Online Memberships: Givers and Takers

One aspect of the new year that I actually look forward to is peeking over the budget. This year, we realized that we had amassed a number of recurring monthly fees that started to look fairly significant when viewing yearly costs for such services. Looking at these one by one, some made the cut and some didn’t.

Among the list of keepers was Basecamp, Blinksale and our Organics to You deliveries. Basecamp and Blinksale are impressive organizational tools that help us communicate with clients and devote more attention to what we love. And, Organics to You is part of a larger plan of health that has a significant impact on our creativity and enjoyment of our projects.

On the other hand, there were a few services that weren’t being utilized. Thus, the process of canceling online memberships began.Two different philosophies emerged – the givers and the takers.

A number of businesses have cancellation policies that do not benefit the consumer. For example, when canceling our Backpack membership, the membership was cancelled immediately, even though I had paid for a month of service just two days prior. And, if I were to resign up that very instant, I’d be recharged for that same month.

Same with Netflix. After the experience with Backpack, I decided to wait until my membership ran out this month before cancelling. Think I could find that information on the cancellation page? No way – I found myself hunting around for a few minutes before having an idea of when that date would be.

Drastically different was my experience with Lynda, a helpful online training library. We decided to temporarily suspend our account with Lynda and take a few months to read over the stacks of learning books that we’ve amassed over the last year or so. When I went to suspend the membership, I was pleased to realize that I would still have access to Lynda for the full time that I had purchased and that my membership would suspend after that date!

Now, I know that both Backpack and Netflix explicitly state their policies and I agreed to them when signing up. This isn’t about transparency. Rather, it is about the choices these businesses make when setting up their policy. Lynda’s policy stands out as supportive and honest. After such a pleasant experience, it is on my list of services to use again this year.

Kandace Brigleb

Producer, co-founder of Needmore. Currently residing on the left coast.