Progress Steals from Ex-Subscriber

The headline might seem harsh, but there’s just no better way to put it. In Barbara Nordin’s column in this week’s Hook, she handles a complaint from John Casey, who subscribed to the Daily Progress until mid-2003, when he decided to stop getting it. He got a letter from the paper about his “EZ Pay” subscription, seeking updated information about automatically sucking money out of his bank account to pay for his nonexistent subscription. It turns out that in the past year, they’ve taken a total of $158.34 out of his bank account without his permission — he never signed up for any such payment plan. (It is a fundamental and frightening aspect of the banking system that anybody can do this to anybody’s account at any time, armed with no more information than the account number, as written on the bottom of every check; there’s no way to block it.) When Casey’s wife called the Progress to demand her money back, they refused, caving only after Barbara Nordin called to investigate. The Progress refuses to explain what’s going on, leaving, as Nordin writes, some serious unexplained questions.

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