When you attempt to cancel your monthly membership on Audible.com, they offer you a $20 credit for "being a loyal customer" (or something similar). If you accept it, not only they do not cancel your membership but they also remove the "Cancel Membership" link from your account page.
Here's a screenshot of my account details - I outline in red where the "Cancel Membership" link used to be present:
Since I can't speak with anyone from Audible.com on Sundays, I tried sending a message using their email form:
From: Emmanuel Huna
To: Audible.com Customer Service
I have been a "AudibleListener Gold" member since May of 2007 after hearing about your services from Leo Laporte on TWIT.
Unfortunately, I am currently very busy and I don't have time to listen to audiobooks regularly. For this reason yesterday I logged in and tried to cancel my membership.
Under "Switch Membership" I did find a "Cancel Membership" button. I clicked on it and after a couple of questions I was presented with an offer for a $20 credit.
I accepted the offer and the cancellation process promptly ended. Now the "Cancel Membership" link is gone and I see I'm still a "AudibleListener Gold" member. There is NO WAY for me to cancel my membership.
Please cancel my membership NOW and do not charge my credit card again.
I also find this policy you have of not allowing users to cancel their membership borderline illegal - I am CCing Leo Laporte and I will report you to the Better Business Bureau if you don't stop charging my credit on a monthly basis NOW.
And here's the immediate response I received:
Response to Question
Need to Cancel Your Audible Membership?
We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but the email option is no longer available.
We want to provide you with the best possible customer experience, even if you decide to cancel your membership.
You may either contact us via our toll-free number or cancel your membership online at Make Changes To My Membership ***.
Please contact us at: 888-283-5051
Hours: Monday-Friday 9AM-10PM EST, Saturday 10AM-7PM EST
The toll-free number would allow us to:
- Address any technical or usability issues that might be hindering your use of Audible
- Make sure you know about all of the entitlements of Audible
- Get your feedback, so that we can continuously improve the service
We appreciate your business and value you as a customer!
The Audible Team
***PLEASE NOTE: If you have cancelled your account online or taken advantage of an online save offer in the past, you will not have the ability to cancel your account online. Please call customer care at the above number. We appreciate your patience.
What a scam! Be careful when signing up for Audible.com - they make it hard for you to cancel later.
I'm also sending this to Leo Laporte from Twit.tv. I found a few threads on the same issue (for example here and here) so he probably knows this is happening. Maybe if enough folks complain, he'll put some pressure on Audible.com or stop doing business with them completely.
Update 2/9/09: I called the 800 number listed above and after talking to someone at Audible.com, my monthly membership was canceled (Audible.com folks: it's spelled "canceled" not "cancelled"). Of course, Audible.com support offered to "place my account on hold", hoping that I'd forget about it so they could start charging my credit card again 2 or 3 months from now. I refused.
Of course, this is just my opinion. Below I have larger screenshots of the Audible.com pages.
Update 2/9/09: I started a thread on the Twit.tv forums to warn the Twit podcast listeners about how hard it is to make Audible.com stop charging your credit every month -
Audible.com: scam when you try to cancel?
(Twit.tv forums username and password required)
There were a few Audible.com apologetics (I suspect a couple may be Audible.com employees), so I copy the password protected thread and my responses below. I keep the comments anonymous (I removed avatars and their real Twit.tv forum usernames) to protect Twit.tv users' privacy:
Comment Author EHUNA
Be careful when signing up for Audible.com, they make it really hard for you to cancel your membership later. I have more details here:
If anyone could make Audible.com stop this, I think it would be Leo Laporte.
Comment Author TWITUSER1
As a side note, looks like we found a way to get a $20 credit.
Comment Author TWITUSER2
Once you click the cancel link once, it goes away.
I canceled my membership a few months ago to cut down on my expenses, and when I clicked the link they warned be that I still had a credit left in my account, and if I wanted to use it I should use it before I cancel - That was nice of them to remind me of that.
After I spent my credit I went back and the link was gone since I had already clicked it. I spoke with someone on their live chat right away and they were extremely nice and canceled the membership without any questions. They also offered me a credit too, which I declined.
I started my membership back up this year, and there is still not a cancel link. Once you click it, the link goes away to keep people from abusing the $20 credit. Not unreasonable in my opinion.
I would try the chat option on Monday or anytime during the week days.
Comment Author EHUNA
>Once you click it, the link goes away to keep people from abusing the $20 credit. Not unreasonable in my opinion.
Thanks for the info – but I feel that it is unreasonable to make the link disappear once you click it once. It is very easy for Audible to simply keep a counter – if you’ve accepted the $20 credit once, they can simply no longer offer the credit again but still leave the “Cancel Membership” link visible.
The only reason they make the link disappear is to make it harder for folks to cancel the membership. I will try to chat or call Audible tomorrow, during their business hours – wasting more time than I wanted on something that should be easy: canceling a monthly membership to a service I no longer need.
Comment Author TWITUSER3
I never actually cancel my membership, I just tell them not to charge me for a membership, so I can still buy books, and I still keep my credits, so right now I have nine credits to use, but I am not paying anything. Never had a problem doing it, but you do have to call them.
Comment Author EHUNA
“Cancel Membership” is the term Audible.com uses when you want to stop them from charging your credit card on a monthly basis.
You’re right, when I “Cancel my Membership” I don’t expect my account to close down – I still want to purchase an audiobook every once in a while – I just don’t have the need for an automatic purchase every month.
Comment Author TWITUSER4
You're canceling the recurring billing, not your membership account.
Comment Author TWITUSER5
I had no problem canceling my 2nd Audible account recently.
Comment Author TWITUSER6
I had this problem too. The area on their site where there is supposed to be a cancel button was missing. Right below that it said something like "If the cancel button is missing call 1800...." I called to cancel and here we are 3 years later and I get charged something like $20 a year to my Credit Card.
Comment Author TWITUSER7
Morale of the story: Don't cancel your Audible account and get rid of something else that really is superfluous. ;-)