Disclaimer: Since Company X finally rebated the charges, I'll be kind enough to keep their name out of it, but the problem is still so pervasive that it needs to be addressed. Let's put ethics back into businesses.
Have you ever given a company your credit card to try a service and then forgotten to cancel that service? You were reminded of your forgetfulness when your credit card bill showed up with unplanned charges. Hey, it's in the fine print that you blasted through to try the service. "The common practice" is legally defensible and besides, "everyone else does it...."
I don't know about you, but I've had it with "The Common Practice."
I find this shoddy customer service at best and flat out unethical otherwise. It's akin to test driving a car and then having them keep your credit card to use at will after you decide not to buy it. Trying something and then deciding not to buy it used to be called "shopping," and you could do it without keeping your hand over your wallet.
Ethical marketing would be to auto/CANCEL at the end of 14 days and letting the customer decide if they want to buy it or not by signing on again. Everyone remains happy under that system. The common practice is in place for one reason, to steal from those who forget in a multitasking world. Once the fine print is gone, you are never warned about it again until it shows up on your credit card. It's not to be helpful to the customer, it's to take $49 from them and then say "Oh well, warned you once, days ago when you weren't paying attention. Then we warned you again that the trial was going to end, NOT that charges would start." That's lying by omission and done to manipulate the masses which Company X did very well.
I was miffed. I called the company and the customer person assured me that it was now canceled. I went back to my life. Next month - more charges. I called again and they explained that I had to cancel it myself. Apparently hitting a button was too hard for them. I went in and canceled and went on with my life. The next month - more charges! I hadn't hit the SECOND "Are you sure you want to cancel button that was on the bottom of the box.
Why is canceling harder than starting up? Did they ask "Are you sure you want to join"? No. They took the money and started the clock. They didn't put in the second button as a service to me, their customer. They did it to have a second chance to raid my charge card. Legally, it's defensible. In any small town, however, they would be tarred and feathered. Common sense tells you this is cheating. Only because "the common practice" is so common and so spread out over millions of duped customers a year, does it persist.
Isn't it a shame that a company is doing so poorly that it has to trick people into paying for their services? That's what this "common practice" now tells me. From now on when I someone asks for my credit card to try something, I'll see the red flag that it is and try something else. I don't need the headaches and they sure don't need my charge card number.