A contributor submitted this screenshot from buysubscriptions.fom as an example of forced continuation, but it’s also a roach motel. If you want to “discuss your subscription” you must phone customer service.
The user signs up for a free trial on a website, and in doing so they are required to enter their credit card details. When the trial comes to an end, they automatically start getting billed for the paid service. The user is not given an adequate reminder, nor are they given an easy and rapid way of cancelling the automatic renewal. Sometimes this is combined with the Sneak into Basket dark pattern (as alleged in the Vistaprint class action lawsuit.). This dark pattern was previously known as “Silent Credit Card Roll-over” but was renamed since the term “forced continuity” is already popularly used in Marketing.
Stamps.com allows customers to sign up for a one month free trial which rolls over in to a paid subscription automatically and silently. If a customer then attempts to cancel their subscription, they are required to go through an arduous user journey to cancel. Firstly request to cancel via a comment form followed by the… Read more »
Some commenters have suggested in this blog post that creditexpert.co.uk uses the Forced Continuity dark pattern, in which a free trial silently rolls-over into a monthly paid service unless the consumer intervenes. Credit Expert Homepage The Google Instant Autocomplete tool implies other people have experienced this issue.
Audible uses a variation of the Forced Continuity dark pattern. When a user adds monthly billed items to their basket and proceeds into the checkout process, Audible fails to show that the items listed are not a one-off fees, and will in fact reoccur every month. Step 1 of the Audible.com check out process…. Read more »