UKICC - automatic annual renewal

UK consumer Mr P bought a remote access and remote-control computer software package for use on his personal computer but fell into one of the most common consumer subscription traps, namely not cancelling the automatic annual renewal within the required period of time.

He originally paid for a year’s subscription via his own personal credit card and had it installed on his computer; the arrangement being that he would be able to claim the cost back from his employer. However, within that first year the consumer decided he didn’t find it useful and so wanted to cancel the renewal.

Unfortunately, Mr P admits that he didn’t notice the 28-day cancellation period and said that he felt it completely unfair for the company to charge an entire year.

He tried to cancel but the company started chasing him for the outstanding £230 so he contacted the UK International Consumer Centre for help.

We contacted our colleagues at the European Consumer Centre in Germany, telling them that we had advised the consumer that the trader may well be within their rights to charge for the service if he had missed the cancellation window, especially as he had received reminders before the renewal. We said that a partial refund may be possible as a goodwill gesture.

Fortunately, the trader agreed to cancel the subscription and gave the money back for the last invoice that they sent the consumer.

Mr P said: “Thank you so much for your assistance on this. I have already received an email from the company to say that they will no longer be chasing me for a year’s subscription (which I have no intention of using).”