Cancelling services: why is leaving so hard to do?

You sign up online, but when you try to cancel, it’s not so easy

Fans of the TV series Friends will remember when Chandler wants to quit the gym. He goes to the health club to cancel his membership, but they bring out “Lycra/Spandex-covered gym treat, Maria”. Chandler then agrees to the gym taking $50 from his account each month for ever, and Ross signs up, too.

But this fictional gym isn’t the only membership tricky to cancel. A whole raft of companies, from insurers and telecoms companies to magazines and slimming clubs, make it easy to subscribe, but annoyingly difficult to leave.

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