove it without consent from the person on the account.

I say that’s a bunch of bull. They were very sneaky and not forward on this practice. One time means one time and they should not have my card on file ready to be used at anytime.

I know this is an illegal practice. Any ideas? – Gregory

Dear Gregory,

Yikes. I can understand why you’re upset. A company is not allowed to charge your card without authorization under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act.

Based on your letter, it does not sound like you have offered any type of formal written authorization to keep your card on file.

Check out all the answers from our credit card experts.

Ask Elaine a question.

See related:  Understanding ‘consent’ to charge a card

How to remove unauthorized card on file

I would suggest that you notify the card issuer immediately, by phone and in writing, that you have not authorized the cable company to process any additional charges on the card for your godson’s account.

Also, contact the cable company and ask to speak to a supervisor. You may not be able to get the help you need from a call center employee, but a supervisor may be able to offer the solution you want.

If the cable company remains unhelpful and a charge goes through after the first one, contact the credit card issuer to let them know it is unauthorized so they can issue a chargeback.

File a complaint

If the cable company ends up being uncooperative, contact your state’s department of consumer affairs for help.

You could also make a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. To do that, go to the agency’s “Complaint Assistant.”

Ask that your card be removed from the account

I would also communicate the situation to your godson and ask him to remove the card from his account.

This might be a little awkward, because he might feel you don’t trust him. To avoid hurting his feelings, you might tell him that you don’t want it to be used accidentally by the cable company.

Your letter is a good reminder of how complicated it can be when you intertwine your credit card accounts with someone else’s financial affairs, no matter how well you know them.

A reasonable person would not expect the cable company to behave this way, but not all companies have best practices in place.

If you ever want to help your godson with his cable bill again, I would suggest paying by check. It doesn’t sound like you can trust this cable company to treat your account number with care.

Many people have stopped using checks very often, because of the hassle factor in mailing them, but this is a situation where using one gives you some protection.

Good luck in resolving this situation.

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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