07 November 2011

Skype auto-renewed my subscription without my explicit instruction

I'm not too happy with Skype right now auto-renewing my subscription in a very rude, almost "scam"-like, kind of way.

A year ago, I bought into a one-year subscription with them.  Their only way of buying in is, apparently, to have it auto-renew.  So technically, I gave them legal permission to renew my subscription.

But any legitimate business should have the common human decency to remind the customer that the subscription will be renewed, say, a month ahead of the actual renewal date, especially for year-long subscriptions.  This gives the customer a chance to change the renewed subscription (maybe the customer wants a more expensive subscription, for example!).

Instead, Skype sneakily renews the subscription silently, then only afterwards tells the customer of it.  No way to back out of it or change the subscription before renewal.

By the way, if you try to cancel the auto-renewal, the only way appears to be to cancel the subscription, and they use very scary language to suggest that doing so would cancel the service plan already in place.

Fortunately, they let you set the renewal to be charged to a Paypal account.  Once you do that, you can delete the stored credit card information without them complaining.  (This is under the "Settings and extras" > "Payment settings".) 
You don't even need to enter any Paypal account information, so you can safely delete the credit card information, and make it not possible for them to silently torpedo you with a bill next year or whenever.

I was seriously thinking of changing my subscription with them (that would've probably given them more of my money) since things have been working reasonably well, but now that they stealthily auto-renewed my subscription without my explicit instruction to do so within a reasonable time-frame of the renewal date (12 months ago is not reasonable)... well, I'll just take my business elsewhere and get the extra VoIP services I need probably cheaper too.

There's no reason why a confident business needs to sneak a bill on its customers in the name of convenient auto-renewal.  Had they given me a friendly reminder, I would've kept my business with them anyway.

In the grand scheme of things though, I'm not worth very much money to them (well, none of us individually are), so their accounting people probably figured it'd be okay to exploit its subscribers this way to ensure a higher number of paid subscriptions.  Too bad...

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