Forgetting to cancel adds up
It was something I should have done at least six years ago. By not doing it, I was paying $8 per month for something I never used. Finally, last night, I cancelled my DVD delivery service through Netflix.
Of course, the multi-million company tried its best to convince me to “stay” by showing me all the selections I could pick from — just so they could continue collecting their lousy eight bucks a month. Their automated response even uses the phrase “breakups are hard” and asks for a reason you’re leaving — like some soonto- be ex-girlfriend.
I wasn’t buying it. Their digitally rendered attemptataguilttripwasn’tenough to keep me paying a monthly fee for no good reason. Once I clicked the button to proceed with my cancellation, they quickly turn into a jilted ex-lover, demanding that I return the very last DVD I rented or they’ll charge me $15 to cover their loss. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure that I have that DVD already sealed inside a return envelope, sitting inside at the bottom of a door compartment in my car – the same place it’s been for the past five years.
I had to chide myself for letting it get this far without ever thinking about it. Like almost everyone on Netflix, I long ago abandoned the DVD delivery service in favor of streaming, but I never took the simple steps to cancel the service. I would occasionally stumble upon that one last DVD tucked into a cubby hole in my car, but I never even bothered to drop in a mailbox. “No late fees,” remember? That was one of the selling points of Netfl ix when it first emerged as a DVD-rental service back years ago.
As someone who spent a lot of time at our local video store as a kid in the 1990s, I remember all too well what it was like to rack up massive late fees because I left some VHS tape in the basement and forgot about it for a couple weeks. We had a family account, so inevitably, one of my parents or my brother would find out about my overdue copy of The Goonies before I did. Even if they ended up paying the late fee up front, it was always me who ended up paying the toll again.
So, I guess I consider the last six years worth of monthly DVD rental fees as one last late fee. I did the math, and at $8 per month for roughly six years, I ended up paying $576 for a service I stopped using when I was still in my mid-30s (I just turned 41). Ouch. I’m usually pretty good about catching things like this before they become money shredders, but I must still have a blind-spot when it comes to at-home entertainment.
Now that we’re firmly in the age of streaming, the late fee is really a thing of the past. Now, we have the “forget fee” — paying for something you’re not using and forgetting to cancel it.
OUT FOR A WALK