Almost every adult in the U.S. has heard the following phrases on multiple occasions: “For your convenience, your subscription will automatically renew every month until you cancel it.” “For your convenience, we would like to set you up for our automatic payment plan.” “Thanks for joining our book club. For your convenience, you will receive a new book in the mail every month and your credit card will be charged until you cancel.” For your convenience? Yeah, right. Who are they trying to fool? Do they think we are idiots? It’s for their convenience. They want to get as much money out of us as they possibly can – and they want to make sure they get it on a regular basis and in a timely manner.
Oftentimes they will lure you in by offering the first month’s subscription or first item for free or at a discount, hoping that you will conveniently (as far as they are concerned) forget about it later. I’ve learned to never take the bait on any of those self-renewing subscriptions or serial purchases, despite the persistence of the sales people that are hawking them. As soon as I hear the word “automatically” I say no. However, I will occasionally sign up to make automatic payments on stuff that is already part of my monthly outlay, such as my water bill and cell phone subscription. But, even then, I proceed with caution.