How do I stop YNAB from renaming my transactions?

I'm new to YNAB, but not to this method of budgeting as I was using Mvelopes for more than a decade. 

I don't mind YNAB auto-categorizing and I understand how to exclude payees from this.  That part is all good.  My problem is that I shop on Amazon a LOT.  This means that I get transactions from Amazon for my Kindle purchases, Audible, digital purchases for movies, etc., along with merchandise.  I made the mistake of manually adding in one of my Amazon purchases before the transaction showed up.  Now, instead of using the transaction name from the bank, it's latched on to my simple "Amazon" description and has renamed ALLLLLL my transactions this way.  That means my Audible transaction, which I usually identify by the word "audible" in the transaction description, simply said "Amazon".  Had to chase down the transaction, eventually just logging into the bank to see that it was actually my Audible charge.  Same thing with my Kindle purchases, etc. 

* How do I allow myself to enter manual transactions WITHOUT YNAB assuming I want to rename every transaction that way?  Maybe just make the habit to delete my manual transactions rather than merging them? 

* And how do I fix all the transactions that have come in the past couple weeks that are now showing just "Amazon"? 

I went ahead and added a payee for Audible and Kindle and edited the Amazon payee, unchecking all the boxes and deleting the renaming rule.  It didn't fix the outstanding transactions so I had to go look them all up at the bank.  But I am hoping new transactions at least won't be automatically renamed...

Can I just turn off the default renaming thing?

One other question/comment...  On the renaming rules, is it doing an AND or an OR?  In other words, if I add 2 rules:

- contains AUDIBLE

- contains AMZN.COM

Will it ONLY match transactions that contain BOTH strings?  or will it match transactions that contain EITHER string?

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  • Renaming rules use a logical OR (either string).

    If you manually enter transactions, YNAB won't rename anything upon import. The rules are there for imported transactions that can't be matched. I don't think you can turn that off globally, nor would I want to. In my experience, the vendors for whom that would be undesirable are far fewer than those for whom it would be a benefit.

    I think you're left with adjusting rules (or deactivating the renaming) on a specific payee basis when you identify a problem.

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  • Thank you for the information!

    Let me give a specific example:

    I've been on YNAB just under 30 days.  Every month I get a charge for Audible.  I just got the first Audible charge for Audible on the YNAB budget a couple days ago.

    Previously, I (only 1 time) manually entered a transaction from Amazon (a real transaction for merchandise - nothing to do with audible).  Since I didn't know the crazy name they use on the transaction, I just entered "Amazon" in YNAB.  When the real transaction showed up, I matched them.  Later, realizing the auto-assign thing, I edited the "Amazon" payee and removed the auto categorize option.

    Fast forward to a few days ago.  I get an Amazon charge.  After the confusion, I  figured out it was audible.  The transaction at the bank was:

    AUDIBLE*MS#N##### AMZN.COM/BILLNJ ##SG##W##AA

    (where the #'s were actual numbers)

    I have no idea how or why that would translate in YNAB to "Amazon"...  As I said, this was the first YNAB charge I had gotten from Audible.  There was no history.  I'm trying to prevent this from happening in the future with my varied Amazon charges.

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    • Amy Rizzo It may have been the first from Audible, but it apparently wasn't the first that had AMZN.COM in the payee. The earlier (merchandise) import match created a payee rule. You said you deactivated the auto-categorization on the Amazon payee, but it's not clear you deactivated the auto-renaming. Edit the Amazon payee to change the renaming rule to something that won't trigger on the Audible import information.

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    • Amy Rizzo As you rename imported payees, YNAB will remember the change you made and automatically rename the payee in future imported transactions—as long as the original payee is an exact match.  I agree with Move Light Sound , and for any repeating expenses—a Scheduled Transaction will help too.

      Since you mentioned removing the original renaming rule, you should be set. Creating a new rule with Payee Management will apply to transactions going forward. If things look off on the next import, and I'd be happy to look closer, if you'd like to enable Support Access.

      When you hover the Payee, you'll see Imported As, and that can handy to create your rules!

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  • I don’t consider the name as important as the I do the category. If I have three apple purchases, I’ll set all three to have the same payee as apple, but use different categories for each one.  I’m a huge fan of enter it manually and let YNAB when it hits my account. First reason my dollars available is the law, not the transaction hitting. Second, I’m forced to look at every transaction, and verify it’s been accounted for, for both fraud avoidance and to better hold to rule 2.  If I have an unmatched transaction, I have to figure out why. 

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  • Since Audible is a recurring monthly charge, why not enter a scheduled transaction that repeat monthly, with all the correct information (payee, category, amount)?

    I believe you'll be able to match transactions more easily that way to the import. Disclaimer: I don't import, but scheduled transactions save me a ton of work for manual entry.

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