Subscription Hostages

Rework

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20:32

April 9, 2019, 5 a.m.

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: You sign up for a service or a product online. When you go to cancel, you discover the only way to stop the subscription is to write an email or—even worse, make an actual phone call. In this episode, we try to get to the bottom of why this consumer trap persists, especially in the newspaper industry, and what it says about a company's confidence (or lack thereof) in what it's selling.

Show Notes

The DHH tweet that started it all - 00:36

Wailin's tweet about the Chicago Tribune - 2:23

Laura Hazard Owen on Twitter - 2:55

NiemanLab - 3:34

Consumer Federation of California - 4:21

California Senate Bill 313, which former Governor Jerry Brown signed into law in 2017 - 5:40

California News Publishers Association - 6:31

The New York Times' cancellation screen - 9:36

The Wall Street Journal's cancellation policy - 9:43

The Washington Post's cancellation policy - 9:57

Pete Mortensen on Twitter - 10:12

Matter Ventures (which shut down in late 2018) - 10:18

Jen Sabella on Twitter - 14:54

Block Club Chicago - 14:59

"Billionaire Owner Shuts Down DNAinfo, Gothamist Sites A Week After Workers Unionize" (NPR) - 15:09