2 weeks ago I was tragically stuck setting up for a trade show on a Sunday at the same time as my Philadelphia Eagles were playing the NY Giants in the playoff wildcard game. Tragedy! But I was savvy, and with my trusty laptop called up the NFL website and looked up their Field Pass program, which offers a ‘Risk-free 7-day free trial!’
You have to key in your credit card (red flag!), but then just have to cancel within 7 days to avoid a charge.
It turns out the whole Field Pass website is a web design disaster, and as far as I can tell, the game I wanted to hear wasn’t even available. I wound up running off to a sports bar to see the final quarter of the game.
Later than night, I tried to cancel my risk-free account… Search around their website for the cancel button, and eventually find this…
Question: How do I cancel my Fieldpass account?
Answer: To cancel your NFL Field Pass account, please call the NFL Field Pass team at 1-866-212-1346.
Oh, that’s just great. I called the number to learn… “Our business hours are 9-5 EST, please call back at that time.” Wow, this rocks!
The next day, I called, to discover that my call was important to them, but all reps were busy. Expected wait time… 12 minutes. You’ve got to be kidding me.
At this point, I ask– where do so many companies get the idea that letting Joseph Heller create their cancellation process is the path to success and riches? It happens that this exact same topic is explored in the current issue of PC World magazine. Among other companies, they cover AOL’s notorious cancellation process. I’ve been through that once, and it’s about as much fun as running the gauntlet on a bed of hot coals.
I waited on hold for the Field Pass team to come available, and finally got someone on the line. It turns out the Field Pass team actually works out of India, via IP phone connected to the States via a 28.8 modem. That’s about the sound quality, anyways. At least they let me cancel.
There’s no excuse not to let someone unsubscribe from a service (especially a service where you’ve encouraged free, no-commitment trial) by clicking a button on the website. There’s only one reason for it– the company wants to make it as hard as possible, in the hopes you’ll… give up and just remain a member forever??? This sounds like the same logic behind many rebate programs, which I’ve blogged about previously (see Baited and Rebated).
Give me a break. What’s more likely is that you’ll swear never to do business with them again, and you’ll probably spread the word to a few friends.
Great plan guys. Anyone up for a free trial with AOL?