Britons Spend £50 A Month On Unwanted Subscriptions That Are Too Hard To Cancel

Published date: .

Britons are spending an average of £50 a month on unwanted subscriptions which are too difficult to cancel, new research has found.

Citizens Advice analysed approximately 600 issues related to unwanted subscriptions reported to them over a three-month period in the summer and found that customers paid an average of £160 in unwanted subscriptions.

Of the consumers affected, 90% were told they could not cancel their subscriptions when they contacted the company.

"Subscriptions are very easy to sign up to but can be difficult for consumers to get out of," said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

"We know people are wasting time and energy trying to cancel subscriptions while paying out of pocket.

"As part of National Consumer Week, we want to make sure consumers are aware of the terms and conditions of any subscription before they sign up and companies act responsibly when customers want to end their services."

According to the research, gym memberships and subscriptions to TV and online streaming services are among the most difficult to get out of. Citizens Advice found one of the complainants lost £160 over two years as she did not realise she had signed up to an online delivery service, while another was asked for proof from their employer to cancel their subscription only days after being made redundant.

Other common complaints include the length of the cancellation process, which can take up to six months at times, and its complexity, with customers often told they can only cancel their subscription via a specific channel, be it email or phone.

Adults in Britain aged between 35 and 64 spend on average £62 per month on subscriptions and a survey from Citizens Advice found women between 50 and 64 were the most likely to be affected.

"With 40 million people in the UK now subscribing to at least one product or service, this campaign from Citizens Advice will help ensure consumers can shop with confidence and know what their rights are should things go wrong," said consumer minister Margot James.