Would be nice to have a mail confirming i’ve been charged after derailing (+the 24 hours of legitimacy check).
If the charge fails to go through for whatever reason, we should email you, but the legit check email is also a charge notification (of a kind).
If you’ve derailed, you get charged by default, so unless you’ve got a ‘charge cancelled’ reply from support, any unchallenged legitimacy check emails are declarations of our intent to charge. (It’s unfortunate that there’s no gmail advanced search for ‘replied-to’ or ‘message-count’, but you can see the number of messages in a thread of
You can also see your charge history on this page: https://www.beeminder.com/pledges
What would an additional “you’ve been charged” email help you do better?
The second mail would be
- a confirmation of the charge going through
- a payment receipt
- a notification of the updated commitment with the new boundaries for derailing
- an additional reminder that you derailed and that it had consequences
What about viewing this like the “undo send” option in Gmail. The legit check is the confirmation of the charge, there just happens to be small delay such that if you catch it quickly you can undo it with minimal hassle. I don’t like the idea of “you’re being charged” followed by “ok, now for real we actually charged you”. I’d rather modify the first email to be clearer about, as @apolyton nicely put it, “you derailed and it had consequences”.
I think there’s a behavioral economic principle (sort of related to risk compensation) here where additional confirmations/warnings mainly cause you to take the initial confirmations/warnings less seriously. Also just the principle of minimizing the amount of email we send.
To my mind “legitimacy check” doesn’t mean anything close to “you derailed and you we’re charged”
That said, going to /pledges requires user action, where as i’m talking about the system informing the user about the most important action it could take: charging his credit card.
At the very least, consider the following: have you ever used a service that has not send you a mail receipt when it charged you for something?
Yes. I had boomerang charge me for a yearly subscription even after I had stopped using it. Despite it only being a once a year charge, there was no indication I was about to be charged, nor a receipt. Technically, I should have remembered to cancel, but this feels awfully sneaky to me. But beeminder seems pretty upfront about this.
I don’t think the “undo send” metaphor works unless the email says ~“you have been charged $x and this is your receipt”. Theoretically you could charge the user immediately and then issue a credit card refund if there is a dispute to the legit check. This is logically the same as Beeminder waiting to charge, hoping to avoid having to pay credit card fees twice, but it looks different to the user.
EDIT: To be clear, I don’t actually have a problem with the legitimacy check emails as they are today. But I don’t think the current set up mirrors the undo send metaphor closely.
 I’m assuming that merchants issuing a refund still pay fees to the credit card.
I also have the sense that it’s common for companies not to email you when they charge you. They know that if you’re not using the service such an email would just remind you to cancel. Shameful.
As I’ve argued on the Beeminder blog, I’d like to take it a step further than a norm of notifying you when you’re getting charged, namely companies should implement auto-canceling subscriptions and simply automatically stop charging you if you stop using the service.
Thank you for changing the subject line on the legitimacy check mails! Things are more clear now.
One thing to consider: free goals will send you a message that starts with “paying $0, now pledging $5”, that’s not very “stingy”.
How about “This one was free, now pledging $5”?
I actually like the consistency of “paying $X” ∀ X. Think of any poor robots, for one thing, who may want to parse these subject lines. (: Also: maximizing compactness of the subject line for viewing on phones (without being opaque to newbees).