I recently moved from a townhouse where I used Waste Management for my trash and recycling pick up. The apartment I moved into takes care of trash so last month I canceled the service, got a phone confirmation, and even took the extra step of removing my payment information from the website. What I see in the online portal is: enter image description here

All services are not showing and section is greyed out, autopay shows enroll option showing I unenrolled, and is grayed out to reflect no services available for autopay. And further, probably more importantly here, in the manage payment methods section: enter image description here

Clearly no payment method saved. Both of these views on the website have shown me this for weeks. Now in this case I'm assuming it's a software bug. I've already cleared it up with Waste Management (customer service rep looked into it, said it showed me still in auto pay on their system, took it out and refunded the extra charge that let me find out this was happening. Another set of bugs in that even if I was enrolled in autopay, if there are no services scheduled, it shouldn't be billed anyway, but less relevant here). Hopefully not too much background... I assumed when I deleted my saved credit card numbers they were no longer available to Waste Management in anyway, yet clearly they were saved in another capacity to continually be used like this.

Is it legal for a business to store and use my payment information in a way that I can't edit, remove, or otherwise control?


A company may retain information to comply with legal obligations, exercise legal claims or rights, or defend legal claims. Maintaining the ability to charge and refund on a credit card is within the scope of their right to retain information. I would not assume that "removing payment method" deletes the data from their database, it means that you can no longer use that method of payment. See this section of Cal. Civ. and this section. A company would need to retain the information somewhere in case there was a reasonable explanation of a charge-back.

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    You miss the really obvious reason they need to keep it - it was used in an actual transaction that they are legally obliged to keep records of for tax and accounting reasons. – Dale M Jul 21 '20 at 21:08
  • Appreciate the answers guys - on the question format, is it too much background/too much about a specific situation? I wanted to provide detail to make the exact intent of the question more clear, but felt I may have strayed from necessity at times. New here, probably will never be the most active member, but value any feedback. – TCooper Jul 22 '20 at 3:13
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    @DaleM: While tax and accounting may require a business to store who paid them, it will generally not require the business to store credit card numbers, routing numbers, etc. – Brian Jul 22 '20 at 16:27
  • a random upvote brought me back here - I'm curious, they obviously have a right to store it, but do they have a right to charge it again after I've removed it as a payment method? I know this is separate from the question in the title – TCooper Dec 2 '20 at 23:26
  • Subscriptions and auto-renewal services are notoriously problematic because you have consented to something, and they may make it difficult to withdraw consent. If this was e.g. an online onetime purchase of soap, they can't then use the card to charge you for cans of tuna that you didn't order. In case of dispute, they may say "you didn't withdraw consent". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/… says what they can and can't do. – user6726 Dec 3 '20 at 1:13

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