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Old 22 Aug 2023, 11:51 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Greenfield, Indiana
Posts: 104
Angry Lump sum prepayments no longer accepted

Update4: I just sent this email to FM support. I am waiting for a reply:

On more than one occasion I had autorenew set up for an account and was charged not just once but twice and three times the same day by mistake. This caused a number of checks to bounce and then I owed bounced check fees to the bank plus other fees. It was a nightmare. I have complete control of when and how much I pay when I make a lump sum prepayment. With autorenew I lose that control. Is FM going to pay bounced check fees, late payment fees and charges, etc if you overcharge me on an autorenew payment?

Update3: FM support latest explanation to me:

Thank you for the reply. I am happy to go into more details about our decision to remove lump sum.

> WHY did you remove lump sum prepayment forcing everyone to use auto-renew?

It is to better align the payment methods we offer and to streamline the payments. We often see people adding money to lump sum to mitigate renewals but that method is the same concept as auto-renew.

Some feedback we've received involves auto-renew does not provide a way you could pay for more years than auto-renew offers (1-3 years) but this often causes more issues since currency rates, taxes and price other factors can influence the price that some customers pay. Imagine adding $50 to cover the next year of your bill, only to have your subscription lapse because there was a change in price, and now you owe $50.01. We've had customers experience this and feel that auto-renewal is a better payment method and provides a more solid experience to our customers.

Additionally and just as important, we are currently utilizing PIN, Strip and PayPal as our payment processors. In the near future, we plan to start utilizing a different payment processor, Paddle. This will take some of the focus that our team has on payments away and let us focus more on developing Fastmail, rather than the work we've spent on payments and Paddle does not support lump sum payments.

> Another question: if I cancel auto-renew can I at that point make a lump sum prepayment?

We no longer support lump sum payments at all. You can cancel the auto-renewal, and we'll notify you when your payment is coming up so you can choose if you'd like to pay for the service.

I'd still love to hear why you prefer lump sum to auto-renewal so that I could pass that along to our team. You mention that you detest auto-renewals, and I can understand feeling that way, but it would be helpful to understand why that is the case in more detail.

Update2: What follows is the reply from FM support to my second email to them:

Thank you for reaching out to Fastmail support. I am Tyler; I lead the support team.

I would also feel frustrated if the payment system that I relied for several years was removed. We did request feedback for a select group of people that utilized Lump sum but we did not request it for all users. I am sorry that you were not included in that list.

We removed lump sum in order to better align our payment methods towards auto-renew and auto-renew can still by canceled by going to Learn more and cancel this account, and selecting Confirm Cancellation.

With that said, I am happy to provide your feedback to our team on this, however I'd like to get a better understanding of your use case. Do you mind detailing what makes lump sum more useful than auto-renew for you?

Please get back to me at your convenience.

Update: When I asked FM support the reason why they eliminated lump sum prepayments as an option they did not answer my question other than they wanted to move everyone to autorenew. I ALREADY KNEW THAT. I asked a second time what is the reason they eliminated it. It should not make any difference to them why I prefer lump sum prepayments.

I am tired of this horse **** from FM. I have always made lump sum prepayments including when I first set up the account. WTF is the reason for this decision? Did FM ever poll their customers to see what they wanted?

I have the funds now so I want to prepay now instead of waiting until the renewal date when I may not have the funds in my account when they try to automatically deduct it. Complete bull ****.

Last edited by jkc054 : 24 Aug 2023 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 22 Aug 2023, 03:39 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Kingaroy, AU
Posts: 3,177
The OP is referring to the "Unfortunately we no longer accept lump sum prepayments." message gets if one endeavours to prepay a subscription amount prior to the renewal date. I understand their point.

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Old 23 Aug 2023, 07:48 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Holon, Israel.
Posts: 4,791
This reminds me of the time I was trying to rent an apartment for my 8 months stay in the USA in 1998: they wanted me to Prove i was able to pay" by providing documents that show a monthly income of at least four times the rent. I told them i could prove I was able to pay by paying for the whole time in advance. I could not prove that I have the monthly income because I didn't have any: all the funds for my 8 months visit were already in my bank account (actually I think they were in one $10000 cashiers' check and $8000 in travelers checks, and some cash in various currencies, but one or two days later they were I the account I opened in a local bank). They refused to be paid in advance. Eventually I found another place that was better and also more reasonable in what they accept as "proof one is able to pay" (they didn't ask me to pay in advance, and they accepted my host's statement that I'm covered and the US Immigration documents that say I have enough funds to be granted visa).

The point: making assumptions on how customers can make payments often misses some odd cases.
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Old 23 Aug 2023, 09:06 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: UK (East Anglia)
Posts: 731
I notice they allow payment through PayPal. Could you load the funds into a PayPal account ready for renewal day??
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Old 24 Aug 2023, 05:10 AM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Greenfield, Indiana
Posts: 104
I will check into it but did FM notify all its customers via email regarding this policy change?
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Old 24 Aug 2023, 09:39 AM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 1,649
I strongly suspect they have found the costs for handling lump sum payments far outweigh the advantage of accommodating a tiny number of customers. It probably requires manual work on the part of someone who gets paid more per hour than your yearly fee.
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Old 25 Aug 2023, 10:51 AM   #7
Essential Contributor
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 267
Originally Posted by jkc054 View Post
Paddle does not support lump sum payments.
Evidently Fastmail's top management have decreed, for a reason that may be perfectly legitimate and nothing to do with fine dining or lodge membership, that all payment processing will be outsourced to this "Paddle" outfit.
So that's that.
All other justifications are post-hoc hot air.
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