Auto Renewals

I’ve ranted loads in the past about auto renewals – they’re such an irritating feature of contracts.

Good companies either don’t have them, or let you opt out.

I get why you need them some times, like insurance can’t just lapse as you could be screwed without it – I feel like insurance companies ruin it though by being scum bags about the renewal offer – usually hiking it up 50-100% just in the off-chance you don’t notice and start paying that instead.

The ones that wind me up most are the ‘free trials that auto renew’ con people.

When I got my TV a few years back we got 2 free years of Deezer, I took it out on the day and we’ve not used it since then because I did’t really care for it – i don’t remember giving them my paypal details but I must have because they took an auto renewal of £20 out today.

More fool me ultimately, but I’ve cancelled it and asked for my money back and here is where I will find out what kind of company Deezer are.

The exact same thing happened today with my Microsoft game subscription, I’m pretty dumb it seems when it comes to remembering these renewals are there.

I trialled the service, decided I didn’t want it and haven’t used it. Then £8 left my account today and I went online, cancelled the service, and Microsoft have already initiated the £8 refund, no problem at all.

I don’t know for sure, but it looked like it’d even have given me a pro-rata discount if I was late, which seems fair.

Deezer I have to email which concerns me because last year a much more irritating mistake happened with Sony on their PS+ Service.

I paid for this for a year or so intending to use it then decided to turn auto renew off because I hadn’t been using it.

Sony do regular updates to their systems and one thing I discovered is that they always turn auto renew back on if you’ve got PS+ so when the date came they charged me.

I had no end of arguments with Sony about this and they said there was absolutely no mechanism for them to give me back my money.

To add to that if I chose to I could take out an indemnity claim against them with my bank, but in doing this I would have my PSN account banned until such time as I chose to return to them.

Bare in mind you don’t need PS+ to use PSN it meant that anything I’d purchased on PSN was suddenly locked out from me unless I let them keep money they stole from me.

I fought this for ages but got nowhere, they still do it to people all the time.

I had my auto renew turn back on multiple times against my will after updates and managed to avoid spending any more, they never reacted positively to my complaints and essentially told me to stop emailing them.

LinkedIn are another irritating one for free trials with auto renewals, they offer a trial but if you want to turn auto renew off it ends the trial there and then.

That seems rough because it is saying if you know you’re not going to pay for it at the end then we refuse to let you have the trial any longer.

I guess I’m in 2 minds about that because of course, you don’t want to just waste time with people who don’t want the service, but I didn’t get a chance to trial it at work because I was uncomfortable with the renewal being £50 and the potential for me forgetting to cancel was too much.

I feel like companies need to grow up a bit with all of this – like don’t offer free trials that include terms and conditions that say the customer has to pay for it further down the line for the trial to be free.

Either be comfortable with your service being used for free for x days or don’t do it.

If you give a free trial and it is reasonable for you to do so, then why not call the customer and chat to them ahead of the renewal to find out what they did and didn’t like?

If a company called me and asked how my trial had gone, what I liked or didn’t like, whether I had any issues, and then offered to help if there were reasons behind it, then I bet they’d get more closes.

I get that this plan doesn’t work for gaming really, but perhaps reaching out to me to say ‘Your renewal is due on this, would you like to cancel or proceed?’ like insurance companies have to, would avoid a lot of issues for them.

They’d massively limit customer service emails if they didn’t have the headache of dealing with aggrieved trial customers.

There should always be a route to cancel and get a refund within a set amount of time, or an option to opt out straight away without losing the trial.

We had a thing once where I paid £10 to use a survey site and then cancelled my membership after a month as I had used it for what I needed. I had confirmation of the cancellation, but the company continued to charge my wife’s account for over a year.

We complained about this and got nowhere, in the end the bank could go back about 9 months but we’d lost more than that.

I feel like these companies create trust issues unnecessarily. I don’t remember their name now but I definitely made a lot of noise about it at the time!

Auto-Renew is poisonous in my mind.

The ultimate fix would be to do what TV and Phone do and switch to monthly after the first contract, with the chance to cancel with a refund if done within the first few days of it renewing for the month ahead.

Have you ever been stung by something like this? I know some of you have been hit by Sony in the same way as me in the past – which is outrageous.

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