Whether is its Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Sling TV or YouTube TV, consumers can cancel most streaming services at any time. While many consumers will already be aware of this, others might not be, and with an increase in the number of people now turning to streaming, it is important to be aware of what you can and can’t do. When it comes to canceling, the power is the subscriber’s hands and is one of the main benefits of streaming to begin with.
In the past, some companies and services may have required the user to agree to a long-term commitment. This is most typically seen with traditional live TV packages and is a tactic that’s still sometimes used today. Some of the reasons often used to justify the need for a long-term agreement are the costs associated with someone coming out to a home to set the service up and/or the need for specific hardware that’s leased to the user.
With streaming, neither of these options apply. Most streaming services, if not all, require very little set up beyond creating an account. Likewise, streaming services tend to be all app-based with apps available to download from places like the Google Play Store, App Store or Roku’s Channel Store, making it possible to access the service on a variety of devices and removing the need for service-specific hardware. Although very few, if any, actually work on every device, most streaming services are compatible with many different smart TVs, streaming players, and other devices in and around the home. All of which means there’s very little need for a long-term commitment and the subscriber is able to cancel at any time.
The exact process of canceling a subscription will vary depending on the service. It is also possible that some services are not available to cancel on certain devices. In most cases, subscribers will be able to make adjustments to their plan or outright cancel their subscription by vising the website of the service and accessing the Account section. Even then, it is possible that subscribers may need to perform some additional actions. For example, DirecTV Stream adds an extra step that requires the subscriber to talk to a representative for the cancelation request to be completed. For most other services, the cancel button is usually enough.
What happens when you do cancel
Although consumers are free to cancel most streaming services whenever they want, what happens next can vary depending on the service. Generally speaking, most consumers will simply be able to continue using the service for the remainder of the billing period. As subscription services are paid for in advance, the subscriber has already paid for the rest of the current billing month and this entitles them to continue using the service for the time they’ve already paid for. Most streaming services don’t offer the option of a refund so this means the subscription will just continue until the next payment would have been taken. At which point, access will finally come to an end.
When exactly that is varies for a number of reasons. For starters, the billing cycle is based on when the user first signed up and excludes any free trials that might have been used. Secondly, if someone has subscribed to an annual plan then the time remaining could be significantly longer depending on how many months have left to run. Again, most services don’t offer the option of a refund, even when paying for a more expensive annual subscription.
It is also possible that the subscription could come to an end almost immediately. This isn’t typical but there are some conditions when a service may stop access the moment the subscriber confirms the cancelation. One of the most common examples of this is when canceling a live TV subscription while still on a free trial. Likewise, additional deals, promotions or discounts may also come with a caveat where the service will be cancelled immediately or soon after the subscriber confirms the cancelation.
Canceling at any time summary
Overall, it is fairly quick and easy to cancel most streaming services and subscribers are usually able to cancel whenever they like. How much they have paid for their plan and when the next payment is due will usually determine just how long it will take before the subscription actually comes to an end and access is revoked. Some consumers may also find that they are unable to cancel on some of their devices, making the website the best and easiest way to completely cancel any streaming service.
Although some services may make it a little harder to cancel than others, getting in to the habit of canceling a service when it is no longer being used can help to save money. It is also fairly easy to sign back up again at a later time, so there’s no need to remain a subscriber and continue paying the monthly rate if the service is not currently being used frequently enough.