Sound Advice for Businesses with Stupid Billing Policies

Make it easy for people to change their preferences or cancel the service, so they don’t leave angry. “It engenders a negative brand perception if you make customers pick up the phone and wait in line to stop paying you.”

-Michael Dublin, CEO of Dollar Shave Club

Above is some sound advice for business owners to strongly consider. Recently, as a customer, I’ve experienced the frustration of dealing with a business that makes it difficult to cancel its services. The business I’m speaking of in particular is a fitness club called French Riviera Spa, and I’m annoyed at their stupid billing policies.

First, I take responsibility for signing their membership contract, without thoroughly examining the terms as I usually do with any contract before endorsing. Second, I comprehend and respect the need to protect one’s business from potential loss of revenue. But, and excuse my language, “it’s a damn gym”! Should I choose to cancel and move on then, at most, charge me for an extra month and let’s keep it moving. But the worst thing to do is what French Riviera Spa did: attempt to shackle me to a service that I no longer desire.

Why am I writing about this? Well, besides venting, I viewed this incident from an entrepreneurial perspective. Because I travel, sometimes I join different fitness clubs depending on my location at a given time. When able, I try to stick to a consistent fitness club brand. If  I happen to return to a particular location, then I go back and join a fitness club that I may have once left. Well, needless to say, there’s not ever a chance of me rejoining as a member of French Riviera Spa, a sentiment that I’ve come to find out is shared by quite a few previous members.

My point overall is, this particular fitness club has completely ruined an opportunity to gain repeat business from me and others in the future, due to utterly ridiculous billing policies. I am not one to be shackled, and most people feel the same way. Of course I found a way out of their policy, and I am warning others to not join such a club unless it changes its billing policies. If you own and operate a business, I hope that you will not make the same mistake. Follow the sound advice of Michael Dublin, and make it simple for people to change their preferences or cancel the service.

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