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NYT (NewYorkTimes) shady unSubscription dark patterns explained & steps to exit.

One of the most popular newspapers NYT AKA New York Times is reported to be using dark patterns to prevent user unsubscription from their site.

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What is a dark pattern?

It’s a process design that requires several complex procedures to do simple things. ie: Cancelling Monthly Subscription on NYT, Changing data privacy policy on Facebook

In 2018 Facebook was found to be using dark patterns to manipulate users from changing their privacy settings where the user had to go with 5 staged processes to change their data visibility and privacy policy.

How the New York Times use dark patterns?

NYT uses dark patterns and complex procedures to increase the friction in the subscription cancellation process and keep the user subscriber.

If you aren’t aware, there are fair options available but on very limited resources.

UnSubscription-only through phone call or SMS but not the web (Except California)

A user willing to subscribe to NYT can easily visit their website and subscribe to their service by doing everything online but while canceling, the website option isn’t available.

Note: Due to strict law in California, the NYT does offer cancellation through the mail but there is a different story. A user (as reported by a California NYT subscriber) had to go with 7 mails to finally cancel the service.

In the series of emails, he was also offered heavy discounts to remain a customer.

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NYT has a chat feature, isn’t that useful?

The chat facility is only available in-office hours (07:00 AM-10:00 PM) on weekdays and 07:00 AM-03:00 PM on weekends which sounds fair.

But most of the time and days, their chat facility is unavailable due to excessive chat from customers which defines that NYT doesn’t employ enough chat advocates.

NYT Cancellation Policy

 

Technology Changed, NYT adapted too but with a complex unsubscription process

This isn’t a random issue which just got in the way, it has existed for years and years. NYT audience has complained about the cancellation issue for years on social media but NYT doesn’t seem to care but milk money from existing subscribers by keeping the process longer and longer.

 

1. A report from NYT subscriber who wanted to unsubscribe

NYT (NewYorkTimes) shady unSubscription dark patterns explained & steps to exit. 1

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2. A report on Hacker News explaining the issues of a subscriber

NYT (NewYorkTimes) shady unSubscription dark patterns explained & steps to exit. 2
February 2020

 

3. A report from a recent Reddit post that explains that people care about these issues

NYT (NewYorkTimes) shady unSubscription dark patterns explained & steps to exit. 3
Date: 1 May 2020

 

4. How dark pattern design hurt overall branding and new customer?

NYT (NewYorkTimes) shady unSubscription dark patterns explained & steps to exit. 4
Date: 1 May 2020|

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5. $1 trial offers gets converted into $40 and then to $10 while cancellation

NYT (NewYorkTimes) shady unSubscription dark patterns explained & steps to exit. 5

 

How to cancel NYT subscription easily?

1. Change Payment method to PayPal

Changing the payment method to PayPal gives you permission to stop the payment anytime you want unlike calling the NYT rep of 10 times or doing SMS that hardly gets any sensible reply.

2. Block and get a New card

In case you don’t have a Paypal account or want to create one, you can simply block your card and get a new one. In this way, you will come out of any future transaction pulled by NYT or any other company that drags the unsubscription option.

3. Talk to their service

This is probably one of the worst experiences and ways to cancel NYT subscription.

Steps to cancel NYT subscriber who is out of California

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NYT subscription cancellation through phone

  1. Call NYT on their phone support
  2. Call them, answer many questions asked by rep
  3. Finally, shout to rep “I don’t want any discount, Just cancel my subscription”

NYT subscription cancellation through the chat

  1. Wish yourself “Good luck” to get an available chat advocate
  2. Start a Chat
  3. In case it gets connected, Explains the reason why you want to cancel
  4. Wait for reply
  5. Cunter their discount offer
  6. Wait for reply
  7. Cunter their discount offer again
  8. Become radical about the issue and then force the advocate with your words to “cancel the subscription”

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Steps to cancel NYT subscriber who is out of California

  1. Mail NYT with the message
  2. Wait for their response
  3. Explain clearly why you want to cancel
  4. Reject their counteroffer
  5. Reject their counteroffer
  6. Become radical about the issue and then force the rep to cancel the subscription
  7. Wait for the final cancellation for final cancellation mails.

 

Why this post?

This post reminds companies using Dark Patterns, that user experience matters and it ruins the overall branding of the company when discussed on social media.

 

TDH Publishing

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