Adobe’s not alone in being difficult to cancel. There’s a parade of others.

More companies are making it difficult to cancel subscriptions but there are ways to make it easier - Photo by Sarah B. on UnSplash

What options do you have? A few, but only a few.

After Adobe was sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week, for allegedly making it too hard to cancel, ConsumerAffairs got curious – are there others just like Adobe? And what can you as subscribers to these services do about it.

What Adobe did and others do is nothing more than strategic. A chess move if you will.

Companies use complex cancellation processes as a retention tool to discourage customers from canceling and, thereby, cutting into the company’s list of expected paying customers month by month. 

Take, for example. As one ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Fresno Calif., put it: “The site itself is pretty interesting, but their cancellation procedure is garbage. They make it hard to cancel and anyone not completely paying attention might miss that you have to click three different cancellation buttons before they actually cancel your membership.”

But, the cancellation clown car didn't stop there. “I clicked the cancellation button and was taken to another page which asked me if I was sure I wanted to cancel or pause my membership, I canceled, but then I was taken to yet another page and again asked if I meant to cancel,” the reviewer said.

That’s just Ancestry. When ConsumerAffairs dug further into our reviews database, the list of companies that consumers said “made canceling difficult” included: B&H Photo, BarkBox, Coursera, DISH Network, Dollar Shave Club, eharmony, HelloFresh,, McAfee, Nutrisystem, Office Depot, Planet Fitness, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Please Mr. please

In his review of Dish, Herb of Morro Bay, Calif., says that when a customer service rep starts their “why do you want to cancel” script, you should say “Stop, please. I want to speak to a supervisor.” 

At that point, you’ll either be able to a) cut through all the cancellation red tape quickly; or, b) Get yourself a better deal. 

“It was in this back-and-forth that they suddenly offered me a $50 a month discount. Well, why didn't they offer that for being a loyal customer for 10 years instead of on the precipice of cancellation?” he asked.

What other options do you have?

When you’re face to face with a devil of a cancellation, what can you do? You can keep clicking and calling and getting the runaround, but that’s going to do nothing but frustrate you further. However, as we found out, there are some much easier – and less stressful – ways to kill a subscription.

One way is to use your bank or credit card company to fend them off. In a Reddit thread dedicated to cancellation hassles, posters offer these ideas:

  • “Get an account with Change the billing info to one of their cards. Then just pause all transactions on the privacy card.” Another poster replied that the same is possible with Capital One.

  • “If you pay via credit card, try calling your [credit card] company and get them to stop all payments to [the company].” To which another person said, “Ditto if it’s an ACH bank draft - call your bank and request a stop.”

Go the app route

Since there’s an app for everything, that means there is an app – well, actually several – that will cancel subscriptions for you. Here are a few popular options:

  • Rocket Money (formerly known as True Bill): This app’s pitch is “Rocket Money identifies your subscriptions to help you stop paying for things you no longer need. Your concierge is there when you need them to cancel unwanted subscriptions so you don't have to.”

  • Trim: Trim’s pitch is “Trim has a unique algorithm to analyze your transactions and automatically identify your subscriptions. … You can also ask us to cancel any unwanted subscriptions for free!”

  • Subscription Manager: “Take control of your subscriptions with Subscription Stopper, the all-in-one app designed to effortlessly manage and cancel subscriptions,” the company says. 

  • Seasons: This isn’t an all-encompassing app, but rather just handles streaming subscriptions. Nonetheless, TechHive’s Jared Newman likes Seasons for this reason: “Seasons can tell you when to sign up for each service and when to cancel, based on when new episodes from your watchlist are available.”

If you go the app route, Just keep in mind that those services may come with a downside: they want your personal data.

For example, in the Google Play description of Subscription Manager, it says the app “may share these data types with third parties;” “may collect … Personal info, Financial info and three others.” Fortunately, the user does have the ability to request that data be deleted. Nonetheless, you should review all the data that an app may require you to share.

iPhone has a cancellation feature

Christopher E. Roberts, a class action attorney at Butsch Roberts & Associates LLC, says there’s a way for iPhone users to take care of their subscriptions without having to fuss with talking to someone.

“Go to Settings, click your profile, and then select ‘Subscriptions.’ You can see a list of your active subscriptions, their cost, and their renewal dates,” he told ConsumerAffairs.

“You can cancel a subscription by selecting the name of the service and then selecting ‘cancel subscription.’ People are often surprised when they do this about how many subscriptions they have.”

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