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Solving Subscription Woes

A recent conversation with a client about their Microsoft subscription quickly expanded into a broader discussion of all the things we’re charged for – and how difficult companies make it to cancel subscriptions and woes.

We focused our conversation on Norton and Google as two companies that don’t let you easily know how to cancel autorenewals, but they’re not the only ones. While we might grumble about a few subscriptions at home, they probably can be especially costly in an office, where you might have multiple licenses for apps you wanted to try or have decided you no longer want or need. Here are some things you can do to stay on top of your charges.

For free trials of any kind, we make it a point to cancel them within a day or two. Some will cancel your trial immediately. Others will cancel them when they come up for renewal, say in seven days, 30 days, six months, or a year. In all likelihood, you’ve given them your payment information, and they’re not going to send you any reminders. Many sites make that perfectly clear. So, the onus is on you. Make a note of the steps you’ll need to take to cancel the service or subscription, and then set a reminder on your calendar to initiate the cancellation process.

The cancellation issue can be particularly acute with TV streaming services. We sign up for a lot of them to watch specific shows for anywhere from a month to several months. Sometimes, we pick a streaming service because it’s free for a specific time. Other times, we just sign up and forget to cancel when we’ve watched what we wanted to. We do that with online publications, dues payments to various organizations and charities, etc.

You can sign up for another money-drainer, a service that goes through all your subscriptions you pay for and then cancels the ones you don’t want to keep. Or you can do the same thing yourself, especially if you’re paying by credit card or through a draft from your bank account.

Set up an email or text alert for every time something is charged against your card or account. It’s a good reminder that you’re making a certain payment, and if you want to cancel something, it’s a reminder to do so. An alert can also tip you off to any unauthorized charges or drafts from your account.

The flip side of this, of course, is that when you change credit cards or banks, you need to update your payment info. If you’re getting a new card from the same bank, your payment info will automatically transfer – some of the time. Again, the process will remind you of all your recurring charges and give you the opportunity to cancel those you don’t want.

We can help you find all the apps you have with recurring charges and guide you to their cancellation steps, but you’ll have to do the actual cleanup work yourself. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for an appointment.