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Study shows how hard it is to cancel accounts

Tom Spring of PC World conducted an unscientific study into how difficult it is to cancel subscription services purchased over the internet, and the results are in. It’s not easily done.

To evaluate how difficult canceling an online service can be, I signed up for and then canceled 32 accounts, each at a different site. About a third of the services in my sample made the seemingly simple goal of canceling very hard to achieve.

I’ve always been wary of free trials and the like, because I had a sneaking suspicion that it wouldn’t be as easy to get out as they made it out to be. This study just confirms those suspicions.

Why do companies do this to their customers? How much damage are they doing to their brand with these shenanigans? Is it worth keeping someone on against their wishes?

2 replies on “Study shows how hard it is to cancel accounts”

I read that article too a little while ago; it’s like companies who plan to make money by offering mail-in rebates. :)

I haven’t had to cancel many things, but it hasn’t been too difficult. It’s strange to see how many people have difficulty being forceful-but-polite.

Right after reading that article I tried to cancel my LinkedIn account, and it didn’t turn out to be that hard. I wonder if they received a wave of cancellation requests after that article came out.

I never found LinkedIn to be all that useful, but for people in our position, it’s probably not as necessary.

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