Saturday, 3 April 2010

Direct debits make you blind

I had a letter today, in fact it says it is a special letter, wow, I am privileged. It says, 'Don't miss your EARLY BIRD savings,' now that's a word I am interested in. Savings, what can I save, and what do I have to do to make a saving? I read on.

My Early Bird reminder comes from Saga magazine, offering a wonderful opportunity to save mega pounds off my next subscription. You may remember I was given my current subscription as a Christmas present from my uncle, and going by the date on the letter, we are only three months into it. Never the less they are keen, or should I say desperate, to keep my custom so have come up with this amazing offer.

The letter continues, 'It may seem a little early to be thinking about renewing, but if you choose to do so now, well ahead of time, you can secure a further 12 issues for £5.95. That gives you a fabulous discount of £24.05 off the full subscription price.' What is even better is that you don't have to pay anything untill your current subscription runs out.'

This isn't the first time they have written to me offering a cheap subscription, it looks to me like they are falling over themselves to get people to sign up. Of course to take up an offer you have to commit to direct debit payments, this is a sure fire way to extract money from people without them even noticing it. In eight months time when the direct debit is due to kick in, they hope most people will have forgotten they ever agreed to it, and won't even notice the money disappearing from their bank account.

It is possible that a great proportion of the British public, or even the world wide public, have no idea how many direct debits go out of their accounts each month, or even what they are paying for. Oh yes, the letters may arrive year after year informing of the new subscription about to start, but how many people read them? A quick glance at the company name on the top, oh is it that time again already! Haven't got time to deal with it now, I'll sort it next year. And so it goes on, and on, and on.

That's why big businesses favour direct debits, they spin their web around you, extracting your bank details, and squeeze so tight that you can't get away, the temptation is just too strong. They prey on people's weaknesses, and their vulnerability. Their sales literature is so worded that you think they are doing you a favour by offering these fantastic deals. Well this old gal can't be won over.

When my current Saga subscription stops at the end of the year, I shall start at the beginning and read them all again, because by that time I will have forgotten what was in them. I did the same with Gardeners World, one year of growing veg is much the same as another. Mind you, I am looking for a good home for twelve copies of Psychologies magazine, it was pretty boring and didn't tell me much more than I already know, so I won't be reading those again. Ha ha.


  1. Direct debits are the bain of our lives. I too, try to avoid using this banking system.
    I don`t even pay my bills in this way.

  2. I pay all my fixed bills by direct debit - my mortgage, my council tax, but anything that varies such as energy or water gets paid quarterly which means I am very careful with them so not to run up a bill. We have to have internet on DD as they won't have it any other way and I'm much too careful to subscribe to any magazine although I do pay for my trainpass in advance so I've always got it ready.


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