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Money Fail: I Forgot to Cancel an Automatic Subscription

January 16, 2017


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Failure isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes making a mistake can be a blessing in disguise, as it is with this money fail.A few days ago, I logged into my online banking to check my balance. I login every day to account for my transactions and categorize them so my budget reports aren’t such a bear to put together at the end of every month.

Most of the time there aren’t any surprises in my account. I have a pretty good idea of what’s going in and coming out on a day-to-day basis. But last week there was a transaction I didn’t recognize for $15.76.

While that’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, I just couldn’t figure out what it was for and it was bugging me. Then I saw an email from EHarmony.

You see, back in January 2016 I decided I was ready to start dating again. Since there are very few prospects (AKA none) in my rural area of Kansas, I signed up for online dating. EHarmony was having a sale, so I pre-paid for several months to get the sale pricing. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice that my account was set up on an automatic subscription.

Oops!

My subscription for EHarmony had automatically renewed at the full price of $15.76/month.

I emailed customer support right away to see if I could get a refund. They got back to me promptly, which is good. But, they said they don’t give refunds for automatic subscriptions. Apparently that was stated in the fine print when I signed up.

Oops!

Since I couldn’t get a refund, I did the next best thing I could to avoid this happening again. I canceled my subscription then and there. I told them I didn’t want to wait for the month I had just paid for to be over. Instead, I wanted my account closed now.

The reason I decided to tell you about this money fail today is because I’ve realized that sometimes failing and making mistakes is ok. Here’s why.

Failing is Ok Because It Happens to Everyone

Sometimes I think bloggers, especially personal finance bloggers, get caught up in trying to inspire people to make good financial choices. Of course this is important, but sometimes the best thing we can do is be 100% real, even if that means sharing our failures and mistakes with our readers.

Even though we blog about money, and some of us, myself included, are even paid to write about money all day long, we are still human beings. As human beings, we are going to screw up sometimes. We are going to have an occasional money fail, even especially if we think we know it all. We are going to fail and it’s ok. It’s ok because everyone fails sometimes.

Failing Can Spur You to Improve

As much as my fellow money bloggers and I try to inspire people by sharing our success stories, money facts, and more, on our blogs, sometimes the best motivator in life is failure.

Failure may actually be more inspiring than success. As long as you don’t give up and stop trying, you haven’t truly failed at all. You’ve just learned one more lesson along your journey.

I know it’s cliché, but don’t forget about what Thomas Edison said:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Or this one:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Failing Let’s You Learn From Your Mistakes

Along those same lines, failing at something gives you the opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes. Just as the thought that the only true failure happens when you give up, it’s ok to make mistakes as long as you don’t repeat them.

In my case, I’d heard of people forgetting to cancel automatic subscriptions before, but it had never happened to me. In fact, there was a point in life where I scoffed and thought, “That’ll never happen to me, I’m too smart!

But I’ve been knocked down a rung or two since then as I’ve learned that almost every single time that thought has crossed my mind it’s lead to me making the exact mistake I thought I was “too smart” to make, especially when it comes to making a money fail.

Forgetting to cancel my subscription was a small money fail that reminded me to slow down and pay better attention to my finances, a reminder I could stand to hear every once in a while for sure. It’s easy to forget to pay attention when you have your finances on auto-pilot as I have lately.

So my fellow bloggers and readers alike, let’s not beat ourselves up when we fail. Yes, WHEN we fail, because we all know it’s going to happen again at some point. But instead, let’s share our failures just as often, if not more, than our successes, because there’s plenty to be learned from both.

When’s the last time you had a money fail? What was it? Don’t tell me I’m alone here! 🙂

Failure isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes making a mistake can be a blessing in disguise, as it is with this money fail.

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16 responses to “Money Fail: I Forgot to Cancel an Automatic Subscription

  1. Thanks for being honest, Kayla. I think that is so important because everyone does fail! No one is perfect 24/7 and pretending otherwise is a disservice to your readers but even more to yourself. From my personal experiences, I beat myself up way too much for mistakes and let it derail momentum. Like you said, learn and move on. I rarely sign-up for anything with an automatic subscription because A) I’m a control freak and B) I’d likely forget to cancel subscriptions. Case in point, I’ve paid for magazines for years without even reading them in the past. Every month I’d get the magazine, tell myself to cancel it, forget until I got the following month’s magazine. Oy.

    1. Yes! I avoid most monthly subscriptions for the same reason. I almost always forget to cancel and I too am a total control freak. This is why I actually hate online billing that you can sign up for to automatically pay things like your utility bills, mortgage, etc. I want to see the bill and pay it myself so I “feel” the money coming out of my account and am not surprised by it.

  2. Kayla, at least you were on the ball enough to pick it up straight away. As Tanya said above, it could have been going on for a lot longer! I forgot an annual subscription once. Luckily when I wrote to them, and asked them to check my login record so they could see I hadn’t used the service for a long time, they were kind enough to refund me. If they hadn’t, then it would have been an expensive lesson (but still my own fault).

    My current money fail is that I seem to be losing $10 cash here and there. I’ve set a reminder in my calendar to balance my wallet daily for a while, because I just cannot figure out where it is going.

    1. Whew! Good thing they refunded you! I hadn’t used the service in a long time either, but they still wouldn’t refund me since it was in the fine print that they don’t give refunds if you forget to cancel. 🙁 But, it’s not an amount that will make or break me. It was a good reminder to keep on top of your finances. 🙂

  3. I had this happen this month too! I guess I hadn’t been clear enough with my gym that I wasn’t coming back. I had paid off my balance due in July through my contract, but they charged my account again in January… I went in and they are working to refund me and cancel my membership… that’ll be a nice $35 back in my pocket!

    1. Glad they are working with you to get you refunded. I think a lot of people are too ashamed to ask for a refund when things like this happen and most of the time it’s not too difficult to ask and to get a refund.

  4. Oh, lord. Just not being on top of money like I should have been last year, and building up a balance on the credit card.

    I’m all good with automatic payments (which are controlled by me) but direct debits (controlled by the company taking the money)? Hell no. I’ve had a bad experience with that. Not sure if you have both these types in the US. I pay pretty much all my bills manually for this reason – the only auto payments are mortgage, and my husband’s cell phone.

    1. Yes – I can set up my own automatic payments with some companies, but others like to control it from their end so they automatically pull the money out of my account (which I don’t like and try to avoid). I do have automatic payments on my student loan so the same amount comes out every month on the exact same day, but I signed up for that because it gave me a break on the interest rate of about .25%. Not a lot of savings from that, but a little. 🙂

  5. I think just about everyone has forgotten a subscription at one point or another. Sure they are a pain to deal with, but they make for great lessons down the road! Thanks for sharing this Kayla!

    1. They are a pain to deal with sometimes. This is just another reason why I like to make manual payments for things myself instead of having an automatic subscription. 🙂

  6. Glad you figured it out earlier and you cancelled your subscription right away. I just think they should have given you a refund. Anyways, that’s the reason why I always watch out for any subscription I make.

    1. I agree! I thought they should give a refund too, but it was in the fine print that they don’t give refunds on automatic subscriptions.

  7. This is a very common money fail for so many people! Companies with subscriptions are so sneaky when it comes to the fine print so you definitely have to be careful about that! I can honestly say that what happened to you also happened to me! At least I know now and I won’t make a mistake like that again!

    1. Yes! It’s helpful to know you are not alone in making money mistakes, but as you said, I’ll definitely be more aware of things like this in the future so it doesn’t happen again. 🙂

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