Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Everybody wants you on a recurring subscription
Old 03-11-2015, 08:45 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
JoeWras's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,531
Everybody wants you on a recurring subscription

Is anyone else getting tired of companies trying to jam a subscription model down your throat?

Seems like about a decade ago, the MBAs discovered that the best way to squeeze both customers and businesses is through a subscription model. No more buy once and forget.

Sure, this has been around forever with "razors and blades", or more recently, "printers and cartridges." But I'm talking a new, closer level of interaction. Monthly or yearly fees, whether you want them or not.

Pick your poison:
- Amazon Prime
- Costco membership
- Google play
- iTunes
- Netflix
- Turbotax
- Quicken (3 yrs now, what's next?)
- Satellite radio
- Dollar shave club, or new guy, Bevel
- Mobile phones
- Termite inspections
- Prepaid auto repair
- Grass service
- Water softener service
- Furnace service

The newest one I got was from Terminix. They called me up and wanted to know when they could schedule my "attic inspection." I'm like, "What attic inspection?" Apparently, they are just trying to get people on an attic inspection yearly service. I inspect my attic myself, once per quarter, thank you very much. Don't need your guy to pop in with his flashlight.

And about those furnace/ac inspections. I think there is a lot of fear here that they employ. Yes, it is not a bad idea to get a pro to check every few years, maybe every 5. But keep CO monitors in your house regardless. You can inspect and clean much of what they do anyway. And from what I saw from a "complementary" service I got when my unit was only 6 months old, I was horrified. The guy disabled all the safeties to "test the safeties". This heated up the heat exchanger to red hot. I don't think that is good for the system! Not the right way to test!

Now I'm off topic. But it just seems like some new recurring charge is popping up in my life and I'm not happy about it.
__________________

__________________
JoeWras is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-11-2015, 08:48 AM   #2
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
This model is why we reluctantly chose to go all electric when we built our house. I didn't want an LP tank in the yard that I'd have to pay to have "topped up" every month, which is the only model available.

We have signed up for the service deal once with the HVAC guys, simply because we needed service and a part replaced, and it was a better deal if we did the contract. But the next time they came out for the semi-annual inspection, the new tech had all kinds of high-pressure tactics to get us to re-up, and to do some superfluous maintenance.

Although, I do love my Spotify and Netflix monthly subscriptions!
__________________

__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 08:55 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,978
You can always say no to over half of the ones on your list, and what subscriptions are required with Google Play, iTunes and TurboTax (none that I know of)? If the monthly/yearly subscription will truly save me money through lower costs without imposing a frequency I think is excessive (no more frequent than I'd otherwise choose) - I'm all for it. If not, just say NO, how hard is that?

Mobile phones is a little different, I think consumers have driven that, because lots of people can't or don't want to pony up for the phone upfront. So they prefer (by their actions at least) to spread the cost of the phone over 2 years.

Some other companies use teaser rates in year 1, and make it up on year 2, 2 year contract. It's easy to figure out when those are deals or not, but evidently many people don't think it through. Caveat emptor.

And you can negotiate with some of them if needed. For example, I sign up for lawn fertilizer service annually, and save another 10% by paying in Feb. They recommend 6 applications/year and some other treatments, but I insist on only 4 treatments (and even specify the first, second, fourth & sixth) - and I still get all the same discounts (prorated cost less 10% in Feb). Works for me, and lowers their prices, win-win.

Cable/satellite TV bundling bothers me way more than subscriptions, but that's another (already well worn) thread...
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 08:58 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,899
Good point. I just hope financial advisers never go this route. Oh wait...too late!
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:19 AM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,288
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
Is anyone else getting tired of companies trying to jam a subscription model down your throat? ....

And about those furnace/ac inspections. ...
edit - on my first cup, I thought you were talking about ads from businesses in your email - oh well, applies in a way so I'll leave it --- They don't offer a simple 'opt out'? No these don't bother me, it makes good business sense for them, and there are a few that I really do want an update on sales, etc. The rest, I opt out. Fixed.

Now what I think is stupid, is when they don't have an option for weekly or monthly updates, or maybe the occasional super-deal-sale or special event notice, and your only choice is daily or nothing.

Agree on the furnace inspections for NG (maybe that would be worthwhile as a separate thread?). I'm with the observation from Nords that too much maintenance often causes more problems, but you need to know what to look/listen for, and many people do not. But like personal finance, they could learn what they need to know in 10 minutes or less.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:30 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3,002
When I went out to get my own smartphone after retiring I was surprised how hard the salesman worked to try to discourage me from buying the phone outright. I asked why. He said, "we want to have a long-term service relationship with you." Umm, yeah. I bought the phone anyway.


We do have a service contract with out heating/AC provider that includes semi-annual inspections. I'm happy to say the inspections haven't turned up a laundry list of "problems".


What annoyed me when I was using a lawn-mowing service (I was single and traveling a lot), they showed up every darn week even if the weather was hot and dry and the grass had grown only a couple of millimeters. I mow my own lawn now and sometimes I can go for weeks without having to mow it.
__________________
athena53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:31 AM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,531
I don't pay for any of those subscription services on your list.

Technically I do pay $10/yr for DW's T-mobile phone (mine is free on freedompop). It's not a subscription since it doesn't get paid unless I whip out a credit card.

And netflix - I'm on my mom's $8 plan. I just gave her a basket full of ripe bananas as payment for using her account. Does that count? I would definitely pony up the $8-9 for an account though since the five of us in the house get a lot of nearly free entertainment out of it.

Moral of the story is you can skip a lot of the recurring fees. I don't see them as necessarily a bad thing, but choosing to go a la carte and pay for services as you use them is often the cheaper way to consume. I skip the $50 for costco (for example) because I can shop for free elsewhere and get better bargains.

I view the subscription fee model as a way to convert you into a captive customer (which is genius, fyi). The inertial effect of doing nothing and still being a revenue point for a business is awesome (for the biz). And you're psychologically more likely to choose that service provider since you're already paying for them and "might as well use them". If you have a contract with an HVAC company, are you really going to shop for the best rates for a given service or repair job (or replacement if it's time for that)?
__________________
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (5, 11, and 12).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:31 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,978
Quote:
Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
When I went out to get my own smartphone after retiring I was surprised how hard the salesman worked to try to discourage me from buying the phone outright. I asked why. He said, "we want to have a long-term service relationship with you." Umm, yeah. I bought the phone anyway.


We do have a service contract with out heating/AC provider that includes semi-annual inspections. I'm happy to say the inspections haven't turned up a laundry list of "problems".


What annoyed me when I was using a lawn-mowing service (I was single and traveling a lot), they showed up every darn week even if the weather was hot and dry and the grass had grown only a couple of millimeters. I mow my own lawn now and sometimes I can go for weeks without having to mow it.
You make the best choices for yourself, and say no to offers that aren't to your advantage. Easy-peasy, as it should be...
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:35 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
JoeWras's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,531
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
You can always say no to over half of the ones on your list, and what subscriptions are required with Google Play, iTunes and TurboTax (none that I know of)? If the monthly/yearly subscription will truly save me money through lower costs without imposing a frequency I think is excessive (no more frequent than I'd otherwise choose) - I'm all for it. If not, just say NO, how hard is that?
Of course you can. I always say "no" to stuff being jammed down my throat. I told Terminix they could take their attic inspection somewhere else.

My point is that there is a creeping tendency of this. Some day I predict you won't be able to buy a CD or MP3. You'll have to stream it through subscription.

More alarming are companies who won't serve you unless you are a subscriber. I'm thinking maintenance. Etc.

It is just the creeping pervasiveness of the model, Midpack, that has me a bit hot. "No" for now, but maybe not someday.

Want your Quicken to do on-line stuff? You better not say "no".

Windows 10? Hmmm... There is rumor of what the payment model for that will be, and in my mind, it ain't good.
__________________
JoeWras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:44 AM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 98
Another to add to your list, doctors. There is a trend starting for family doctors to switch to the subscription model. But that might not be a bad thing. Your doctor charges you a monthly fee, and then doesn't take insurance reimbursement.
__________________
Masquernom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:48 AM   #11
Moderator
rodi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,817
The one that bothers me the most is software packages. Adobe and Microsoft push the subscription licenses. Part of my budget trimming was cutting or reducing the reoccurring expenses. Yet my kids keep coming to me with "needs" (actually wants) that are subscription based. Xbox live.... Adobe studio.... I'm a mean mom because I reject them out of hand.
__________________
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 7%, rental income 18%
rodi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:55 AM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3,002
And another- cloud computing applications. Last time I bought a computer and wanted to buy MS Office, I had to work a little harder to find a version that wasn't basically a rental. Sadly, I think this will be more and more common. Since I keep computers till they die, which is usually 4 or 5 years, I don't want to pay monthly subscription fees for my software.


I've also learned to be wary of automatic renewals for virus protection and tax software. Fortunately they typically send you an e-mail at renewal and you can reverse it if you didn't want to renew.


Ah, I see Rodi beat me to it!


I'll add another: credit card membership fees. DH and I pared back last year, dropping two that had annual fees, adding one with fees (but a good signing bonus) and the Fidelity Amex (no annual fee, 2% back on everything). We still keep another with a fee (Marriott Visa) because your credit rating goes down if all your credit lines are recent. I'm pretty cautious about ANYTHING that entails regular payments and am tracking our expenses in more detail now that I'm retired. The "Memberships" category will get particular scrutiny.
__________________
athena53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:58 AM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 182
To avoid having recurring charges I go old-school and write a check. I have a magazine subscription that I have let expire but they keep sending me notices to just give them a credit card and it will automatically renew. No thanks, don't want it anymore.


A couple of years ago I got a gift of discounts on massages. Nice, but they wanted to sell me a package deal for discounts on twelve massages for a year. I told them that "I do not sign contracts". They looked at me like my head was screwed on wrong (maybe that's why they thought I needed more massages). I used up the gift and if I need a massage in the future I will call them. Haven't needed one since I FIRE'd.
__________________
pjm-7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 10:00 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Major Tom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SF East Bay
Posts: 3,129
My only recurring costs are rent, $8/month for a land-line, and $23/month for DSL. Mind you, the frequency at which I've been buying things on eBay recently suggests that I might as well have a subscription to that

I agree with Midpack that we have a choice in what we sign up for and what we choose to say no to, but do see Joe's point that more and more companies seem to be favoring the subscription model. Unless things have changed recently, you can no longer purchase Photoshop outright - you have to have a current subscription in order to use it. I was rather floored by that but when my copy of CS2 becomes so long in the tooth that I can no longer use it, I will change over to Lightroom.
__________________
ER, for all intents and purposes. Part-time income <5% of annual expenditure.
Major Tom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 10:00 AM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
fanmail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 57
Some obv ones that have been around for awhile
Cable TV
HOA dues
All types of insurance
ESPN insider
Expense Ratios
Country clubs
__________________
fanmail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 10:10 AM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 16,515
I'm staying away from the software subscriptions.

We've gotten rid of quite a few media subscriptions, and I don't mind the ones where I can turn it on and off month to month. We only keep what we use.

Shopping memberships - only where I get a lot of value.

Utilities (including Internet) - no problem, I use them constantly anyway.

Cell service is the most insidious. We are about to get out from under contract and we look forward to the flexibility.

People are always trying to sell you something. It's the Great American Way! ERs have usually already learned to say no to parting with their money.
__________________
Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
audreyh1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 10:19 AM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
mpeirce's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Columbus area
Posts: 1,595
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjm-7 View Post
To avoid having recurring charges I go old-school and write a check. I have a magazine subscription that I have let expire but they keep sending me notices to just give them a credit card and it will automatically renew. No thanks, don't want it anymore.
Our BOFA Visa has a service called ShopSafe where you can get a limited use credit card number (based on your card). It's a mild pain to use - you have to go to their web site to generate the number - but it's handy for two purposes:

1 - dealing with a vendor I'm not comfortable with handing over my regular credit card number. Usually any web site besides Amazon ;-)

2 - subscriptions. You can set the expression for the card number so there is no chance they can use it to renew a subscription with it.

I honestly can't remember the last time I wrote a check...
__________________
mpeirce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 10:29 AM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
...but do see Joe's point that more and more companies seem to be favoring the subscription model.
I see his point too, but "jamming it down our throats" is a gross oversimplification.

More and more companies are offering various subscription models, not only because it works well for them (cash flow, customer retention, lower cost) BUT/AND because a critical mass of consumers see the subscription model as a better value/convenience proposition themselves. Neither can simply force this evolution on the other. That same critical mass of consumers is growing every day, and they want other products/services in their lives to be just as easy - that's where the demand comes from, not just companies. Just Google, there are plenty of good discussions about the topic.

Killing off CD's certainly wasn't forced on us by the recording industry, other enterprises (Apple et al) offered an alternative that a majority of consumers came to prefer.

Killing off DVDs/BDs certainly wasn't forced on us by the motion picture industry, other enterprises (Netflix et al) offered an alternative that a majority of consumers came to prefer.

If you find an industry where the subscription model is the only game in town or financially way more attractive, it's ultimately because there are too few consumers who want the prior product/service model. It's not simply companies 'jamming things down our throats' regardless of what those who prefer the old model might choose to believe. Most people don't want CDs anymore, like they no longer want cassettes, 8-tracks, LP's, 45's, 78's or wax cylinders. I'd sure hate to have to go back to a brick-n-mortar store to buy software, or especially the convenience of software updates - yipes. Commerce is a two way street, always has been, always will be...

Quote:
Once customers taste streaming video rather than buying physical DVDs, using Zipcar rather than buying your own or storing business files in Box as opposed to on your own server, they want all their lives to work as simply as that. This is what we call the Subscription Economy.

A recent survey of 293 business executives in the US, UK and Australia, found that four out of every five businesses surveyed are currently seeing changes in how their customers prefer to access their services.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 10:29 AM   #19
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,934
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
Is anyone else getting tired of companies trying to jam a subscription model down your throat?

Seems like about a decade ago, the MBAs discovered that the best way to squeeze both customers and businesses is through a subscription model. No more buy once and forget.

Sure, this has been around forever with "razors and blades", or more recently, "printers and cartridges." But I'm talking a new, closer level of interaction. Monthly or yearly fees, whether you want them or not.

Pick your poison:
- Amazon Prime Yes, my choice because I love the free shipping
- Costco membership No, I don't belong to any warehouse clubs
- Google play Didn't even know it existed.
- iTunes Nope, don't pay them any regular money
- Netflix Nope - - I have F's Netflix installed here and I have yet to watch anything on it
- Turbotax Really? I had no idea they even HAD a subscription, and I use TT to do my taxes every year.
- Quicken (3 yrs now, what's next?) I bought it one year but no subscription because I didn't want to avail myself of their great and all-consuming desire to obtain all my passwords to download things for me.
- Satellite radio No way!
- Dollar shave club, or new guy, Bevel Er, it helps to be female.
- Mobile phones Yep
- Termite inspections Yep
- Prepaid auto repair You're kidding? How do they know what repairs you might need? No way.
- Grass service Yep
- Water softener service Water out of the tap is terrific here. No need for softener.
- Furnace service I get a postcard from my HVAC guy twice a year, and ignore it...

The newest one I got was from Terminix. They called me up and wanted to know when they could schedule my "attic inspection." I'm like, "What attic inspection?" Apparently, they are just trying to get people on an attic inspection yearly service. I inspect my attic myself, once per quarter, thank you very much. Don't need your guy to pop in with his flashlight.

And about those furnace/ac inspections. I think there is a lot of fear here that they employ. Yes, it is not a bad idea to get a pro to check every few years, maybe every 5. But keep CO monitors in your house regardless. You can inspect and clean much of what they do anyway. And from what I saw from a "complementary" service I got when my unit was only 6 months old, I was horrified. The guy disabled all the safeties to "test the safeties". This heated up the heat exchanger to red hot. I don't think that is good for the system! Not the right way to test!

Now I'm off topic. But it just seems like some new recurring charge is popping up in my life and I'm not happy about it.
Subscriptions and any other sort of regular monthly charge or fee is the best destroyer of LBYM and budget that I can think of.

That said, here in New Orleans, anybody who doesn't have an annual termite inspection in place has lost his mind and it has been that way forever. The city is riddled with termites due to our warm Southern weather and historic buildings, and you can't even sell your house without a termite inspection contract in place because buyers insist upon it.

I have always had a cell phone contract so that's nothing new for me.

I sought out Amazon Prime rather than them seeking me out, and the same goes for my lawn guy.

The one service you listed that annoyed me no end, was the Sirius radio that came with my car when I bought it. They pestered me for almost a year trying to get me to sign up. Next time, NOT having that installed in the car would be a big "plus" when I am deciding what car to buy.

But other than that, I haven't been approached by, and wouldn't use, the vast majority of the subscription services you listed.

As for software, I refuse to rent it and it seems like that is all one can do any more in order to obtain most software. I would have BOUGHT a number of software packages if that option were still available, but it isn't. So, software companies have driven me (and surely many of their customers) away permanently by switching to the subscription model.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 10:32 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,268
I dont know how Sirius stays in business. Pandora and iHeart Raido are free and much better (as long as you have an aux jack or blue tooth in your car).
__________________

__________________
utrecht is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Budget for non-recurring expenses accountingsucks FIRE and Money 8 07-30-2010 05:48 PM
Recurring sinus infections David1961 Health and Early Retirement 4 06-29-2009 06:45 PM
quitting recurring job and IRA rollover RustyShackleford FIRE and Money 11 08-23-2008 04:07 PM
Magazine Subscription mickeyd Other topics 12 08-09-2008 04:10 PM
Recurring dreams after ER ? Lsbcal Life after FIRE 21 01-29-2007 08:47 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:26 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.