I wrote a week or two ago about how a simple and straightforward cancellation process makes it easier to acquire customers, not to mention leaving people with a feeling of goodwill. I suppose you could add that when companies have a reasonable cancellation policy then their customers also won’t post about their negative experience on blogs where hundreds or thousands of potential customers might read about it.
I called in a week or two ago to cancel my gym membership with 24-Hour Fitness. Aside from the hassle of them telling me I had to come in to the club to cancel (nothing but an excuse to try and sell me on not canceling), now I find out that although the guy I talked to said he would cancel my account, he didn’t. He “froze” my account, which doesn’t prevent my card from getting charged again. Not only that, but when my card got charged again and I called in today to figure out what was going on, they told me they have a 30-day cancellation policy, meaning that no matter when you cancel, you’re probably going to get charged one more time after you cancel.
Now I ask you, my good man, why a business would have a policy that says you have to give 30 days notice of cancellation? I can think of some reasons, such as when a business has to dedicate such resources to a customer that it makes sense to have such a requirement. For example, imagine that acquiring a customer means you have to hire 10 new employees to service that customer. That would be a situation where a long-term contract with a 30-day or longer cancellation policy would make sense. But when I cancel my membership at the gym it doesn’t affect their business at all. 100 cancellations might, but not 1.
The only reason they have this policy is because they know that most people don’t read the policy upon signing up, those that do will forget what it says, nobody will cancel until they’re ready to stop going to the gym, and so the gym will get one more month of revenue without having to provide any service. It’s a beautiful thing for the gym, but quite irksome for customers. And now that I am irked, I pass this information on to you. I would encourage you to not sign up at 24-Hour Fitness, but I bet every other gym does the same thing. So let’s stick it to them and remember to cancel 30-days before we’re really read to stop going. That’ll show them.