Have you seen ads for businesses that provide monthly subscription services or “of the month” clubs? Are you a member of any of these types of programs? These types of subscription services have increased significantly over the past few years allowing members to receive customized recommendations and personal stylists in nearly every category, including clothes, shoes, makeup and food. Unfortunately, some companies actively obscure information, make it hard to unsubscribe and get out of a billing cycle, or they bill members even after cancellation. If you are subscribed to one of these services or considering subscribing, be sure to educate yourself on how to identify subscription scams.
Start with research. Many companies that offer monthly or subscription services will have feedback from previous users on BBB websites or other review sites. These comments and reviews can help you determine if there are any red flags to be aware of and if the company is honest in their dealings with customers. Oklahomans can check BBB’s website at www.oklahomacity.bbb.org.
When you are looking into a specific subscription service, be sure to read the fine print when signing up so you know exactly what you are getting into. While many companies are up-front with their process and any charges that might be incurred, some don’t tell the whole story, with members not knowing they are actually opting into subscriptions with automatic renewals or automatic negative option sales programs.
You should also be aware of how to get out of the membership should you choose to. Some companies require members to actively sign in and click a “skip the month” button every month they don’t want to be charged. Other times, canceling a subscription takes a phone call to the company or filling out an online form.
Finally, keep any relevant documentation, as this can help you keep track of when you began and ended your subscription. Unfortunately, some organizations make it very difficult to cancel an account or even “accidentally” bill your account even after you cancel. Get a confirmation number for your cancellation, and check your bank account for any unauthorized charges after the fact.