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Subscription traps: How to scrap an unwanted service

Wed 07 August 2019

Doorstep Loans Main

If you’ve ever found yourself paying a hefty fee each month for a subscription to a service you never use, take comfort in the fact you’re not alone. In fact, subscription traps are a very real issue for people of all ages, and when they get out of hand, can quickly cause debt.

What is a subscription trap?

Subscription traps are everywhere, and people from all walks of life can get caught out– whether it’s television broadband services, mobile phone contracts, or a local gym membership.

These subscriptions often start with a free trial or a discounted fee for the first few months of a service or membership. This idea lulls you into a false sense of security. It seems like you’ve found a great deal with plenty of time to cancel if you choose.

Unfortunately, if you forget to cancel the free trial on time, you could suddenly find money being taken from your account. If it’s only a small charge, it may take months before you even notice it has been leaving your account. If it’s a large amount, it could cause you to go overdrawn, which may result in bank charges.

Understand what you're signing up to

The easiest way to avoid a subscription trap is to fully understand the terms and read the small print before you sign up to any retailer, service or membership. It is important to understand how to cancel the service and whether there will be any cancellation fees before you give them permission to take a direct debit. The more care you take in what you sign up to, the less likely you are to have trouble down the line.

Reading reviews of the company can be valuable as it can highlight common issues with the service or customer support. If you notice a pattern of people struggling to cancel their membership or complaining about the service, it may be a better idea to take your business elsewhere.

Contact the company directly

Whether you forgot to cancel a free trial or have simply changed your mind about a service, the first step is to contact the company via telephone or email. Many companies may be willing to work out a solution with you because they deem positive customer experiences more important than your monthly fee. However, others may intentionally make it difficult or even impossible for you to cancel by creating a long-winded and exhausting cancellation procedure.

If you can’t get through to the company or they are avoiding helping you, don’t panic or give up. There are still ways you can scrap the service and save a lot of money in the future.

Cancel via your bank

If you are unable to get through to the company to cancel a membership, or they are making it awkward or impossible to leave, get in touch with your bank directly. You can speak to somebody at the bank and get more advice about your rights to close a direct debit. You might not be able to get money back for previous months, but it will put an immediate stop to the outgoings, and no more damage will be done.

Learn from your mistakes

If you have been caught up in a subscription trap, don’t fall for the same mistake again. Always be wary of signing up to services and giving out your bank details. Understanding the terms and conditions for the membership, reading reviews of the company and checking the small print can save a lot of future hassle.

At Morses Club, we want to help you get more control over your finances, and we hope these top tips can help you reduce your spending. We specialise in providing cash loans, sometimes referred to as doorstep loans, to help take care of any unexpected costs. Doorstep loans aren’t right for everyone, so if you are considering it as an option, it is important you understand how it works before you apply.