Brits waste over £250 a year on unused subscriptions

28 April 2018

Whether it’s membership for the gym you haven’t visited for three years or a subscription for those TV channels that have never been watched, many of us are guilty of paying out for things we don’t need or use.

But research shows consumers are wasting an eye-watering £553 million every month on services they don’t use and may even have forgotten about, with 40% of consumers continuing to pay for services they no longer use.

Individuals shell out a total of £21.09 a month on subscriptions they rarely use, the latest Forgotten Subscriptions Index from TopCashback reveals. 

This is up from the £18.62 a month – and £448 million in total – consumers were wasting in 2017. 

The annual survey found 72% of people admit they have continued to pay for a subscription they rarely use for three months or longer – it means the average person is paying out more than £250 a year for services they don’t use. 

Gym memberships top the list of most unused subscriptions, with 50% of the 2,213 adults polled admitting they rarely visit. 

TV and music streaming services are also among the most unused services, along with hobby and magazine or newspaper subscriptions.

Some 29% of people say they have forgotten they were paying for the service and the same number keep paying for something they don’t use in case they might want it in the future. A further 28% of those surveyed say they found cancelling a subscription too hard so didn’t bother. 

One in four people has continued to pay for a subscription without realising the cost had increased, while 46% forget to cancel after a free trial period. Some 4% have even unknowingly continued to pay for a subscription for an ex-partner. 

Natasha Rachel Smith, consumer money expert at TopCashback, says: “Consumers are paying extortionate amounts of money for subscription services they do not use or need due to forgetfulness. 

“As well as reviewing subscriptions regularly to see if they are still worth the money, it’s a good idea to move to pay-as-you-go options where possible. Pay close attention to terms and conditions, especially when it comes to free trials and look for new sign-up discounts and cashback offers.” 

At the other end of the spectrum are the savvy subscribers who regularly sign up to and cancel services to take advantage of deals and ensure they are not paying out unnecessarily. Some 40% of people say they like to take advantage of introductory offers, while 22% say they only sign up to a service while it is showing their favourite TV show. 

Most unused subscriptions in 2018

1. Gym memberships (50%)

2. TV streaming services (20%)

3. Music streaming services (16%)

4. Hobby subscriptions (15%)

5. Magazine or newspaper subscriptions (14%)




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