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TikToker Shocked After Paying for Subscription She had Cancelled; Here's how to Avoid Such Costs

Explore the financial journey sparked by Rae Leigh's $4K subscription mishap, revealing key tips to shield your wallet in the digital age.
UPDATED JAN 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @maxedoutmommy
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @maxedoutmommy

In the social media landscape, where trends surface and fizzle out faster than you can say "viral," one Los Angeles TikToker found herself in a less-than-enviable spotlight this summer. With a username @maxedoutmommy, or Rae Leigh in the real world, she shared a cautionary tale that resonated with millions who scrolled past her video. In a nutshell, Rae revealed she'd been unwittingly shelling out $90 a month for the past four years on a subscription to a designer clothing rental service. She hadn't received a single stitch of couture or even an email from the company during that time. A jaw-dropping $3,990 down the drain without so much as a fashionable scarf to twirl. How did this happen? Turns out that a subscription she had pulled the plug on back in 2019, wasn't really inactive for all these years.

TikTok | @maxedoutmommy
TikTok | @maxedoutmommy

Rae's TikTok video, posted in July, struck a chord, amassing over 1.5 million views and a barrage of 1,600 comments. It's a tale of financial oversight that many could relate to, as Rae admitted she didn't spot the charges because her husband usually handled the household finances. The video's impact goes beyond a personal anecdote; it sheds light on a widespread issue.

A recent survey by Deloitte reveals that 47% of Americans are trimming down their monthly entertainment subscriptions due to "current economic conditions." It seems Rae's experience is not an isolated case but a symptom of a broader trend in the era of subscription services.

TikTok | @maxedoutmommy
TikTok | @maxedoutmommy

A 2022 survey from C + R Research exposes a startling reality that 42% of respondents who had stopped using a subscription service, continued paying for it, purely out of forgetfulness. The average person, like Rae, spent $219 a month on subscriptions—more than double their initial estimate of $86. That's a hefty difference of $133 a month and $1,596 a year.

Forgetfulness isn't the sole culprit as companies also play a role in enabling this mixup. In an experiment by The Hollywood Reporter, canceling subscriptions to Prime Video, Disney+, and Paramount+ required a labyrinthine six-step process, complete with enticing offers for alternative plans. It seems signing up is a breeze, while the exit door is hidden behind a maze.

TikTok | @maxedoutmommy
TikTok | @maxedoutmommy

Always review your financial statements

Financial vigilance doesn't require a subscription to a management app. Simply peruse your bank and credit card statements monthly. Not only is this vital for monitoring your credit score, but it also helps uncover those pesky, unnoticed transactions. If you spot a charge for an elusive service, request a chargeback from your credit card company within 60 days.

Look into the cancellation policy

Before diving into a subscription, take a moment to scrutinize the cancellation process. If it's more complicated than a game of chess or you find it reminiscent of a quest in a fantasy novel, that's a red flag. The Federal Trade Commission recommends delving into a company's return and cancellation policies, and customer reviews can be a goldmine for insights into potential cancellation headaches.

Beware of free trials

Free trials can be alluring, like a siren song tempting you towards a rocky financial shore. Many companies bank on you forgetting to cancel, leading to unexpected charges. If you succumb to the lure of a free trial, set a reminder on your calendar or smartphone a day before it ends. This way, you can dodge the financial pitfall of an unwanted subscription.

In the words of Rae herself, "It's worth being proactive and guarding your hard-earned cash. After all, no one wants to be paying for a service they didn't even know they had."