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  • Writer's pictureSimon Salvin

Cancelling a subscription!

Cancelling a subscription isn’t always the easiest of processes. Why would it be? These companies don’t want you to leave!

But this afternoon I came across one particular service which had me raging. Their practice is just downright rude and unacceptable.

I’m talking about Readly, the newsstand app for reading newspapers and magazines.

I’ve been subscribed for well over a year, but over the past few months I can’t remember opening the app and my wife has also seen little use of service.

So I headed to the website and logged in the account area, clicked on subscriptions and followed the link to cancel. I was greeted with two options, keep my subscription and maintain the current price of £7.99 for 6 months, in the knowledge of a price increase to £9.99 after receiving an email earlier this week, I thought the offer was rather cold, and the other option was cancel. So I clicked the cancel button, nothing happened, so I clicked it again and suddenly the chat window appeared. At first I didn’t put two and two together, my immediate reaction was it had detected I was having difficulty or it was a simple time based operation to offer chat? I didn’t want to chat, I just wanted to cancel, so I clicked a few more times with no success. I concluded it was perhaps a browser based issue, so I closed Safari and opened Edge, signed in again and immediately clicking the cancel button, the chat box brazenly popped up in the corner, the penny dropped!

There was no further page, no second or third attempt in convincing me to stay, it was the cold hard sell via chat, how much of this chat is automated and real person I don’t know? Certainly the first two replies are scripted. I know that from the two conversations I eventually had to take.

At this point I’m slightly annoyed, but with all of these type of conversations starting with politeness is always the correct way to go, upon asking why I wanted to cancel I replied “I’m simply too busy and am not making use of the service”. Of course they understand that but who wants to wave off a long standing customer without trying, so 30% off the current price for 6 months was the following offer. I politely thanked them for the offer but declined. I was then told the cancellation would be processed and I would receive an email confirmation.

I received an email a few minutes later, opening it and expecting to see the cancellation confirmation I was a little surprised to find it was just a transcript of the chat. So I waited a further 30 minutes. You may say I’m being impatient, but I don’t think 30 minutes is an unreasonable amount of time for someone to hit the cancel button, how hard can it be?

So I headed back to the chat where I was greeted with the same scripted opening, “ I can help you this afternoon, but first let me ask why you want to cancel?” No, was my abrupt reply, I’ve done this once already and now I’m getting wound up, “have you cancelled my subscription which I asked you to do earlier?” Without actually checking, an immediate response said “ If you asked earlier then yes, it will be cancelled, but it takes 48 hours”. 48 HOURS!!!!!!

My next payment is due in 48 hours, its not a direct debit, like many of these services its a recurring card payment, so I can’t cancel it with the bank without cancelling my card.

Why can’t these companies just have a button on their website that when you click it, it may present a discounted offer to stay, and another click confirms you really want to cancel, and boom 💥 its cancelled. Is that a lot to ask?

NOWTV is a great example that use this tactic, and throw in great offers for their sports subscription.

The real test will be whether I receive a cancellation email and whether I get charged again? I hope not for their sake!

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