Are you subscribed?

These days there is a subscription-based service for almost everything.  "But I don't subscribe to anything" I hear you say?  Well, do you have a monthly mobile plan or broadband?  Or maybe you go to the gym.  Or watch Sky TV or Netflix?  I bet you have at least one ongoing subscription.

When the subscription-based model works, it's great for both the business and the consumer.  Take the monthly mobile contract for example.  The Phone Network knows that it will receive at least your monthly payment plan amount each month and in return you know how many minutes, texts etc you can consume. It's reliable and requires minimum admin to maintain.

But recently I've been left feeling frustrated by subscriptions and I wanted to share my experiences.

1.  The magazine subscription
What a great feeling it is receiving your favourite magazine in the post before it is released to the general public.  That's the theory anyway.  My mum and I were recently gifted magazine subscriptions.  Mine works a charm, but mum's have been haphazard - she's even received the same edition twice!

2.  The mystery subscription box
I was curious and subscribed to an online food 'surprise' box .  When it arrived it was very uninspiring.  If I'd wanted porridge (no matter how organic) I would have gone to the local supermarket.  I tried to unsubscribe but couldn't reset my password.  The link in the reset email just kept taking me back to the password reset page.  Many frustrated hours later, a friendly customer service rep sorted it all out for me but it was pretty painful.  

3.  The hidden subscription claw in
Also in the interest of curiosity, I ordered a mystery beauty box.  The contents were much more exciting than the food box but really what would I do with 6-8 new travel size beauty products every month?  So I cancelled, except I was a day too late and they'd already despatched the next one.  That was over a month ago and it still hasn't arrived. Worse still, they charged me for another one!  Because even though it was a 1 month subscription you still need to give a months notice - i.e. when you sign up you're actually signing up for at least two boxes!

4.  The shifty auto-renew
Our anti-virus software recently auto-renewed.  We had toggled off this feature the year before but sneakily when we renewed last year it reset back to auto-renew.

So, this month I urge you - be careful what you sign up for.  

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