Beware of ‘free trials’ which end up costing you cash
The MSE Forum is full of stories from users who have signed up to free trials and unwittingly ended up paying for a subscription they didn’t want after the trial ended.
In 2014, MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis dealt with the issue in his blog: The real reason why companies offer ‘a month’s free trial’.
In the blog he said: “The obvious reason why companies do this is the apathy dividend – in other words, the hope that they’ll gain as people simply forget to cancel for a month or two. But this is a short-term contributor to profits as there’s actually a more powerful psychology at play here, which I suspect is a bigger win – let’s call it the ‘inertia dividend’.
“We human beings are naturally pre-disposed to not liking to lose something that we have. Many people wouldn’t sign up for a movie service that they don’t really need if they had to pay for it, but would for a free month’s trial. They go in with a view to cancelling it when it ends, but at that point they become accustomed to it and now getting rid of it means a loss – and we don’t like loss.”
If you’re taking up the offer of a free trial, set a reminder for yourself when the trial ends. At that point weigh up whether you really want to start paying for the service. If you don’t, make sure you fully follow any process to cancel a trial, to ensure you don’t pay.