KSL INVESTIGATES

Subscription overload: How to cut down on those monthly costs

Mar 11, 2022, 6:07 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — These days, you can subscribe to just about anything. Five dollars a month here to watch TV shows, or $10 there to stream music, store photos online, get a shaving kit delivered monthly – you name it. So, how much trouble can all these add up to? It turns out, many of us are feeling subscription overload.

First, you subscribed to Netflix to keep in the know about “Stranger Things.” Then, you couldn’t get enough of “Baby Yoda” on Disney+. Then before you knew it, “Ted Lasso” roped you into Apple TV+.

Many of us also subscribe for music, or to buy pet food or to get shaving or beauty boxes, and on and on.

More than half of us, wind up subscribing to a service we really do not want, according to a new survey shared with the KSL Investigators by Bankrate.

“Chase says that 71% of Americans are wasting at least $50 a month on subscriptions that they’re not really using,” said Bankrate’s senior industry analyst, Ted Rossman said. “So, that’s pretty staggering.”

Six hundred dollars a year staggering.

So, just how are we getting trapped into unwanted subscriptions?

Well, it is easy to sign up for something and then quickly forget those monthly payments will hit our credit cards or bank accounts, even for a service we no longer find useful. Another way we often find ourselves in an unexpected subscription – we forget to cancel a free trial.

“There’s the free trial that turns into a paid subscription without your knowledge or permission,” Rossman said. “Sometimes there’s stuff that we used to like that kind of falls out of favor and then we forget to cancel it.

Here is the rub: Rossman said breaking up with a subscription service is often hard to do.

“A third of our survey respondents said that it’s difficult to cancel services, and sometimes that’s by design,” he explained. “In fact, we found that almost as many people have had a subscription problem in these past two years during the pandemic versus all the pre-pandemic times combined.”

Rossman said many companies have come to rely on negative option marketing, where a business presents consumers with a subscription offer, and if the consumer keeps quiet or fails to act, the business considers it an acceptance of their offer.

Here is what can help: Turn off the auto-renewal option when you subscribe — just assume you won’t renew. Also, keep a list of your subscriptions with details on how you signed up and how you can cancel each service. Set a reminder in your calendar a few days before a free trial renews. You can also turn to your credit card company.

“Visa and Mastercard have unveiled new rules that are supposed to make it easier,” Rossman said. “It remains to be seen how merchants really follow through on this, but they’re supposed to be more transparent about notifying you what you’re getting into — giving you reminders over time, giving you clear instructions for how to cancel if that’s in fact what you want to do.”

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission said it plans to crack down on companies making it hard to cancel services. The agency said subscription services must provide clear information on cost, charges, and how to cancel. And cancelling should be just as easy as signing up.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: The ‘most used’ photos to catfish victims in romance scams

KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt shows us some of the most widely used photos in romance scams and how we can protect ourselves.
1 day ago
Americans are using their credit cards more often as the economy opens....
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: The key to saving money on your credit card bills

More Utahns are carrying debt, but the thing is – many of those folks have no idea how much interest they are paying on their debt.
5 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair

AmeriGas customers nationwide Get Gephardt after waiting weeks for propane

Calls to Get Gephardt have come from across the country, all having the same problem: missing propane deliveries. So, where’s the gas?
5 days ago
(Taylorsville Police Department)...
Keira Farrimond and Daniella Rivera

Questions surround convicted rapist’s release as police investigate aggravated sexual assault

Despite admitted anger issues and a recent history of assault, Utah’s Board of Pardons and Parole released a convicted rapist back into the community last month. Now, he is charged with aggravated rape in an attack on a Taylorsville woman he communicated with while in prison.
5 days ago
Grant Clark waited for repairs on his car...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Orem man’s auto repairs take 13 months due to parts shortage

If your car needs minor repairs, be prepared to wait. That warning comes from a Utah County man who had to wait for more than a year for his car to get fixed.
7 days ago
Susan Lee Wilson, attempting to use her phone after another outage. (KSL-TV)...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Salt Lake woman battles phone company to fix 12-year-old landline problem

You pay for phone service, so you would expect to receive phone service. But when a Sandy woman’s landline kept going dead for more than a decade, she decided it was time to Get Gephardt.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Subscription overload: How to cut down on those monthly costs