How companies make money from you forgetting

Man working out

I recently logged in to view may checking account balance. While there, I noticed a $19.99 purchase from the site Daily Burn.

I sighed. This was the second time this month that I had received a recurring charge from a site that I had not wanted to incur.

But I forgot about them both. And that is exactly how they get you.

How to work out when you’re busy

My life is busy these days. Over the past month, I’ve been to three countries, flying over 10,000 miles in the process, and before the year is out, I’ll have visited two more countries and flown at least 10,000 more miles.

Staying active during all this upheaval has been challenging. My gym visits have become more and more infrequent.

I like my gym, but I was also looking for something that didn’t actually going there, for when time is tight. (I like running outside, but sometimes it’s way too cruddy to be worth it.)

Someone told me about Daily Burn, a workout and motivation site that offered a live daily 30 minute workout, among many other programs. The idea of working out at home was never appealing to me, but having the ability to be told what to do would make it easier.

I did the workouts (not easy in a place as small as mine), but I found that I wasn’t able to keep a reliable schedule, and I found I was also starting to go to the gym more.

In short, I wasn’t using it. But I thought I would.

And that’s how they get you.

Every month, a new charge for Daily Burn would show up on my account.

Last month, I vowed to cancel it, but Daily Burn “helpfully” suggested that I just freeze my account for a month. As I was going away for a month, that seemed like an appropriate option, so I went with it.

And that’s how they get you.

One very busy month later, and there was the charge for another month of Daily Burn. At this point, I had totally forgotten that I had even signed up for it.

At that point, I immediately canceled the service.

Cancellation satire

The cancellation process was a satire. I didn’t take screenshots, but it reminded me of an old computer game I used to play, so I’ll put those screenshots in instead. It went, paraphrasing something like this:

Are you sure you want to quit? Here are all of the other benefits you can get with your membership.

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From Space Quest 3: The Pirates of Pestulon

How about if we gave you 50% off the next month. Would you stay then?

There’s really nothing quite like a good Sierra On-Line game.

This is your last chance. Your account will be permanently deleted unless you click OK here.

I feel like I got my sense of humor from a combination of Sierra and Monty Python.

We’ll give you one last chance.

And so it went.


From this, I’ve learned a few things.

  • Don’t sign up for these services unless you’re sure you’ll find a use for them. These Bills can chip away at your budget without you knowing it.
  • Never freeze your account; cancel it. You can always sign up again. Otherwise, you will forget, and you will get charged.
  • You probably have too many of these services right now. If I were a TV watcher, it would be so easy to have access to Hulu, Amazon Prime, and whatever else is “only” $12/month. Have you counted up the totals of these monthly bills? I bet you there’s one you could get rid of right now.
  • Go into business selling one of these products. You’ll make a million.

But enough about me. Have you ever gotten charged by a service you forgot about?


Immediately after writing this article, I went on to my Skype account to cancel an unlimited calling subscription service that I didn’t need anymore. I had no problems canceling, but then I went to add some credit to my account, and I got this pop-up:

Skype cancel
They don’t quit.


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