Back in 2009, I signed up for a service called TrustFax. For $40/year, you get an account that can be used to send and receive faxes. Nothing fancy. Incoming faxes arrive as PDF files, if I remember correctly. For outgoing faxes, you can send PDF files (and probably other formats).
I signed up for it largely to handle some of the paperwork associated with my parents’ deaths. (It turns out that death-related paperwork exists in this weird time-warp where people still expect you to have a fax number instead of an email account.) I’ve been letting it auto-renew every year since then, even though I haven’t really used it in the last few years. I finally decided to cancel it now, after seeing the yearly charge show up on my last credit card statement.
The cancellation process was predictably inconvenient. There’s a web page where you can supposedly cancel your account, but, once you log in, the page says that a chat box should pop up, and if it doesn’t, to call customer service. The chat box never came up for me, so I called the customer service line. I was connected to someone who sounded like they were on a speakerphone in a windy cave somewhere in the Himalayas. The call took about ten minutes, which I guess isn’t bad, and she only made one attempt to keep me as a customer by offering a better deal, and one attempt to sell me an unrelated product. And she only put me on hold twice. So, by modern standards, an excellent customer service experience!
I try not to sign up for services that auto-renew every month or year, unless I know that I can easily cancel. Services billed through iTunes are good for that, since you can cancel them through Apple, without worrying about the actual vendor. (That’s how I pay for Slacker Radio.)
My Evernote Premium subscription will be up for renewal soon. When I first set it up, I used a code from a gift card, so Evernote doesn’t have my credit card number yet. But I don’t see any way to get a new code to renew the subscription, so I guess I’m going to have to give them my credit card number. (And I also don’t see a way to switch my subscription to iTunes billing. I think you can start a new subscription via the iOS app, but I don’t see a way to extend an existing subscription.) But I’m likely to stick with Evernote for the foreseeable future anyway, so I might as well just give them my credit card.
Similarly, I bought a card from eBay for the first year of my Office 365 subscription. Then, I extended it with a card bought at Costco. I’ll likely extend it next year with another Costco card, assuming they’re still selling them, since it’s cheaper than auto-renewing through Microsoft.
I’m thinking about what services I want to keep in 2016, and what I want to discontinue. Obviously, the fax service was overdue for cancellation. And I’ll definitely be keeping Evernote and Office 365. I’ll likely keep paying for Slacker Radio too. And Amazon Prime is still worth the money.
Netflix is questionable though. I might decide to cancel my account (or put it on hiatus if possible) for a few months at some point, then restart it if they add any interesting new shows, or if I run out of stuff to watch elsewhere.
And my web hosting through 1&1 is something I might want to reevaluate at some point. It’s not terribly expensive, but I’m really only using it for the blog. And I have several domain names with them that I’m renewing annually, but not using for anything. So maybe I could cut down on the domain names and move the blog to WordPress.com to save some money and simplify things.