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Old 07-22-2013, 06:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Attention Bill Me Later Users: New "Scam" They're Running

I know this is very long, but it's a rather important read if you use Bill Me Later (BML) or plan on using it in the future


So here's some quick background, if you buy something with BML for $100 or more, you get 6 months interest free, normally with no payments, anything under $100 and you owe it the next month or you get hit with interest charges.

Now when I signed up, I looked into how payments work to make sure I was paying off what I needed to in order to not get hit with their crazy high interest fees. At that time it was, your monthly payment goes towards your non 6 month promotional purchases (basically anything under $100 you bought that previous month) and then anything extra goes towards your future outstanding bills from purchases made of $100+

Every month, I go in and pay at least as much as it tells me I have to to avoid interest charges, normally a little bit more to pay off purchases that will be coming up due at the end of it's 6 month cycle.


Okay, now here's how I found out they completely changed that to a way that can very easily trick people into not making their necessary monthly payments and get hit with interest charges.

When I made my payment last month, I knew that I then had no 6 month purchases that were going to be due in this upcoming billing cycle, I figured I would only owe the $60 in purchases I made using BML last month.

Now had I just made a payment through paypal for that $60, which you can do without going into your actual BML account, I would have ended up getting charged interest on $500 that I wouldn't have paid off as I apparently would have had to do this month

Why you might ask?

So I went in and double checked to make sure I was paying the minimum amount to avoid interest charges, as everyone should, but I'm sure some don't who would have known they only owed the $60 as I did.

It told me that I owed like $550 this month to avoid any interest charges, which I didn't understand as I only had $60 in purchases during that billing cycle and didn't have any 6 month payment purchases due this month. So I sent them an email explaining this and at the same time asking why my overall balance was $500 above the combination of all my outstanding 6 month purchases.

I get a bull$hit response telling me to go back and look at all of my previous statements and find out where the discrepancy lies so they can then help me out. Basically a big F-U, we don't want to help you, you do all the work and then maybe we'll look into it for you

So I decide to call them and figure out what's going on, and here is where it gets dumb

Apparently, back in January or February (the girl I talked to wasn't even sure when it happened) they changed their payment methods so that every dollar you send in payment gets put towards any 6 month payment purchases that are due within the upcoming 2 months and then anything extra goes towards the standard non 6 month purchases.

Basically the EXACT OPPOSITE of the way it used to be done, and I was never give any kind of notification of the change, not through email, not through snail mail, not through a pop-up, just nothing.

Along with that, as long as you paid off at least the amount you spent in non 6 month purchases in the previous month, you don't get hit with the interest on your standard purchases that month. But the problem is that all those standard purchase balances just keep adding up every month because you're never actually paying it off, only your future 6 month purchases that are coming up due

She explained it as a way to help BML users to save on interest fees because if you get hit with a standard purchase interest, it won't be much since that purchase was less than $100 and anything from a 6 month purchase would be more since you get hit with the full interest from the start if it's not paid off.

I get that, that's all fine and dandy and a nice way for them to rationalize this scheme of theirs without sounding horrible to someone without a brain

But here is where the problem lies...................................

Say someone like myself who has been on top of my purchases and upcoming payments knows that I only owe that $60 this month and I make my payment from paypal for it without checking what BML tells me to pay this month to avoid interest charges.

I then get hit with their crazy high interest rate on that $500.

Now lets also say that I don't owe anything for a 6 month purchase for 2 more months so I don't even check my account during that time, I then just got 2 more months of interest with also not making the minimum payments each moth, HELLO CRAZY FEES AND RATE HIKES

She told me the only way to make a payment and have it count first towards your outstanding standard purchases is to schedule a payment more than 7 days out and then call them and have them set that payment for standard purchases and not for your upcoming 6 month purchases that are due within 2 months.

Now I know for myself it wouldn't have been the end of the world since the interest on $500 wouldn't have been all that much and I would have caught it the next month when making that payment. But what about people who have thousands of dollars they owe to BML every month?

The policy (while I might not agree with it) isn't really my problem here, it's the utter lack of communication about the change and had I not happened to double check it even though I "knew" what I owed, I would have then gotten hit with those interest fees.

Needless to say I spent about 20 minutes on the phone tearing this girl a new one about how horrible this practice is and how pissed I was at never being communicated this.

In the end, it also explained where that extra $500 in my balance came from, it was all of my standard purchases that were adding up and never getting paid off as I thought I was doing every month
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't use Bill Me Later, but I would guess that your monthly account statement would have those details. That is why I rarely pay a credit card bill or loan without first downloading the PDF statement and reading it over. If the billing statement does NOT have these details, then I can understand your frustration but I doubt they can legally send you a billing statement without an explanation of charges.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't use Bill Me Later, but I would guess that your monthly account statement would have those details. That is why I rarely pay a credit card bill or loan without first downloading the PDF statement and reading it over. If the billing statement does NOT have these details, then I can understand your frustration but I doubt they can legally send you a billing statement without an explanation of charges.
It absolutely does not have that information on the statement as I've looked

The monthly statement doesn't say what you owe that month to avoid interest fees, you have to look that up online.

In addition, your standard non 6 month purchases are only on there the month you purchase them, then they don't show up on there again, it just gets carried over into your balance.

If that wasn't the case, then I would have had ALL of my under 100 purchases over the time I've had BML listed on every statement. That's how I racked up $500+ in those as apparently I haven't been paying those off for the last 6 months but was never told about the change
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It absolutely does not have that information on the statement as I've looked

The monthly statement doesn't say what you owe that month to avoid interest fees, you have to look that up online.

In addition, your standard non 6 month purchases are only on there the month you purchase them, then they don't show up on there again, it just gets carried over into your balance.

If that wasn't the case, then I would have had ALL of my under 100 purchases over the time I've had BML listed on every statement. That's how I racked up $500+ in those as apparently I haven't been paying those off for the last 6 months but was never told about the change
I'm confused by this all so I guess I won't comment further. I use Paypal Buyer Credit when I can't pay for something up front and that works more like a standard credit card. It sounds like BML is a different kind of beast.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The whole thing is kind of shady in how the business is handled. You'll notice, if you pay with funds from your PayPal account, that it never deducts the funds from your PayPal account immediately. This sets people up to incur other fees, as in overdrawing your PayPal account which can result in them not taking any of the funds you tried to pay with in the first place. Nope. They go straight to your registered bank account or credit card to cover your BML payment and just let your less than sufficient funds remaining in PayPal stay there.

This did not happen to me but, after noting it on various occasions, I decided to send them an email and ask why they don't just deduct the payment amount from PayPal immediately, like every other type of payment, instead of waiting until something like 3am PST to make the deduction. I just said I thought it was odd and created a bit of an accounting gray area between the two entities. Of course, I never heard anything back on that.

Just beware that you open yourself up to overage charges on any account you have attached to PayPal if you don't have enough funds in the PayPal account at the moment they decide to make the payment transfer. Oh... and though you may make the payment on, say, Tuesday at 3AM PST, don't look for that to post on your BML account for upwards of 2 days. Magically those funds are still lost in accounting oblivion until whenever they decide to post payment.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I use Bill Me Later... it is called a credit card.

I don't trust eBay/Paypal as it is... if they are recommending a service such as BML, I avoid it.

It is bad enough we are stuck in the lockdown that is eBay/Paypal already.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Haven't read any of the OP, but my advice, as well as others. Just don't use it.

It's basically a non-connected bank loan. They can have whatever fees/conditions they want, as long as its written somewhere in the terms and conditions (no matter how hard to find) they can do it.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Could not read all thT, but the Way I understood it when it first hit was if you charge 500 don't pay off that total amount in 6 months you Get charged interest on the full amount

Just sign up for a PayPal smart acct, I also have debit card where I can withdraw 400 a day without waiting 2-3 days or longer if you hit transfer on Friday
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sounds like those furniture same as cash financing deals. Dont pay it off by the deadline and you get drilled for a HUGE interest rate going back to day 1. With the 36-48 months they now offer on stuff like that I cannot imagine the amount of interest one can rack up. Pay cash and no worries.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I use it to get the extra 1% in ebay bucks, what I do is set up a excel spreadsheet every month, keep track of my purchases and payments and double check the balance when the next statement comes out the following month.


Never had any issues in about 18 months.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Home Depot does the same thing on deferred plans. I found that out when one month, I saw I was charged $1 interest. They also change the application of payments to the promotional balance inside of 2 months. They said the same thing as well regarding payments...call them and tell them where you want the payment to go.
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Old 07-23-2013, 03:23 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SteelersRock245 View Post
I use it to get the extra 1% in ebay bucks, what I do is set up a excel spreadsheet every month, keep track of my purchases and payments and double check the balance when the next statement comes out the following month.


Never had any issues in about 18 months.


I do the same thing, for the extra 1%, except i pay that sh!t off about 2 days after it finally posts.
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Old 07-23-2013, 03:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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One lawsuit will fix this eventually. If they changed it without notice and someone has proof of that they are screwed js. Its gonna happen eventually
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:32 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I could've sworn Bill Me Later/Paypal sent out an email notifying it's users of this change months ago. You should check your email. Maybe it got thrown out with the spam.

Actually, this is not an unusual way of paying off credit. Credit cards do it this way and have all the time. It's called paying off your oldest incurred debt first. Standard practice.

For nabzy, you mentioned not looking at your account during the promo period. Well, even though it says "No interest for 6 months", you still have to make a payment during each month or you default on the loan and all the interest adds on immediately. Fine print people. You have to read the terms and conditions of all loans.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:21 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I realize the issue here is the "change" without notification

But the way they handle this is standard practice. Go to Best Buy and buy a $2K TV that you can pay off in 12 months...

Also buy a Blu Ray to go with it - and you sure as hell better may your minimum, plus additional, in your first statement because your payment is going to pay off that Blu Ray player before it's going to pay off the TV - so you won't meet your minimum in the first month on the promotional piece of the purchase.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:35 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Credit is going to be the downfall of the US Currency.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:36 AM   #17 (permalink)
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they sound like old school loan sharks
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:33 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I've never had a problem. I log in and see exactly how much I need to pay to avoid interest charges. Very easy.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:42 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I've never had a problem. I log in and see exactly how much I need to pay to avoid interest charges. Very easy.
As do I, unfortunately that then turns into paying off future due bills, not necessarily current due bills

Which is why I ended up having a current balance of about $500 this month when none of my 6 month purchases are due this month and I only spent $60 on this billing cycle
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:46 AM   #20 (permalink)
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As do I, unfortunately that then turns into paying off future due bills, not necessarily current due bills

Which is why I ended up having a current balance of about $500 this month when none of my 6 month purchases are due this month and I only spent $60 on this billing cycle
I guess I'm not following...

I don't currently use BML - but I assume any non promotional purchases are paid for like a credit card? So anything I buy this month needs to be paid for next month to avoid interest?

Why wouldn't you track your promotion purchase seperate (so lets say you made a $600 purchase) - Why wouldn't you just pay $100 a month to get it done?

And then on your regular purchases wouldn't you know what you've spent per billing cycle so you'd just pay that amount off?

I realize it's hard to discuss without seeing a statement - I'm just not really following how you track this. Maybe I'm missing a bigger step in how it works.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:00 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I have used BML 3 times on large purchases over $1k and just paid them off within 3 or 4 months. Never paid interest. If you are using it like a credit card you are going to have problems.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:20 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I guess I'm not following...

I don't currently use BML - but I assume any non promotional purchases are paid for like a credit card? So anything I buy this month needs to be paid for next month to avoid interest?

Why wouldn't you track your promotion purchase seperate (so lets say you made a $600 purchase) - Why wouldn't you just pay $100 a month to get it done?

And then on your regular purchases wouldn't you know what you've spent per billing cycle so you'd just pay that amount off?

I realize it's hard to discuss without seeing a statement - I'm just not really following how you track this. Maybe I'm missing a bigger step in how it works.
Did you read the OP?

I know it's long and a little confusing so I don't blame you if you didn't fully read it or follow it, but here's a quick breakdown using simple numbers to explain it

Let's say here is what my current outstanding 6 month purchases have left to pay off

200 due this month
200 due next month
200 due the month after
200 due the month after that one

Then let's also say that I made the following non 6 month payment purchases

50 due this month
50 due next month (future purchase)
50 due the month after (future purchase)
50 due the month after that one (future purchase)

(theses aren't the same purchase, just a single $50 purchase every month for 4 months)

If I then go in and pay $300 this month

In the past, that 300 would have $50 taken out first and that goes towards the regular $50 purchase that is due this month, 200 towards my 6 mo. purchase due this month and 50 towards my 200 due next month.

Which is the way it SHOULD be IMO

But now, that 300 has the first 200 taken out for this months purchase and the remaining 100 goes towards any other 6 mo. purchase that will come up due within two months, so it would cut my next month's 200 due down to 100.

In doing this, it doesn't pay off the $50 that I owe this month from a regular purchase, it carries that over in my balance but I don't get charged interest because "they are nice about it" (as she put it on the phone to me) since I did make a payment in excess of that amount of money due.

So now here's what I owe on my 6 mo. purchases in that next month

100
200
200

and my standard purchases now go

100 (the 50 from the previous month that didn't get paid off plus that month's 50 purchase)
50 (future purchase)
50 (future purchase)

So let's say I then pay 200 that month, again, 100 goes towards the current 6 mo purchase due and the other 100 goes towards the next month, so now it looks like this

100
200

and

150
50 (future purchase)

Again, for someone like myself and Bottom9th who go in every month and look at the amount they owe that month to avoid interest fees and pay at least that amount, it's never going to be an issue as you'll never get hit with fees and eventually pay everything off.

BUT

Not everyone is like that, but that also doesn't mean they are doing something wrong as they could have been in a situation like myself this month.

Last month when I made my payment, I looked at what was going to be due in this month from my 6 month payment purchases. I didn't have any as I didn't buy anything using BML during that month obviously. So to me, at that time, I figured all I would owe this month would be the $60 that I spent using BML during that cycle. That was also the only purchase I made during that cycle so I figured that would be all I owed.

However, when I went in and looked at what I owed this month to avoid interest fees, it was around $500 because that was all of my non-6 month payment purchases adding up over the last 5-6 months as I was apparently never paying them off given this change in how payments get allocated towards your balance.

So had I just sent a payment in for my $60 that I knew I spent during this month since I knew I didn't have any 6 month payment purchases coming up due, I would then have been hit with the interest on that $500 that had been building up in the background unaware to myself
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Old 07-23-2013, 04:45 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Again, just because you get 6 months to pay it off, you STILL have to make a minimum payment EVERY month. You can't just wait the whole 6 months and pay it off 1 day before it's due. If you make no payment towards the promo balance for 1 month, all the interest accumulates and the promo is ended because you defaulted on the loan. In essence, you missed a payment and now you're saying it's a scam.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:25 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Again, just because you get 6 months to pay it off, you STILL have to make a minimum payment EVERY month. You can't just wait the whole 6 months and pay it off 1 day before it's due. If you make no payment towards the promo balance for 1 month, all the interest accumulates and the promo is ended because you defaulted on the loan. In essence, you missed a payment and now you're saying it's a scam.
That is incorrect. The promo is for purchases of $99 and higher. You have 6 months to pay it off with no monthly payments or interest. The purchase must be more than $99 to qualify for the promo offer. If your purchase is paid off before 6 months you will have been given essentially an interest free loan - even if you make the full payment 5 months into the loan.

The problems arise when you use BML like a credit card for all purchases - even small ones.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:32 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I didn't read this very much but isn't that how ALL credit cards get you... buy paying the minimum? I am not too card savvy as I have only been dealing with them for the last few years but I have always been taught to never pay the minimum as that's how they get the most out of you. Especially with no interest promos on a certain amount. Every card I use and especially my $500 BML account gets paid in full a week before its due. 99% of the time its paid off a couple days after using it.
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