The problem of subscription traps is deepening.

New research from Citizens Advice found that over 13 million people (26 per cent of UK adults) have accidentally taken out a subscription in the past 12 months.

These subscriptions cover services from fitness apps to food delivery services, and repeat pet food to magazine subscriptions.

Of those who ended up with an accidental subscription the most common reason was because it auto-renewed without their knowledge (40 per cent).

This is followed by people who took out a subscription for a free trial but forgot to cancel later (39 per cent).

And worryingly, almost one in four (24 per cent) people who have ended up in an accidental subscription thought they were making a one-off purchase.

Failure to tackle subscription traps is not only a risk to consumers - who could end up parting with more money than they originally bargained for, or can afford - but it is also a risk to businesses.

Over half (54 per cent) of people said that they have decided not to sign up for a subscription due to concerns about how difficult it would be to cancel.

With three quarters (74 per cent) of UK adults supporting a ban on automatic subscription renewals where consumers haven’t actively agreed to it, CANH is joining in on calling on the government to clamp down on this practice in the upcoming Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill.

Citizens Advice wants to see consumers offered a choice over whether their subscriptions are subject to auto-renew, and over whether they want to continue to a subscription service at the end of a free trial.

Make sure you’re reviewing your subscriptions to check which ones you’re not using. Check your accounts for direct debits, standing orders and recurring payments. 

Many regular payments are quarterly, biannual or yearly so check back over 12 months to ensure you cover all outgoings. Common payments to look out for are things like gym memberships, subscription TV channels or streaming services, magazine subscriptions, dating site memberships, club memberships, insurance for items you no longer have or unwanted charity Direct Debits.

Citizens Advice North Herts offers a community workshop on being ‘consumer savvy’.

If this is something you would be interested in attending or if you belong to a local group who would like us to come and visit then please get in touch via our website