Have you signed up to get something sent to your home regularly? Has a company offered you a “free trial”? Or maybe you have a membership or subscription that bills your credit card automatically. Those can be convenient set-it-and-forget-it ways to get the products you want. But what’s your experience been when you tried to cancel? The FTC wants to hear your story.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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I have had numerous time-consuming and frustrating experiences trying to cancel auto-renewing subscriptions. A recent one was trying to cancel a CVS ExtraCare membership, which could only be done over the phone (as of last year).
Far and away, however, are the challenges of trying to cancel subscriptions for a loved one with dementia. We have poa and manage her limited finances, and it has been very difficult trying to cancel auto renewals when she has no idea what she's even subscribed to. She had re-occuring charges from McAfee and GoogleText, for example, and hasn't owned a computer in at least five years.
My Nigeria Hacked email accounts are full of these type of emails! YES! Extra protection because these are how the Hackers gain control & keep it! Unfortunately, this Nigeria group of dark web hackers have been living in my phone seeing what I see since December. They've taken control of all financial & gov data which is my security! It's overwhelming
I had to sign up for the "free trial" of Adobe Acrobat pro to get features needed to complete a federal government job application/onboarding. I forgot to cancel before the end of the trial period - which is on me I guess. But when I finally went to cancel, they told me I had agreed to a contract for one year and would have to pay half the remaining contract value in order to cancel ($60 at that point). This is outrageous and unethical. If you're going to trick people into subscribing it should at least be month-to-month.
Commenting on canceling subscriptions or memberships that have auto enroll. In my experience, the majority of the time, you have to call to cancel which everyone knows is inconvenient. You have to go through the hassle of pressing 20 numbers to get to a "live" person. Then they want to know why, which you shouldn't have to explain but you provide an explanation. If the subscription doesn't cost that much say under $15 month, they try to persuade you not to cancel it. Another inconvenience. They use a sales tactic and say it's only $15/month. My rebuttal is 15 times 12 over an extended amount of time adds up. I don't like wasting money. It should not be so difficult to cancel a subscription. It should be as simple as it was to sign up.
Amazon is one that makes it easy to cancel a subscription as they allow you to do it online. I feel all companies should follow suit.
I appreciate you listening to real consumers and consider their experiences.
Some companies let you cancel but it doesn't really cancel.
Then there are companies that even though you cancelled maintain your information and solicit anyway. And, even sell your information. It must stop.
Just yesterday 5/4/23, I made a request to "Account Assure" to cancel a membership and refund everything that they charged to thru my Roamans account. I am paying on my Romans account; however, I do not make any purchases with Roamans. I just want to pay off my account as I am no longer a "Plus Size". They are trying to keep the charges that they have been billing me.
I don't sign up for "free trials", they usually don't interest me anyway, but I can see how people can get trapped. I do have a few auto-renew magazines, but I have been getting them for many years, so I trust them. My credit card company notifies me soon after they say they are going to bill me, and it has worked out fine so far. As far as I know I have never been duped by anything. If it sounds too good to be true, it always is. It also helps that I don't do anything on social media. We don't respond to phone calls from people we don't know and the Verizon and NoMoRoBo intercepts work fairly well.
Yes some companies make it a 3 step process and others have very sneaky ways to scam you into memberships by offering you a great deal on some products but my biggest huge issue is with robo or spoof cell phone calls and text
We only have our cable tv/phone/internet , electric and a medical bill on autopay
Yes, eight years ago, signed up for magazine. Cancel a month later and they refuse to stop sending magazines.
I subscribed to AVG and when i called I got scammed out of $900 bucks from a person who claimed he worked for AVG so i automatically cancelled my bank card . Now they. Cannot charge my card . I will never get web security on line again .I learned the hard way to not trust anyone by phone. I do not make purchases on line. No matter how good it sounds
Often when I try to cancel something like this it requires me to call a number. Usually then someone who does not speak English as a first language answers the phone. Then they often try to talk you into staying, or making alternate offers, etc. A lot of times I can't really understand them (I have hearing issues which also doesn't help) and often when we are done talking I still am not 100% sure my subscription has been cancelled. I feel that there should be an online way to unsubscribe, that is EASY TO FIND...often this option is buried deep in the website. And if we must call, it should be an automated system that speaks clearly in English. Some people I know are very intimidated by having to talk to a stranger on the phone and this would help them to unsubscribe more conveniently. Also have ways to cancel available 24/7 for people who do not adhere to a 9 to 5 lifestyle and may want to cancel at 3 am.
Also, after one orders an item that will lead to a subscription, there should be a clear page where the consumer needs to confirm that they understand this will be an ongoing subscription, the information needed for cancelling, and a button to say yes, they still want to order.
I hate sneaky subscriptions. We once paid for a few months of the Disney Channel, which we did not knowingly order, and we never have figured out how we started paying for that. We never watched Disney and at the time didn't have a TV at all. Thanks for taking a look at this!!
I've had plenty of trouble with free trials of video services. It was extremely difficult canceling Paramount Plus because you have to recall from where you originally signed up. The offers are everywhere! Whether thru Amazon (who are easy to work with) or an 800 number - it took me forever to cancel. They did offer a small rebate on the amount owed however. I will NOT do it again - unless the FTC can fix this problem. Thanks!
I did try to contact Daily Beast because they seemed to have canceled my subscription. I had a charge on my Visa to prove it had been paid. The charge included a phone number which I called. It said the number was not working so I did what one would typically do and Googled Daily Beast and called that number. I should have known when they asked for $1.00 to process the DB issue. When I explained my problem, I was then sent to a number where they said it would cost me an additional $55 to proceed. At that point I said I would not do that and hung up but the charge showed on my Visa. I called and said I was not paying it. They said it was non-refundable. I immediately called my Visa company and they canceled the charge and the credit card and issued me a new card because the scammer now had my Visa number. Hopefully, that is the end of it.
One company told me it would be in effect starting next year. They'd already withdraw the funds. There was a one day difference.
Contacted via email.
I have had three subscription product services. Two are very easy to delay shipments The third, that was FINALLY canceled had no identifiable (to me anyway) way to delay or cancel the subscription. There was no phone number found. They professed my email to cancel went to their spam folder and they did not see it. I contacted my credit cad company and instructed them to deny any charges from the firm, figuring that would get their attention. About that time they DID acknowledge my request for cancellation. It all worked out in the end after 4 months of attempts to cancel the subscription.
I tried for months to click the button to cancel my subscription to Keap.com They never called back as promised. I called multiple times and was told it would. be cancelled. It was not. I called again after I was charged another month and insisted they reverse the charges. It was infuriating. I was not able to cancel without having to talk to someone.
I have tried to cancel subscriptions to magazines thru my Discover Card. Several years ago I called the 800 number on the card but they referred me to the Company managing the delivery.
Needless to say I am still getting billed for the magazines although at a lower rate. I just wanted to cancel them. It seems you can't get what you want when you try.
It was for a diet shake and my doctor said cancel the order that I couldn't take it cause of medical I was on. So I tried to cancel and they said I was locked in and had to pay for them. Well my first to boxes were stolen from my apartment building and they said we'll that's not our fault and said my third payment was due in a week so I canceled the card. I'm still owed $255.00 and probably won't ever get it back. They have very strict rules that no one ever said ANYTHING ABOUT until you looked further into website. Rules were 2 pages long and my opinion very stupid!! I so hope I get my money back cause I'm still bothering them about my money!
FTC message delivered at door free of cost to alert citizens like me from victims of con artists. Thanks.
FTC is in bed with corporate companies and Lobbyist.
Why would they listen to small consumers like us.
Politics, same is every country.
Corporations and Lobbyist take advantage of this and get away with it. We poor consumers have to suffer. What a shame
I recently took advantage of a Groupon coupon to join Sam's Club for one year with automatic renewal but cancel anytime before the renewal date. When the time came for me to cancel there was no provision on the website to go to my account and cancel. There was a phone number to call but no one answered after several tries. My only recourse was to travel 25 miles to the local Sam's Club and cancel at their membership desk. Since I was cancelling a couple weeks before the deadline I assumed I would be able to shop while I was there (after cancelling) but was told "no - your account is cancelled today". Needless to say I will not shop there regardless of any future incentives..period!
A very few are straight forward one “click” to unsubscribe. Some make you jump through hoops to get to the “ unsubscribe” link. I have had to input my email address in several, then check off different boxes to unsubscribe. I think I get more spam after “unsubscribing” on some links. It’s NEVER easy.
To this date, I have not had any issues when a decision is made to cancel a subscription.
I am, however, grateful for all your efforts in trying to protect the general public and happy to read your comments and advice on a regular basis.
Thank you and, please, keep the good task going.
I have a subscription service with Intuit for Quickbooks desktop. Intuit is phasing out desktop for online accounting. In doing so they are ramping up the annual subscription rate for desktop to encourage conversion to online. Researching the conversion, I open myself to more subscription costs. Consequently, I want to cancel my subscription for desktop that provides more capabilities than I currently need. When I go online to cancel, I can’t because I am not the principal owner of the software. I don’t understand because I initiated the recurring charge that is billed to a credit card in my name. I now have to provide ID plus other forms of identification to cancel. I tried to contact Inuit concerning this by responding to their email regarding the large increase in subscription rate. My email was returned undeliverable. I am approaching the point that I have to block the charge at my bank. I am frustrated by the lack of service offered to me my Intuit. Last year when the price increase occurred, I called them to discuss my accounting needs as a very small business owner. They had no other suggestions other than to subscribe to the online version with still more increased cost. This left me to research on my own other accounting software options for my business. One option is Quicken by Intuit. I am scared they are going to lock me into both subscriptions with the same inconveniences to unsubscribe. I was pleased to see this request by ftc to share my experience. It has been very frustrating!!!
It would be great if the FTC would provide a site for the consumer to forward suspicious offers and solicitations to investigate. These sites change their email and websites frequently and the
individual consumer does not seem to be able to stop them from flooding ones inbox.
so far no problem
I have not had any of those calls you mentioned.
Thanks for the alert.
Verizon and AT&T are working like mirrors. These are non-competition conspiracies, competitors on the surface only.
Both of them cheated me and it took over 1-year to recover the funds they STOLE (attempted).
Television related subscriptions are not AS BAD but leading that direction.
The details are substantial. I have been fighting and reporting other matters to the FTC and realized that the FTC is not capable of resolving the majority of issues thus waste of my time. Look up my name to find a huge problem in Florida. I have provided evidence to the county sheriffs (2), detectives, the Senator, the Bar association who is currently reviewing my additional information. In essence, if we are not providing the entire closed case, the FTC isn't interested. You want me to do all the work for you? Pay me!
Could not cancel subs ription before next chg on Hello fresh. Also a problem trying to cancel amazon prime
THEY MAKE IT EXTREMLY HARD TO CANCEL. YOU HAVE TO FIND THE PLACE TO CANCEL ON THE WEBSITE. THEY ALWAYS HIDE RENEWAL DATES, SO THAT YOU'RE ALWAYS SURPRISED WITH RENEWALS.
I have used them. And I sometimes miss the deadline, usually 7 days, to cancel.
On some sites, it does seem hard to find a link to do so. For others it is easy. And some will link Chat, and of course, make yo offers to keep you.
Where I have been late, some will refund the fee,
Both appconner and popsilla, which may be the same company offer the app "Libby" for free. However, in fine print at the bottom, it states that there is a monthly charge after five days and I did not see a place to cancel
And I quote: "The FTC is thinking about expanding an existing rule to make it easier for people to cancel when they want to stop deliveries or subscriptions."
Indeed, don't think on it -- do it. Capitalism while proving beneficial in many respects, it proves a 2-edge sword as well. Why? Too often these retailers employ deception, cynical convenience. So, in this day and time of legal- and business miscarriages, the FTC's intention to curb this habit proves the apt employment of "Checks and Balances."
The last outfit with which I had a "subscription" was Pay Pal... Ridiculous. 'Glad I am rid of them. One should need to do no more than click on a button or field to close out a subscription of any sort, to wit, -- alas, as a customer will have undertaken to protract his or her subscription so as to extract some supposed boon, one speedily finds that a mere 1 + 1 = 2 equation becomes likened first to learning the pattern and orders of the Fibonacci Sequence before one can ever resolve his or her dilemma.
Who needs this sort of falderal?
On February 5, 2023 CONDE NAST MAGAZINES debited $119.99 from my account to 'RENEW' at the end of a free trial for the NEW YORKER MAGAZINE. I had signed up for the free trial to get past a paywall encountered so I could finish reading a single article that had caught my interest. While I was able to get a refund I had to spend much time and frustration disputing this charge. My 85 year old cousin had an identical experience and my sister has commented she never accepts trial offers for fear of similar consequence, any policy that reigns in these scams is a good thing. Obviously companies doing this know that many people haven't the time or patience to dispute these charges.
I was purchasing a product on line and I was going to be given $20.00 of my first purchase. I paid for my product and was then asked if I wanted to apply this 20.00 toward my purchase to day and I agreed. Well they set up this account where they were going to send emails from numerous stores with coupon offers. and they will be taking $3.00 out of my bank account each month and be bombarded with multiple emails I never wanted.
I had subscribed to Paramount+ and could not cancel it. No one respond to emails, phone calls and there was way to cancel online.I had to cancel my credit card to stop the monthly fee and get a new one to cancel the subscription
I have avoided any new subscriptions due to difficulties in canceling certain current subscriptions. I have been told to call a certain number, email cancellations are not allowed. This must stop.
I appreciated the emails and updates you send me about scams and fraude
There has been more than one time that I have had to wait for the subscription period to end to get out of one of these money traps and that can vary from one month to many months, but generally not more than a year. It would be wonderful if we could cancel these sorts of costs as easily as we can order them, which has never been my experience and I am a retired 70-year-old Law Enforcement Narcotics Investigator that had a career that spanned from 1974 to 2004.
Companies are intentionally making it difficult for consumers to opt-out, unsubscribe or discontinue services and products.
I have personally had a nightmare unsubscribing to
1. Balance of Nature (dietary supplements)
2. Fox Nation (Fox News Corp) online portal
In each of the above situations I have had to cancel credit cards - just to guarantee further charges were not made.
I wholeheartedly agree with the need for a "click to cancel" rule. I recently experienced the inability to cancel an automatic renewal of an Amazon Prime membership, including a disconnected Amazon number being provided to my bank's credit card department. After weeks of trying, including writing the company, I accepted a partial reimbursement and gave up on the rest.
I get magazine sent to my house all the time and have never asked for them. I better check to make sure I'm not being billed. It's so bad now days. Just the the pay day loans. I was getting calls saying they knew the loans I took out and when and even had my social security info. Hope you catch up to them and I Thank You for all you do
Magazine subscriptions. 6 of them. I canceled and they stopped for a while and then restarted. So I contacted my credit card and let them know that I had canceled the subscription and I would refuse payment for any further subscriptions.
Sirius Radio and Norton virus protection both make it hard to find out how to cancel ....You have to search to find the proper phone number to call and they debit your credit card a week prior to the expiration date of your services. You then have to speek to an agent who tries trickery to get you to renew at those higher prices.
The other thing is one of them forces you to keep an active credit card on file or they won't renew your services at all. "They are hopeing you will forget to call, then the services renew at a much higher price"!.... If you call them, they will lower the renewal price if you complain enough.
This is a good idea please make it easier to cancel or renew without getting hit with the higher cost of the renewal.
I agree that EVERY business must make it easy for consumers to stop/cancel subscriptions/memberships! I right now am considering canceling a longtime membership with my daughter's Life Time Fitness membership club in Montvale, N.J. But this company has a ridiculous policy, that members must give Life Time 30 days advance notice of cancellations in writing, before members can cut Life Time loose! Life Time is NOT a home rental company/landlord, or members' employer. They are just a private, commercial recreation/fitness place making profits! They become our members' gang lord, though, as we try to leave them, and stop paying them with our credit cards every month. Life Time has us members on automatic, expensive, monthly Life Time payments from our credit/debit cards! And they were powerful enough to MAKE me pay them something, when I stopped my payments to them during our 2020 Covid government shut down! I disputed their ongoing charges with my bank at that time, only for my bank to say they HAD to legally pay some of my monies to Life Time, since Life Time said so, in our contract I signed with them! I returned to Life Time for is their unlimited swimming opportunities that my daughter still enjoys. But I will likely, bravely stop her membership again this year, as I notice Life Time's web site showing their monthly membership fee to be more than $200! We're paying $171.79 now. And I know Life Time likely will sneakily start taking more of my money one month, just as it has done in the past! Life Time never tells members when Life Time raises its prices. It just takes more money from us, with no advance notices. So, why do Life Time members have to give Life Life, written notices 30 days in advance of canceling our increasingly expensive, Life Time memberships? Isn't everyone supposed to have the power of choice, here in our "free" America?
To date I have not had a problem of this matter but I would like it to be made easier in case I have a problem in the future.
I've only had one experience and was flawless so thx are due you for improvements. I've also used "review" and "complaints" more than ever. Do have problems with my adblock not allowing me to make some reviews, others have no issue. I'm not going to ping pong back and forth to enable/disable something I use for protection so wake up 'you some'!
I tried two service where you setup and get a product bi monthly. Both services made it impossible to stop it. It took 3 months to cancel for one service and the other it took several weeks. It was a horrible experience.
Joined Planet Fitness before Covid. My mother died 12/2019, I tried to cancel my membership 1/2020. Okay two months then billing resumed. Called, told to send an email, did, stopped for 6 months of so, then resumed. Last billing was two months ago, still checking monthly to avoid