Don’t be taken in by sub­scrip­tions

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Martin Mere -

CIT­I­ZENS Ad­vice Lan­cashire West is warn­ing peo­ple about get­ting stuck with sub­scrip­tions af­ter new re­search re­veals peo­ple are wast­ing hun­dreds of pounds on them when they are no longer wanted.

Anal­y­sis of 500 cases re­ported to the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice con­sumer ser­vice be­tween June and Au­gust 2017 finds peo­ple lost an av­er­age of £160 from sub­scrip­tions they wanted to can­cel, but were un­able to.

Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Lan­cashire West is now shar­ing tips on how to avoid get­ting tied into a sub­scrip­tion.

The anal­y­sis from na­tional Cit­i­zens Ad­vice re­veals that com­pa­nies can make it hard to can­cel a sub­scrip­tion with nine in 10 peo­ple pre­vented from do­ing so af­ter ini­tially ask­ing.

Com­mon rea­sons for turn­ing down a can­cel­la­tion in­clude be­ing told to use a spe­cific method, like the phone, or to give more than a month’s no­tice.

Peo­ple also re­ported not be­ing made aware they had signed up for a sub­scrip­tion in the first place, or that their con­tract would con­tinue on an auto re­newal ba­sis.

With sub­scrip­tions now be­ing of­fered across a range of goods and ser­vices, from beauty prod­ucts to TV stream­ing, Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Lan­cashire West is urg­ing peo­ple to check the small print be­fore they sign up to one.

Un­der the Con­sumer Rights Act 2015, busi­nesses can’t en­force terms on con­sumers that are un­fair.

Diane Grad­well, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Lan­cashire West, said: “Peo­ple can be made to feel like they’re go­ing round in cir­cles when try­ing to can­cel a sub­scrip­tion.

“This re­search shows that com­pa­nies are con­tin­u­ing to cash in on un­wanted sub­scrip­tions by block­ing peo­ple’s can­cel­la­tion on the grounds of a tech­ni­cal­ity.

“It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to read any terms and con­di­tions be­fore sign­ing up to a sub­scrip­tion, but they should also be on the look­out for com­pa­nies who are de­lib­er­ately throw­ing ob­sta­cles in their way when they try to can­cel.

“Any­one who needs ad­vice on how to can­cel a sub­scrip­tion, or runs into dif­fi­culty do­ing so, should con­tact us for fur­ther help.”

Need-to-know tips about sub­scrip­tions:

Check what your can­cel­la­tion rights are.

Each sup­plier can set their own can­cel­la­tion pol­icy and they don’t need to of­fer you a right to can­cel your sub­scrip­tion early.

Make sure the terms and con­di­tions look rea­son­able be­fore sign­ing up.

Re­mem­ber you’ve got a cool­ing off pe­riod if you buy on­line.

If you bought the sub­scrip­tion on­line, the law says you usu­ally have 14 days to get your money back if you change your mind.

How­ever, you might not be able to get a re­fund if you start us­ing the ser­vice straight away. Fol­low the can­cel­la­tion pol­icy. Make sure you fol­low the can­cel­la­tion pol­icy set out in your con­tract when you’re ready to end your sub­scrip­tion.

Don’t stop your pay­ment with­out check­ing what else is re­quired first, other­wise your sub­scrip­tion may not be can­celled and you could be li­able for any missed pay­ments. Query un­fair terms and con­di­tions There are no strict def­i­ni­tions for what counts as an un­fair pol­icy.

But if you’re find­ing it tough or have to give a long pe­riod of no­tice to can­cel a sub­scrip­tion, con­tact the sup­plier’s cus­tomer ser­vices depart­ment.

If this fails go to the sup­plier’s trade or com­plaints body or re­port to Trad­ing Stan­dards via the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice con­sumer ser­vice.

Diane Grad­well, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Lan­cashire West: can­cel­la­tions be­ing blocked by a tech­ni­cal­ity

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