How to Cancel a Free Trial After it’s Over
If it seems like it’s impossible to cancel a free trial, you’re not imagining things. Whether it’s Netflix, UFC tv, Amazon Prime or one of the many subscription services out there, free trials are popular for a reason…and we don’t mean popular with the people who use them. They’re popular with the people who sell the service because they so quickly turn into recurring fees people sometimes don’t even notice. The model works like this:
Step One: Consumer signs up for a free trial.
Step Two: Consumer forgets to cancel the subscription.
Step Three: Consumer gets billed (often recurringly).
It’s the 21st century version of a loss leader. That’s when a retail shop offers something at low profit or a loss to lure you into the store, where they are confident you’ll spend enough money to make the initial loss worth it. You’re most familiar with the idea from Black Friday sales.
A recent article at Time.com’s Money section looks at the free trial model, why it works and how you can avoid steps one and two. It notes which subscriptions make it easiest to cancel (for example, you can still enjoy the rest of your free month on Spotify even if you cancel your account the same day you sign up), and where more complex cancellation procedures make it tricky to get out without a ding to your bank account.
Though some articles in this vein stick to (fairly obvious) generalities like setting a reminder on your phone to cancel on a certain date, Time.com’s How to Avoid Paying for a Subscription After the Free Trial Ends instead deals with specifically how to cancel on time for Hulu, Apple Music, Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime. Read the full article here to get all the tricks and tips.