For goodness' sake, Sonic, please stop making your bills so difficult to pay.

General discussions and other topics.
11 posts Page 1 of 2
by forest » Tue Dec 29, 2020 5:33 pm
Like other customers, I was recently surprised to learn that Sonic stopped accepting the credit card I've used for over a decade. A couple of phone calls and some forum searches reveal that they've dropped all forms of payment except Visa/Mastercard and ACH. I suppose that's no big deal for people who happen to have a Visa card, but for the rest of us, this is an onerous policy.

To be clear, it means that I currently have no reasonable way to pay my bill.

Instead of trying to understand why this is a problem, each of the Sonic representatives to whom I spoke have responded by suggesting one of the following:

  • Establish a Visa/Mastercard account. - My past experience with those companies was consistently awful. Between their constantly shifting terms, policies designed to trap customers into extra fees, and occasional blatant fraud, I have no interest in returning to them.
  • Buy prepaid Visa/Mastercards. - The markup on those is quite high, and buying them regularly just to pay my Sonic bill would be not only expensive, but also a waste of time.
  • Give Sonic my bank account info so they can pull money from my account. - ACH fraud and data breaches have been rising in recent years, and this approach would expose me to both. Risking my bank account being drained is unappealing, as is suddenly finding my balance unexpectedly low whenever Sonic makes a billing error (which is not uncommon in my experience).

Since Sonic also stopped accepting checks this month, they have made paying their bills more difficult than any other business I have ever encountered in the 21st century, including everything from food to transit to utilities. I am astonished at this. I understand the desire to streamline, automate, and reduce costs, but there is such a thing as going too far, and Sonic has just done it.

Please, please, please, Sonic, won't you make some other payment options available?

My next bill will be due soon, and you're currently refusing every way I have of paying it. Any of these would work for me:

  • Bill payment service
  • Discover Card
  • Check
  • PayPal
  • Cash handed over someplace near my city, or even handed to a shady-looking character outside the local telco central office

I'm currently looking at either establishing a relationship with Visa Inc. just to pay a single company's bill, or switching to another ISP. The former would make me resent Sonic. The latter would make me cry.

Pretty please?

Surely there must be another way.
by jerrielm » Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:31 am
forest wrote:
Like other customers, I was recently surprised to learn that Sonic stopped accepting the credit card I've used for over a decade. A couple of phone calls and some forum searches reveal that they've dropped all forms of payment except Visa/Mastercard and ACH. I suppose that's no big deal for people who happen to have a Visa card, but for the rest of us, this is an onerous policy.

To be clear, it means that I currently have no reasonable way to pay my bill.

Instead of trying to understand why this is a problem, each of the Sonic representatives to whom I spoke have responded by suggesting one of the following:

  • Establish a Visa/Mastercard account. - My past experience with those companies was consistently awful. Between their constantly shifting terms, policies designed to trap customers into extra fees, and occasional blatant fraud, I have no interest in returning to them.
  • Buy prepaid Visa/Mastercards. - The markup on those is quite high, and buying them regularly just to pay my Sonic bill would be not only expensive, but also a waste of time.
  • Give Sonic my bank account info so they can pull money from my account. - ACH fraud and data breaches have been rising in recent years, and this approach would expose me to both. Risking my bank account being drained is unappealing, as is suddenly finding my balance unexpectedly low whenever Sonic makes a billing error (which is not uncommon in my experience).

Since Sonic also stopped accepting checks this month, they have made paying their bills more difficult than any other business I have ever encountered in the 21st century, including everything from food to transit to utilities. I am astonished at this. I understand the desire to streamline, automate, and reduce costs, but there is such a thing as going too far, and Sonic has just done it.

Please, please, please, Sonic, won't you make some other payment options available?

My next bill will be due soon, and you're currently refusing every way I have of paying it. Any of these would work for me:

  • Bill payment service
  • Discover Card
  • Check
  • PayPal
  • Cash handed over someplace near my city, or even handed to a shady-looking character outside the local telco central office

I'm currently looking at either establishing a relationship with Visa Inc. just to pay a single company's bill, or switching to another ISP. The former would make me resent Sonic. The latter would make me cry.

Pretty please?

Surely there must be another way.



Hello Forest,

I am sorry that the options we have for you are not viable. Being a small company we do need to limit our options as pay issues can come up (Fraud Checks, not paying via cash on time or not at all, and with Discovery costing us more money). I would say ACH would be your best bet as we have never had a data breach in the many years this company has started. You could always use prepaid via cards as a way to pay for the service as well. Hopfully in the future we will be able to have more options for payment.

Best Wishes!
by michael » Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:13 pm
forest wrote:
I was recently surprised to learn that Sonic [...] dropped all forms of payment except Visa/Mastercard and ACH. I suppose that's no big deal for people who happen to have a Visa card, but for the rest of us, this is an onerous policy.

To be clear, it means that I currently have no reasonable way to pay my bill.

Since Sonic also stopped accepting checks this month, they have made paying their bills more difficult than any other business I have ever encountered in the 21st century, including everything from food to transit to utilities. I am astonished at this. I understand the desire to streamline, automate, and reduce costs, but there is such a thing as going too far, and Sonic has just done it.

Ditto. And it appears to have been done without notice. So now I get the anxiety of having to scramble for a solution, else my service gets cut. And you know how essential Internet is these days.

  • Establish a Visa/Mastercard account. - My past experience with those companies was consistently awful. Between their constantly shifting terms, policies designed to trap customers into extra fees, and occasional blatant fraud, I have no interest in returning to them.

I concur. Plus, the merchant has to pay like 3%.

  • Buy prepaid Visa/Mastercards. - The markup on those is quite high, and buying them regularly just to pay my Sonic bill would be not only expensive, but also a waste of time.

I'm looking at this as a fallback. The cost is about $6 for a $500 card. The hassle that I anticipate is that I end up with remaining value on the card after about six automatic monthly payments, and have to contact Sonic to pull off the remainder. IDK if Sonic is a merchant that can query the remaining balance on the card.

This is basically just moving the hassle from the Sonic billing personnel to us. I'd rather pay extra to Sonic for the processing, since my time is probably worth more than theirs, but paying it to Visa/Blackhawk is about the same.

  • Give Sonic my bank account info so they can pull money from my account. - ACH fraud and data breaches have been rising in recent years, and this approach would expose me to both. Risking my bank account being drained is unappealing, as is suddenly finding my balance unexpectedly low whenever Sonic makes a billing error (which is not uncommon in my experience).

Yep.


jerrielm wrote:
Being a small company we do need to limit our options as pay issues can come up (Fraud Checks

Are you really having problems with fraudulent checks or money orders from customers who have been with Sonic for decades?

not paying via cash on time or not at all

Credit and debit card numbers can also become invalid. The solution is the same: you cut them off.

we have never had a data breach in the many years this company has started.

What they all say, until they do.

Best Wishes!

?
Sonic customer since 2003
by carren » Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:21 pm
Yes! Yes! Yes!! Thank you, Michael and Forest, for expressing it so well.

I was told that these changes were necessary for a "subscription" service. So, I asked to purchase an annual subscription, but that can't be an option because it would make mid-year cancellations complicated. None of my other subscriptions offer me the option of a partial refund; though they do usually offer a discount for paying for the year up front. Heck! I might pay a premium to cut my risk and get 1 ACH transfer per year instead of 12.

Even without its great service, Sonic is still probably a better value than all the rest; but the intelligent, human kindness was always its best asset. I've loved Sonic's commitment to a stellar user experience (also why I don't deal with Visa/MC). I've had decades of 100% delightful interactions with Sonic, so it's jarring, a little heartbreaking even, to discover that my customer experience is irrelevant.

Carren
by u3zmsm » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:42 pm
Refusing to open a Visa or MasterCard account is, frankly, a choice now well outside the mainstream, and Sonic is hardly the only merchant that declines to accept Discover or American Express cards because of their higher interchange fees.

Keep in mind that Visa and MasterCard don’t issue cards themselves; they operate the networks and license the brand names to banks, credit unions, and other issuing entities. Much about the cardholder experience is determined by these issuers, whose terms and business practices vary greatly.

For example, many credit unions issue credit cards as a service to their member-owners. Fairness requires them to charge interest and fees to cover their costs and encourage timely payment, but they’re generally not trying to make the card business into a large profit center. This approach is completely different from that of issuers that specialize in cards with high interest rates for borrowers with poor credit histories.
by carren » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:47 pm
u3zmsm wrote:
Refusing to open a Visa or MasterCard account is, frankly, a choice now well outside the mainstream.


Guilty as charged. Many a mainstream merchant still offers options such as bill pay and PayPal, but you have correctly identified my chief disappointment: that conformity with the mainstream is now a condition for doing business with Sonic.
by sia » Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:48 am
While i'm not condoning Sonic's limits on the acceptable payments, I just wanted to note a few venues which may be acceptable for you:
- Paypal (which you've mentioned) now offers "Paypal key", which is a free virtual MasterCard with changeable CVV code
(they also offer physical debit card tied to Paypal account, but it's a more hassle to issue vs a single click)
- your bank may offer free 2nd checking account, which you can use for ACH transactions
- privacy.com offers virtual debit cards (proxying again back to your checking account via ACH)
by carren » Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:09 am
Thanks, Sia! This is great news.
I'm going to check out PayPal key right now! :-)
by cmeisel » Fri Feb 26, 2021 5:06 pm
You might also want to check out this:

https://privacy.com/ (they do work with 1password now but I don't see how that is more useful than any other password manager).
Connect your debit card or account and generate cards. The free account allows 12 per month I think. For example, I have one for netflix, monthly limit is $20 and it is used to pay netflix every month only. easy...
by sia » Sun Feb 28, 2021 12:42 pm
I've tried using Privacy.com in the past and failed - they wanted to login into my bank using my credentials to verify my account :-)
They've claimed they're working on fallback verification process using two small deposits, like other online services such as Paypal done for years.

The other downside is loss of some protections, provided by real credit card; it's actually pretty close, the main difference being source of the funds - when somebody charges 10K from your checking account and bank takes a month or two to put it back, it's much more painful in comparison to 10K taken out of your credit card account, even if eventual result ends up being the same. Fortunately you can reportedly set spend limits on Privacy.com virtual cards.

That difference between credit and debit networks is in fact what fuels Privacy.com business; the discount rate of 2-2.5% is what they (in part) receive and can even share with you (in the form of cashback). It's similar for Paypal; as long as they (Privacy or Paypal) can limit the risk of chargebacks they earn that difference.
11 posts Page 1 of 2

Who is online

In total there are 3 users online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 3 guests (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 964 on Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:23 pm

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests