The NY Times's Annoying (Sham?) Process for Canceling a Digital Subscription

created Aug 2, 2019

A year ago, I realized that I still had an NY Times digital subscription account. I joined back around 2014 or 2015 or I don't know. I rarely accessed the account, and I have rarely accessed it over the past year. I don't need it.

The cost is $15 every four weeks. When I signed up for the digital subscription (web-based), I did not communicate with a human over the phone nor over chat. It was a web-only subscription, and I subscribed over the web. EZ PZ.

But canceling a web-only NY Times subscription requires communicating with a human. The NY Times intentionally erects a barrier to slow down people from canceling. It worked with me.

In September 2018, I decided to cancel the subscription, but this barrier slowed me down. I ignored canceling, and I thought that maybe I would read the site more, but I didn't.

I've been paying the NY Times $15 every four weeks for nothing. What a waste of money.

Here’s how to cancel your subscription.

Chat with a Customer Care advocate

All of our advocates are currently occupied. Please try again soon or call us now.

Come on. I think that message always exists: "... are currently occupied."

It's a frigging digital subscription. The NY Times could make canceling a web-based process, but they want people to call.

Give us a call

If you are in the United States, you can call us at 877-277-4110. Our hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. E.T. Monday - Friday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. E.T. Saturday - Sunday.

I wonder if I can have my bank stop making payments. Even if I could, the NY Times would probably still send me a bill, demanding payments.

I'm going to guess that if I try to call, either nobody will be available to take my call, or I'll be on hold for hours.

After logging into my account, I see that I have been a subscriber since 2014. Ouch. I accessed the NY Times for the first year or two, which means I wasted too much money over the past three years.

I called at 3:56 p.m. An computer answered. I entered my account number, and I immediately was contacted to a human. That was much faster than I expected.

After exchanging pleasantries with a delightful person, I mentioned that I wanted to cancel my account. The person offered me the choice to remain a subscriber at a lower rate of $8 every four weeks, but I declined.

Then the person offered me an even lower subscription rate of $4 every four weeks, which is the student rate. That was a tempting offer, by design, but I still declined.

The person said that my account ends on August 26, and I would no longer be billed after that date.

The call ended at 4:01 p.m. The process went faster and easier than I expected. I should have done that last fall and saved a $100.

More importantly, I need to pay closer attention to what I'm funding. I could have canceled my NY Times digital subscription two or three years ago and saved a few hundred dollars. Financial stupidity on my part.

Obviously, the NY Times wants people to call when canceling because it gives the call center employees multiple chances to offer lower rates to entice people to remain subscribers.

It's an interesting strategy. I wonder if that's how it works with Amazon Prime and Netflix. Go through a cancellation process and those companies offer lower rates, right? Probably not.

Many times in threads, Blade print subscribers discussed how they were able to obtain lower rates by threatening to cancel. Is this a newspaper industry thing? Charge users the advertised rate, but offer a substantially lower rate when subscribers want to cancel their accounts.

I still have a digital subscription to the Toledo Blade, which costs $12.99 a month. I have no idea if the Blade offers a lower digital rate if subscribers want to cancel. I don't care about that. If I decide to cancel, it's because I have no use for the subscription, regardless of the price.