Torsten Dettlaff via Pexels

Please, Just Let Me Cancel My Subscription

There’s an irritating trend in SaaS to take away all semblence of self-serve cancellation buttons.

I sign up, I hate it (or not), and I want to cancel. I look around and see a button that says cancel. I click it, and it’s actually just an email.

I draft an email (myself) saying I want to cancel said SaaS plan.

They ask why. I say why.

They say they’ll do better. They send me support articles. They give me a discount. I still want to cancel.

Three to four emails in they’ll relent, but not without making me feel like somehow it’s my fault for wanting to leave in the first place. As if I’m using the software wrong or something.

There’s usually two reasons for this:

  1. The company hasn’t built self-serve cancellation yet, but they’re going to
    This is where we’re at with HelpDocs. There’s just two of us working on it, and self-serve cancellation’s just not a priority.
  2. The company will never build self-serve cancellation

Not having a self-serve button isn’t what annoys me really. It’s that it’s so goddamn difficult to actually cancel.

If you don’t have an option for people to cancel themselves, you shouldn’t get in the way of them cancelling any more than you already are doing.

What I’d like to happen is for me to send off an email cancelling, then get a reply along the lines of:

Sure thing, I’ve cancelled that for you. Anything we could’ve done to keep you as a customer?

That way you’re still getting your feedback. You’re still finding out how to improve. And you’re still leaving the door open for them to come back as a customer.

You’re not annoying them so much they’ll never return.

You can still talk to them about the reason they cancelled, but be sure to cancel the account first. If the reason’s a dud, they can always sign back up. By excelling at customer service you actually make that more likely.


I’m just a guy from the UK that’s okay at writing, better at startups, awesome at making coffee.

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