UK consumers paid an average of £160 for unwanted subscriptions this summer, shows research

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Consumers paid an average of £160 towards unwanted subscriptions, like gym memberships, television, insurance and online streaming services, over the course of three months, new research has revealed.

A study compiled by Citizens Advice – a national network of charities— found that while subscription services are usually very easy to sign up for, it can be difficult to get out of them.

The group’s analysis, conducted between June and August 2017, showed that 90 per cent of people questioned were initially refused by the company offering the service when they tried to cancel their subscription.

In light of this, Citizens Advice urged consumer to be acutely aware of the terms and conditions of any contract before agreeing to recurring payments.

It said that companies were refusing to cancel subscriptions, asking for more notice, in some cases up to six months, or telling people they need to cancel through a specific route – for example by phone or email.

“We know people are wasting time and energy trying to cancel subscriptions while paying out of pocket,” said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

Consumer Minister Margot James said that the UK’s consumer protection regime is “one of the strongest in the world” but that there is “always more to do to tackle the issues that could cause the greatest harm”.

“With 40 million people in the UK now subscribing to at least one product or service, this campaign from Citizens Advice will help ensure consumers can shop with confidence and know what their rights are should things go wrong,” Ms James said.