My new Subaru came with a 90 day free trial of Sirius XM satellite radio. I would very much like to try it. But here’s the rub: Like most trial offers, you need to sign up, provide your credit card information, remember when the trial is going to expire, and go through the hoops of cancelling it; otherwise it turns into a paid subscription for another 90 days. I HATE OPT-OUT AUTOMATIC SUBSCRIPTIONS!

Almost everyone does this, ostensibly “for your convenience”, so that you don’t have to remember to subscribe once the trial is over. But the truth is far more nefarious: The real hope is that you will just forget abut it and the paid subscription will continue ad infinitum. The line entry on your credit card will be just one of many, and the hassles of cancellation won’t be worth the trouble, especially if you are marginally enjoying the service.

As a result, I have adopted a strict policy that I will never try anything on this basis. Here’s why I believe it is a strategic mistake for vendors: If I try the free trial, I may well like it and be willing to subscribe. But if you arm-twist me up front, you can be sure I will NEVER try and WILL NEVER FIND OUT IF I LIKE IT. Sort of like complaining that you didn’t win the lottery, but you never bought a ticket.

Now, I’m sure the statisticians and risk analysts at Sirius and other vendors have done the math and have concluded that the majority of people will take the free trial with its current conditions, and that it will pay off for the company vs. those “nuts” like me who won’t do it on principle.

PS. Thanks to The Ruskie, I discovered that the Subaru dealer had already activated my Sirirus satellite radio 90 day free trial without the need for a credit card registration. Good catch. The salesman (admittedly, he was new) had told me that I had to activate it with Sirius myself. 

Advertisements