It should be as easy to unsubscribe from a service as it is to sign up. Other than powerful brand bullies, who is against this?
I gladly signed up with Virgin Media for an eighteen month broadband contract in March 2021. The process was rapid, the price very competitive (until my deal ended, when it became absurdly UN-competitive, but I knew that going in) and the service good. When fibre broadband was installed in my area there was no way Virgin or any other traditional provider would be able to compete, so, playing along with the unnecessarily restrictive rules about their timing of cancellations (read the small print) I took an afternoon off to unsubscribe (thanks to feedback I was prepared). Cancelling requires a seemingly inescapable charade of aggressive renegotiation (just offer me your best price upfront please, we don't live in some medieval bazaar). I was then hassled for weeks with "better" offers at all hours of the day from a variety of different phone numbers, making it difficult to block. For reasons known only to Virgin, my service was cancelled four days before my contract ended and I was, ludicrously, billed a few pounds for an early disconnection charge. Because the company had proved so inconvenient to negotiate with regarding cancellation, I paid it, which is presumably their bad faith strategy. Then, I was almost immediately threatened with further billing despite returning my Virgin Media equipment within 24 hours of receiving their packaging (now resolved, but we'll see). I kept transcripts of exchanges, and am advising other existing customers to do the same, as the culture demonstrated suggests they are not to be trusted. I can't imagine what it would be like dealing with Virgin Media in case of bereavement or other personal crisis.
If anyone from Virgin ever reads this, please know: It is unlikely that making it extremely inconvenient to turn off the service is going to dissuade someone from doing it. It hurts a once respected brand, will demotivate your employees and destroys loyalty. It is short term-thinking and depressingly lazy.
But you do it anyway. Just look at the reviews amassing on Trustpilot.
When organizations get too big and too short-term focused to pay attention to the market, it’s a perfect moment for consumers to band together and give them a guardrail. If I can sign up with a few clicks, I should be able to withdraw my custom with a few clicks. I rent my London flat, so when I move I may not have fibre broadband as an option, and will likely require another provider. It won't be Virgin Media, and a once loyal customer will now repeat this complaint across any platforms that allow me to leave a review. Pity.