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.
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I particularly hate services that require speaking to an agent. The Boston Globe, System Mechanic are just a few that immediately come to mind. I also dislike services that don’t send you a reminder that your free will ends on a certain date. Also free services that end as soon as you cancel not at the end of the trial
I will often not have time to cancel subscriptions because the process has been made to take 45 minutes because you're on hold with a computer or understaffed call center. The offices are usually 9-5 too, and I work a 9-5 so if I can't call to cancel within that timeframe-i am out whatever money that subscription costs me. It is difficult and frustrating, and the money does add up.
Amazon Prime has repeatedly charged my credit card even though we never intentionally signed up for it and won't stop when we have requested them to stop, We finally requested the bank to issue a new card. The bank did the research and agreed to issue a new card when they discovered the repeated charges. Amazon configures their check out so it is easy to sign up for their Prime service inadvertently.
I ordered an item from Walmart and they offered a discount if I clicked on "membership". Based on that they started charging me a monthly fee from the debit card I used to purchase the item. I tried to discontinue the membership by sending them an email, but there was no discontinue option. I disputed the charges with my bank and had to close that debit card because Walmart kept charging me.
I ordered a product from Eagle Commerce 'dba' Get Trim. After getting my initial order, a month later I received an order with a different product and was debited $213.99. I called and was told the initial order signed me up for monthly purchases. I told them I didn't sign up so I wanted to cancel and return the delivery I received. They said okay, but I would have to pay return shipping which was $9.95. They received the return in early September and I still have not received a refund, 9 months later. Every correspondence or phone call ends up with me being told it has been referred to Finance and I should wait 6-8 weeks.
To date have not experienced any of the problems described. I will save your email and contact in future if I do.
I have a recurring charge card payment subscription to Netflix. Over the past few years, I have experience unauthorized upgrade plan changes made automatically by Netflix to my account. I notice this price increase once I view my charge card bill. So, before I pay my bill, I need to go online to my Netflix account & reset the service fee back to "basic streaming." This unauthorized upgrade issue has occurred several times.
I think FTC should definitely expand and enforce the rule to make it easier for consumers to cancel their subscriptions. I'm going through something similar, I have a paid subscription with this company that refused to cancel the subscription. I called them several times to cancel and I keep getting run around, finally, I had to close my bank account that way I won't keep getting charged for something I no longer use or need.
We intentionally do no sign up for any free trials or any type of recurring charges, etc., because of previous problems in this area. It' hard enough to stop receiving stuff we have never ordered/requested, such as magazines.
SiriusXM satellite radio is notorious for having customer service that might make you want to cancel service. Why do we have to call an 800 number or chat with an associate to cancel service. We did not have to talk to a person to sign up for service. In fact in many cases you don't have to do anything to sign up; you buy a new car and service is already installed and working. If you want to keep it you can go online and sign up without having to talk to a soul.
It is important to read the cancellation fine print and the process is confusing. Magazine and newspaper subscriptions require that I call them in advance to cancel before they automatically renew my subscriptions to Vogue and the SF Chronicle. They do not have real-time online cancellations. I would like to subscribe to more publications but this renewal feature hinders me from doing so. I guess it is more affordable to go to the public library.
Offered and subscribed to Disney and ESPN add on to my current Hulu subscription. Canceling at the end of the free trial was a headache. Took two days of reading instructions to cancel on Google and following those instructions on the Disney(or Hulu site, can't remember which now) to no avail as the instructions led to a dead end. After two days and a few hours trying to figure it out, I called a number. The person answering was quick to answer and responded immediately to my request to cancel. The cancelation did go through with no more problems.
My mom had emailed Ryze to cancel her monthly subscription but instead of cancelling, the company tried to do more sales talk and ignored my mom's request by continuing to send their product monthly, charging her card. My mom decided to stop the PayPal payment but recently received another email alert from the company that they will be sending another bag of their product.
In reply to My mom had emailed Ryze to… by Sherrie
I had a similar experience with RYZECLUB. They charged my card for hundred of dollars without me ordering. They are a scam.
I have had mixed results with online and written requests to discontinue services and subscriptions. 60 favorable/40 negative, but the "negatives proved VERY difficult,stressful and time consuming to achieve the desired termination(s), and In recent 3 cases apparently requiring intervention from the WA State Atty General's office and copied of complaints sent to the FTC.
Your proposed legislation is definitely needed!.
Chris Peeters, PE
I recently had an issue with Ask An Expert. The Terms and Conditions stated that I could ask my question and receive a response for a $5 charge, and I could cancel at any point. They stated that I would be billed $69 the following month unless I cancelled before then. The answer I received was that I should seek counsel, which is what I already knew, so I immediately cancelled the membership. They instantly charged my credit card $69. I had to go through 3 different customer service agents to get the issue resolved. The first customer service agents actually just ended the chat. I had no way of continuing the conversation and had to begin again with another agent. I finally got the issue corrected and was refunded, but I literally had to argue to get this done and make sure that my membership was cancelled even after receiving an email of my initial cancellation.
It was for a magazine subscription. I had to cancel several times and write a letter for them to finally cancel and refund the amount they charged. I'll never do that again with any company for any product.
I wanted to cancel my subscription to The Boston Globe. I used their website and received a confirmation email confirming that I had cancelled it. A few days later, my credit card had a charge on it for the subscription. I disputed the charge. The credit card company gave me an immediate provisional refund and investigated my claim. A month later, it was settled.
I Received a book I did not order I sent it back all I get is religious material I called the company but it did no good it still comes over and over again after I called they had enough nerve to ask for a donation that is sick! I did do business with the company but now after this I realized what they are doing I stopped They are in it for the money not the persons beliefs I am not saying the company's name because I don't want to be reliable but it is a religious company.
I think it would be a great idea to make cancellations easier across the board, and to make it a one attempt effort. I have had subscriptions that state cancel at any time by writing cancel on the statement and return it, but after returning the cancellation statement I continue to get billed for the subscription. However, when I write "Cancel, Final Notice" on the statement, it usually ends the transaction. I never ever opt for or purchase anything using "Auto Pay". It can be a disaster.
I appreciate the fact that you are seriously considering making this process easier. Keep me posted.
The phone calls I get on a daily basis are from "Medicare Benefits." They are usually a foreign accent, hard to understand, and I have asked numerous times to take my name off their call list. If I don't answer, they go through a different number. I have called numbers back and the number is not in service. These numbers usually have my area code, but are not local. I have even had calls in Chinese. I don't know what else to do. I put my number on the Do Not Call List, but they persist.
The Goods by InsideHook doesn’t allow me to opt out of receiving their emails. When I enter my email address as requested, a message appears to enter a valid email address. I have tried multiple times to stop receiving their emails but to no avail.
Worst experienced was with the Houston Chronicle owned by Hearst Corporation. The reason that I wanted to cancel is that they were billing at a higher rate for the e-version than promised, and had to call three months in a row.
No option to cancel on their website. When requesting by email, they direct you to call their number. When you call their number, after being on hold forever, the staff tries to convince you repeatedly and aggressively to keep the subscription, often for a lower price. I tried several times. No place to leave a comment either. Wrote a very negative one through Google.
One time I was very assertive and the male who responded, told me he was not authorized to cancel accounts that he would transfer me to his supervisor. And then dropped my call, so I had to start the process over again.
YES. Something should be done about it. Thank you. Martha Eguileor
My problem area involves email ads, both ones I have subscribed to and ones I have never heard of. The problem is I cannot delete them. They have instructions for how to unsubscribe but then the next week they are they are back I really wish something could be done about this.
I know that ive had a few subscriptions in the past that have been cancelled. I cant remember what those were so I'm guessing that they were easy to cancel. The one that comes to mind is Amazon. They Amazon continue to try and charge my bank account for a prime account that I made and never actually used. I didnt realize fir a while it was happening. When i did I couldnt remember my log in details and still to this day if there is money in that account on the 14th of the month they try and get it. Im still trying to log into that account because it gets frozen after so many wrong attempts. Ive yet to try and contact them for help. Maybe if i had it wouldn't take this long.
The only problem I have had lately is Microsoft trying to sell me their services. Every time I go on my computer I get messages trying to sell me a new computer or purchase their services or change my browser to Microsoft. This is irritating. My computer works fine and I am happy using Google and do not need Bing.
I don't sign up for trial subscriptions anymore because too many companies ignored my requests to cancel and kept billing me. While I was finally able to get them to stop and get my money back it took months of phone calls and e-mails and threats to sue to get them to comply.
Yourscoreandmore says I signed up for a 1month trial for $1 dollar and then when the month was up they changed my account for $ 39.99 my bank alerted me of the charges when I called the number on my bank account I got the run around and was sent an email with instructions to fill out the form and mail it back to them for review and they would let me know if I can get my money back. the Man was very rude I didn't even sign up for this
I support this rule and yes I have had difficulty canceling afew subscriptions!! The details are in the extremely tiny print.
I am a retired federal worker. After I retired I enrolled in a free email subscription to Federal Computer Week, FCW. After awhile I tried to cancel. I returned a request to unsubscribe every time they sent something, several times a month. It took 15 months to quit receiving eMails from them.
Attempting to assist a low-income senior in my public housing complex to stop a company--- after he purchased a product online--from continuing to mail him related products that he did not order. He is Russian and doesn't speak clear English, and any level of nuance eclipses his understanding. The question is how to stop these charges. His bank has not been helpfu. Thank you
If I ever have a problem canceling an automatic payment, I will let you know. You are doing good work. Keep it up!
Instant ink HP they take your money even after you cancel and then freeze your printer leaving you without ink even though you’ve paid for the full month. For example you call them on the 10th you still have 20 days to print, however that is not the case.
Make it as easy to cancel as to subscribe to the trial-with one click and done! I have spent more time trying to get out of things than I ever spent in the try-out! Wasted more hours on these things, especially after discovering more money leaving my acct than was advertised! I have finally decided not to be tempted by any more ez con ads if at all possible by just refusing to even read most. Now I follow an ez click thru process on all ads..it works! Just click thru, don't take time to read or look or be tempted. Have more time for your own enjoyment.
Of all of the subscription plans I have signed up for, only *2* offered notify me 30 days before the plan was set to renew - Apple TV+ and the Washington Post. I participate in 2 health insurance plans (EyeMed and Delta Dental) and they don't do this, nor do other subscription services like the New York Times and Amazon Prime. I have had the experience of trying to change a subscription (for example, changing from a physical newspaper to a digital only subscription) and was put through an interrogation. The company offered 6 months of a discount and I will have to remember to contact them to try again to change to the digital subscription.
Keep it coming, please.
In reply to Keep it coming, please. by Chaplain John Waters
I left a comment, but it hasn’t been posted yet. I wanted to add that I’ve had to call the companies and tell them to remove my payment method from their system. Most of them will not let you leave the payment method blank. That is another concern regarding cancelling.
I've had issues lately with companies instituting various hurdles in their online subscription cancellation processes. For example, Sirius XM requires you to chat with their chat robots in order to cancel your subscription, and they repeatedly try to deter you from cancelling. The cancellation process ends up taking several minutes because you have to tell them "No, I want to cancel" repeatedly. I would be in favor of a streamlined click to cancel rule to deter egregious business practices like this.
I’ve had multiple negative experiences trying to cancel subscriptions. In my experience, about 95% of the companies require you to call them to cancel. Not chat, not email. Then…they loop you and try to get you to keep the subscription with a sales pitch. This has happened to me enough times by now, that I am not nice, I tell them to quit looping me and cancel the subscription. And then I threaten a chargeback. That always works.
Overall, it is stressful, time consuming, & guarantees they won’t get that customer back, nor any of their friends in the future.
Please pass this law!! I still have to call a few more to cancel!
No-brainer legislation. We are busy these days cleaning up our personal lives after Covid-19 and can use anything that makes anything easier. This country is RULED by corporations deseving of every possible cuts to their income and power.
I have had great difficulty canceling online newspaper subscriptions. The process is completely biased toward the newspaper. In my case, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the economist, accepted my subscription through my phone, but would not allow me to cancel through it. I had to call their phone number and be directed through a long phone chain and be put on hold. When I was finally able to speak to a human being, I was forced to listen to a lecture about why cancelling was a bad idea and then more argument after I reiterated my desire to cancel before they finally accepted my decision. Much too difficult of a process.
The APP Total ADBlock is very bad. They need o be investigated. They have all these great comments when you look at their ratings of the app. You sign up for initial trial at $1.99. Once you do that then you find out they keep billing you and then you see all the adverse comments about how bad it is.
Love the articles received thus far, thanks for all the info. So far I had no issue in cancelling any subscription.
Vanity Fair magazine is a huge offender. When I tried canceling online, I was told I was not authorized to do that (my own subscription!) and would have to phone instead. Which I did. I was automatically put on hold. I waited at least five minutes and was disconnected. This happened three times.
I believe that it should be made in a manner where as easy as it is to agree to freetrial/signup/subscribe, should be equally how easy it is to cancel.
Or perhaps abolish credit card info being tied to free trials. No auto-renewal charges and assumed desire for full blown subscription. Free trial ends, you should get to choose THEN, whether or not to purchase and share your CC info.
In reply to I believe that it should be… by Jason Glynn
"abolish credit card info being tied to free trials." This is a great idea and seems to be the simplest solution to the problem.
Yes, I've had several "take advantage of the customer" moments with auto payments from Optimum Cable when they insist that when I cancel I MUST pay for an additional 30 days outside of the cancellation month. Microsoft charged me incorrectly for a product but because I didn't notice the overcharge within a 30 day window, refused to give me my money back. Also, monthly increases in my gym membership without prior notice... just took the additional money month after month until I finally noticed that there was a price increase. No notice, no reminders... NADA!
NORTON hit my credit card with an automatic renewal that I did not authorize. On top of that my current subscription was good until June 6th and they charged my card on May 6th. I called and tried to cancel and got the run around. They wanted my birthdate, last 4 of my social security, etc. I finally hung up and called the credit card company.
I had kind of the same experience. One was an app (Tinder), one was an internet provider (Hughsnet), and one purchased an item online- all of these took advantage of my credit card after I told them to cancel- they still took money out of my account without permission, then I had to fight to get my money back. No Vendors can ever be trusted.