In the wake of the Signal vs. Noise post about Feedburner’s excellent cancellation and migration policy, I thought I’d share some of my recent experiences with cancelling services. A few days ago, I closed my account (basically, I found out that I preferred reading over listening and it took me longer than a month to finish through 2 audiobooks) and was presented with the following message:

> If you choose to join at a later date, you may find that your membership price has increased since you were last a member. If you prefer to put your membership on hold, you may opt to take a hiatus (1 - 3 months). After one-three months, your AudibleListener membership will automatically become active again.

A message like this just rubs me the wrong way. First, it puts me on the defensive when I hear that I may have to pay more money if I ever wish to come back. Then it’s a bit awkward when they offer me a cleverly disguised alternative on the surface.

What they really want is for me to forget about my account being on hold and let the monthly billing cycle begin again after the 3 month hiatus. The thing is, I’m not the only one who’s had problems with Audible’s customer service. Basically, if I’m ever in need of audio books again, I will be looking for an alternative. I may be over-reacting, but I think a business’s good-bye is just as important as their greeting.

Poor handling of account cancellations leads to a reputation similar to AOL’s.

Comparing this with my experience with Netflix, who I left a few months ago, I can definitely see how a company’s exit strategy for a user is so important for any hope of future repeat business (I mean look at Google, their entire strategy is to get people off their pages quickly and they make billions off it). Netflix treated my decision to cancel my account with respect and appreciation for my business. When they asked me if I would like updates when the price or delivery times dropped and I said sure. And because everything was painless and friendly, I went right back to Netflix when they emailed me a good offer. I never even considered Blockbuster, because my Netflix experience was just so great.

And Netflix has not been my only good experience. I remember EverQuest 2, Lunarpages, and Dell (I know, surprise!) because cancelling, changing, or returning a purchase was quick and friendly.

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Ryan Campbell

How To Handle Account Cancellation by Ryan Campbell

This entry was posted 5 years ago and was filed under Notebooks.
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  1. Bryan · 5 years ago

    Alot of services bank on you forgetting that your getting charged and just go with the flow and pay it off monthly. Lazyness pays those companies.

  2. Dominic Damian · 5 years ago

    My favorite cancellation so far is when I decided to cancel my Vonage service. First when I call them they ask why I wich to cancel, after explaining that I was unhappy with the service, the rep transfers me to the cancellation department. The rep at that department asks me for a number to call back later that day, because their department is back logged at the moment. Gee, I wonder why.

    Three days later I get an email asking me to call them back to finish my cancellation. No phone call, and I had to call them again.

    Finally after 30 minutes on hold I got a rep who cancelled my account. Not before charging me $40 for my router, which would be refunded if returned within 14 days. Mind you, no charging me $40 after 14 days if the router isn’t returned/. Charging the $40, then if you send it in time, they refund you.

    So I ship it UPS 2nd Day air, it still takes three weeks to get a refund.

    Worst cancellation experience I’ve ever had. Even worse than when my gym said I couldn’t cancel my membership for 3 years unless I moved or got injured.

  3. Sean · 5 years ago

    Audible really needs a site redesign too by the way

  4. Derek Organ · 5 years ago

    Its funny back in my college days i used to work for AOL. I worked in the cancelation department. In order to get the job you basically had to be a really good sales person.

    They defo had different way of looking at taking cancelations. The big things was the more people i managed to keep on the more money in bonuses they gave me. While i was in college it was probable the best job around for money.

    So they must have been sucessfull in getting more money from people forgetting to cancel after there free months were up.

    All in all, very underhanded but they made money from it. Mr AOL probable doesn’t give a crap as long as his bank balance rises.

  5. Aaron · 5 years ago

    Funny, I was just on the third and final (credit card) page on sign-up when I decided to flip tabs and surf some feeds before making the final plunge. I was already very suspicious since supposedly I was signing up for two free audio books. They explained I would have two weeks to “try” before the real subscription kicked in — I was just trying to decide if I’d be able to easily cancel or not and how much I trust them.

    I’m glad I read this, ‘cause my decision just got a lot easier. *closes other tab…

  6. Sara McClure · 5 years ago

    Yep, I got burned. Last summer I called to cancel my account, and they instead put me on hiatus status, and sure enough, I forgot and my credit card got charged for a few months that I wasn’t using the service. Of COURSE they didn’t send me an e-mail or any type of communication when my hiatus ended and they started charging me $21.95 a month. Oh, and of COURSE the credits don’t roll over so I don’t get anything for those months that I was careless and didn’t scrutinize my credit card bill. Lesson learned, that will never happen to me again.

  7. Marcia Gardner · 4 years ago

    Everyone needs a hug…..that may be true, but I simply need to cancel the Netflix service….all my attempts have failed…..what do I need to do?Marcia Gardner.

  8. Frank (Paco) Gomes · 4 years ago

    I want to cancell my account with Netflix because I can’t find my account or my list of requested movies.

  9. Marilyn Case · 4 years ago