PSA: Have You Canceled Your Account at Scribd? You Might Want to Double Check That

PSA: Have You Canceled Your Account at Scribd? You Might Want to Double Check That Streaming eBooks Tips and Tricks With the news coming out earlier this week that Scribd was cutting back its romance catalog (including titles from Harlequin), I'm sure some Scribd subscribers are thinking about cancelling their subscription (or have already done so). And so I wanted to pass along a friendly warning about Scribd's cancellation process.

Many companies have a relatively obvious process to cancel an online subscription. They may make you jump through hoops, beg you not to leave, but in the end I've rarely had trouble canceling a service.

Scribd, on the other hand, has set up their cancellation process so that it is easy to trick yourself into thinking that you've canceled your account before you've actually completed the process.

I had to find this out the hard way, and I'm hoping you can learn from my mistake.

Back in May I decided that I no longer needed my Scribd account, and I canceled the monthly payment - or so I thought. Much to my surprise, I discovered earlier this week that I was still subscribed to Scribd.

It turns out that, after navigating through 3 screens and after having told Scribd three times to cancel my subscription, I hadn't actually canceled the account.

No, there was a 4th screen where I was required to scroll down, find the correct text entry area, give Scribd feedback, and cancel my account a 4th time before it would take.

Personally, I find the design of that process to be deceptive, but the more important issue here is that I want to help you avoid my mistake.

If you canceled your account at Scribd, go make sure they're no longer charging you. And if you decide to cancel your account, please be more careful that I was.

We don't want you to become part of the "gym membership" part of Scribd's business plan (continue to charge people for a service they aren't using). Scribd costs $9 a month, and if you're not reading the ebooks that money is better spent elsewhere.

image by W_Minshull

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

26 Comments

  1. fjtorres3 July, 2015

    Speaking of… questionable… scribd practices:

    After the purge, quite a few authors are finding that Scribd is now effectively charging subscribers to read their free books but won’t allow their paid books in their system. So scribd makes money off the authors but the authors can’t make money off Scribd.

    Neat trick, huh?

    Reply
    1. Mackay Bell3 July, 2015

      I don’t know why everyone keeps saying Scribd doesn’t have a workable business model. It now makes perfect sense. Keep charging customers who think they have canceled. (No money goes to writers. Scribd keeps everything.) And only allow writers to publish books for free. (No money goes to writers again.) Seems like a very sound business model.

      So, I assume all those people who say writers shouldn’t be exclusive to Amazon, and should be on all channels, are putting their books on Scribd for free.

      Reply
  2. Lisa Angelettie3 July, 2015

    Humph! I’m glad I saw this because I’m one of those voracious romance readers who’s ready to cancel. I can’t find any of my favorite indie authors. They definitely did the big chop.

    Reply
  3. puzzled4 July, 2015

    I cancelled my trial membership in April.

    While I still have an account, it is tagged as ‘Your Scribd membership has expired’, and my Cc is not being charged.

    Reply
  4. Alec4 July, 2015

    You should report Scribd’s convoluted cancelation process to the FTC since companies have to cancel your membership promptly.

    https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

    Reply
  5. Anna4 July, 2015

    Suggestion: why don’t you try using pre-paid credit cards on internet purchases. It’s easy and increases safety. You can delete a card anytime and create a new one with a new numbers in less that five minutes. You will likely receive text message notice of any single purchase.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder4 July, 2015

      I would but the options I have found all add extra fees to the cost.

      Reply
  6. Teri Babcock4 July, 2015

    There’s an industry term to describe the kind of design that is deliberately created to trick, mislead, confuse and otherwise drive the consumer into making an online choice they don’t want to make: dark patterns.
    There is a short course on design and ethics on Linda.com that discusses it.

    Reply
  7. […] Cuts Romance Catalogue – Mark Coker over at the Smashwords blog with a thoughtful analysis. Have You Canceled Your Account at Scribd? You Might Want to Double Check That – The Digital Reader on some dodgy […]

    Reply
  8. Leo Sigh28 October, 2015

    I can’t understand why anyone has a problem canceling their Scribd account. Honestly, I can’t.

    All you have to do is to follow the instructions on the screens that pop up. Sure, there are four of them so it’s a bit of a nuisance and, sure, they are desperately trying to get you to stay but…if you follow all directions, it’s as easy as cake. Literally took me less than 2 minutes.

    Oh and you can be sure you have canceled your account when you get an email from Scribd saying your automatic payment every month has been canceled. And then they send you another one asking you to stay and offering you a free 30 days 🙂

    And btw, I only canceled my account as I discovered I had a 3 month free account through a Samsung Galaxy tab I just bought, so I reverted to that one. But will definitely be keeping the service once the free trial expires as I love it.

    Reply
  9. Tracy23 February, 2016

    I have cancelled my account twice now and been billed again the next month due to their deceptive cancellation practices. Three screens is outrageous enough, but to have to scroll down and confirm cancellation again (written in tiny tiny print versus the giant Stay with Scribd button) is completely ridiculous and deliberate deception. I did not know that authors receive no money. These are not ethical business practices.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder23 February, 2016

      I’m sorry to hear that Scribd is still pulling this same shit almost a year later.

      Reply
  10. RAVIKUMAR n10 April, 2016

    I had given my credit card details on scribd ….it has been deducted amount by my account , as I dnt want t pay fr it ,so I have cancelled membership for a free trail for 14 days on same day , can I get back my money if I cancelled subscription ,???
    Even I dnt want t put for renewal process ,can anyone help me in cancelling bank details on scribd I given ???

    Reply
  11. Sophie25 April, 2016

    I have had a the same problem with SCRIBD cancellation process. I’ve went through the entire screen, added a feedback, and then again confirm my cancellation and was given a confirmation at the end of the page. However, this confirmation was never sent to my email but I assumed everything was cancelled since it was confirmed on their website. Just the other day, I realized that there was a membership charge to my account! I contacted the number that was on my credit card statement and of course there’s no answer…AND no option to speak to a representative. The other thing I can do is to email them and question about my account! It’s a pain in the butt to have to go through so much just to cancel an account. This is a fraud site. BTW, I found that if you create an account with OverDrive.com you can read books for FREE through your local libraries, including online books and audio! Save your money and stay away from SCRIBD. They’re a horrible company and they lack the resources to assist members.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder25 April, 2016

      When did you try to cancel, exactly?

      Reply
  12. […] the bullshit policy. I didn't cut Scribd any slack when I criticized its cancellation process last year, and I see no reason to be nicer to […]

    Reply
  13. Ak25 January, 2017

    Just this evening I unsubscribed from Scribd. I thought it was a half decent site, but the cancellation process was one of the most stupid and foolish that I have ever seen.

    Also this evening, I made a complaint to the FTC about it.

    Reply
  14. Jason8 February, 2017

    I recently signed on for a free month trial. I’ve cancelled my membership and am trying to deactivate my account, but it says that I can’t because I still have a membership? I’m worried that I’m going to incur billing because of this. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  15. Chimere31 March, 2017

    This is ridiculous. My membership expired March 2016, I’ve been charged every month (to include this one). I have been working with Scribd for over 2 months now and nothing has been resolved as they have to have the last four of my card to find it. I figure me having an account in the past would have been good enough seeing that they are supposed to be a reputable business. They are gonna owe me over a years worth of charges.

    Reply
  16. Sue31 March, 2017

    I cancelled my account 2 years ago – have just been billed for 12 months.

    Reply
  17. Annabelle Madrid12 April, 2017

    I have a problem in unsubscibing my account. What is the best thing to do to stop or cancel my account it is not helping me it continues add problem because it always deduct from my credit card. I intend to stop it . Hope you will tell me what to do.

    Reply
  18. Ashok kumar N3 July, 2017

    I’ve cancelled my premium membership of(scribd) a month back but today $9 has been taken from my account without any prior information. How could they take someone’s money even after cancelling the membership? What should I need to do? Help me.

    Reply
  19. Jason Waterman26 August, 2017

    Right now i was trying to cancel my scribd account for the past 3 days
    First of all when they send me the UPDATE PAYMENT email .. when i click into and try to click the profile thing in the top right of the email, it goes straight back to UPDATE PAYMENT

    Second .. i actually had to find my account by hitting the Account text in help. It brought me to the membership part … But then there was still no “Cancel Membership” button to click

    Calling my credit card company and getting it blocked asap.
    Very questionable practices.

    Reply
  20. Ricardo14 February, 2018

    They have made the same to me and I am almost 100% sure that I have completed the 4 steps. they have been billing my for 10 months without saying a word. In my coutry this is simply fraud

    Reply
  21. Will17 February, 2018

    I have been getting charged by scribd every month since last July despite having deleted my account. I did this within a matter of days of starting that free trial as I new the service would not be worth the money for me. I thought I was mistaken but the scribd website confirms that my account is deleted. It’s ridiculous that they can still be charging me every month when the account no longer exists. In my eyes this is theft, pure and simple.

    Reply

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