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How Much do Unwanted Subscriptions Cost You?

November 28, 2017, 10:00 AM
Gym memberships can be one of the toughest to cancel
  • Citizens Advice warns services can be difficult to get out of, costing you £53 a month
  • Gym memberships, TV, and online streaming services are the worst offenders
  • Companies may refuse to cancel subscriptions
  • We share the best tips to get out of unwanted subscriptions

Some consumers have struggled to get out of subscription services that they no longer want, which is costing them £53 a month, according to evidence from Citizens Advice.

While services can be easy to sign up for, they can be difficult to cancel, as Citizens Advice found that in nine out of ten cases, companies initially refused to cancel the subscription when asked.

Over 3 months, Consumer Advice found that people were wasting a total of £160 on subscriptions they didn’t actually want.

Consumers said they felt it was unclear they were signing up to a recurring payment in the first place, or that a trial contract will automatically lead to an unwanted paid service.

Companies refused cancellations by claiming they needed more notices- in some cases this stretched to six months- or told people they had to cancel through a specific route, such as phone or email.

One person even said that when they tried to cancel a subscription, because they had been made redundant, the company had asked to see proof from their employer, including a P45.

Citizens Advice said that under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, businesses cannot enforce terms on consumers that are unfair.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said, “Subscriptions are very easy to sign up to, but can be difficult to get out of.

“People are wasting time and energy trying to cancel subscriptions, while it is costing them money.”

What to check when cancelling a subscription:

  • Check your rights- each company can set their own cancellation policy, so you may not have the right to cancel a subscription early. Make sure you check the terms and conditions before signing up so you’ll know how to cancel.
  • Check the law- with online subscriptions, you will usually have fourteen days to get your money back if you change your mind and if you don’t use the service in this time. However, if you start using the service straight away, you may not be able to get a refund.
  • Check the policy- make sure you know what the company’s cancellation policy is, and follow this when you cancel. Don’t stop payments without checking if anything else if required, as you may then become liable for any missed payments.
  • Check the customer services department- there is no definition of what is an unfair policy. But if you are finding it tough to cancel, then it is best to check the company’s customer services department. If this falls through, then contact Citizens Advice.
AgnesFaludiover a year ago

I had problem with Hello Fresh, I needed to call Paypal to cancel the payments to them.

over a year ago

PayPal's always a good option for added payment protection.

Ceebersover a year ago

Different companies have various contract conditions. Surely a Retail Champion should be addressing the key issues and drawing together a code of good conduct across the sectors In the UK.

The channels are are set up to take your money to join up. The same system should be available if you should want to cancel.

It’s not rocket science and surely the first companies that nail this will reap the PR rewards, not just in the media, but with customers too.

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