Service of Subscription Services

May 13th, 2019

Categories: Subscriptions

Photo: nytimes.com

Tempted to sign up online for the $2.00/week New York Times digital subscription or The New Yorker Magazine’s 12 issues for $12 but haven’t fallen for either yet because you may end up paying for them for the rest of your life or spend half that time shaking them off? I’m afraid of subscription services because I suspect that they are impossible and/or time-consuming to shed.

When we moved we got a year of Netflix for free with my FIOS bundle–internet, TV, phone. I love it. Goodness knows what the additional charge will be–in February 2020–to my super hefty FIOS bill. I’ve marked my calendar for January to remember to find out what the damage will be and to take appropriate steps.

Joanna Stern reported in The Wall Street Journal‘s Personal Technology column that she’d paid $540—or $15/month for three years—for an electronic fax service she used twice. “The charges regularly hitting our credit cards have expanded far beyond video and music-streaming services and, yes, newspapers. The average American pays $237 a month for subscription services, according to a July 2018 report from West Monroe Partners.”

She added: “The technology industry loves the term SaaS, or Software as a Service. It’s the idea that software isn’t just bought once and installed, but rather is subscribed to and always updating. Microsoft Office 365? SaaS. Google Drive? SaaS. Your kid’s coding app? SaaS again.

“There’s also CaaS, Content as a Service. Netflix ? Hulu? Spotify? Apple News+? All CaaS. And then there’s HaaS, hardware as a service. Your connected door lock, thermostat, security camera, maybe even your car or your toothbrush, now come with subscriptions.” I did NOT sign up for Onstar emergency services that came free for a few months with my GM car. The company never had my credit card number.

Do you have so many subscription services you can’t keep count? How do you keep track of them all? How long does it take you to notify them of your new number if you lose your credit card? Have you had trouble ridding yourself of any?

Photo: creditcards.com

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14 Responses to “Service of Subscription Services”

  1. BC Said:

    Only get Netflix. Cost deducted monthly from our credit card. Get Apple News for free.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    Wow–I wonder then if in February 2020 I will get a separate bill from Netflix or if it will be added to the FIOS bill OR if I will be asked if I even still want the service. That’s why I don’t opt for “get this free” opportunities. I didn’t have a choice about the “gift” from FIOS and I figured I should use it and glad I did. All too complicated and no doubt, that way on purpose.

  3. Erica Said:

    Erica wrote on Facebook: I’ve subscribed to a few inc. Naturebox [healthy snacks] but they make you call to cancel.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Erica,

    That sounds like the way to go. If I had a phone number to call and I knew I wouldn’t have to wait on hold for two hours and be disconnected a few times and if the service really was cancelled as a result of my call, I’d volunteer far more often.

    Do the snacks taste good?

  5. ASK Said:

    I have online subs to the NYTimes and WSJ, Optimum, and 2 print (!) magazines. I still go to movie theaters! Never subscribe to any company or service that offers one month FREE if they ask for a credit card upfront, which they all seem to do.

  6. Erica Said:

    Erica wrote on Facebook: Yes but pricey.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    I didn’t have to give my credit card for the year free Netflix sub which is why I’m pretty sure I’ll be billed through FIOS. I wonder, as no doubt a fee to FIOS is involved, if I’ll be paying more than subscribers who go directly to Netflix. Only time will tell.

    It’s the original Netflix programming that I’m enjoying, especially Frankie and Grace and The Crown. And I’ve only just begun!

  8. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie wrote on Facebook No subscriptions. My mother got me Traditional Home magazine for a while. She gets the NYT delivered M-F so I use the complimentary online access (mostly at work).

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debbie

    Do you remember how you got rid of the magazine sub and if it was difficult?

  10. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie wrote on Facebook: I just threw out the renewal forms because my mother pays by check. No credit cards were ever used for the subscriptions. Even years ago when I used to get Cooking Light I paid by check (pre-internet) 😊

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debbie

    That’s the easiest way to avoid the cancellation rigamarole.

  12. Lucrezia Said:

    No interest in such amenities here. I’m sitting under enough clutter. Don’t need the aggravation!

  13. Martha Takayama Said:

    I try to avoid signing up for those offers of free services that become service for a fee if you forget the last free date. I subscribe to the “Boston Globe” and the “New York Times” with Sunday only delivery and online. I will not give up my “New Yorker” subscription. However, I don’t even consider clothing or food subscriptions and really am overwhelmed and exhausted mentally and visually by the constant advertising assaults of products or concepts for which I have no need.

    I have run out of patience with never-ending anonymous phone call solicitations, mail solicitations apalled at how much time it takes even to ignore or discard the offers.

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    I subscribed to The New Yorker for decades. I don’t begrudge the weekly the money it asks for which I’m sure doesn’t cover its costs but when it went over $100/year, I gave it up. I’d see it at the library upstate but now that I’m no longer there, I have not kept up. I catch the editor, David Remnick’s Saturday program on NPR when I can.

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