Cutting the cord cutting: How to cancel Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services
Many of us have been there. You realize you’re paying too much every month on various TV subscription services and want to cut back. So you turn on the TV, open the app, go to the account settings and search in vain for the “cancel” tab.
Only it’s not there.
Signing up for a free trial is simple, but stopping the automatic billing spigot can take some detective work. It will require going to your computer, opening an app or calling in and standing firm with the rep who doesn’t want to break up.
Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, DirecTV Now, SlingTV, Sony PlayStation VUE, Philo, CBS All Access and others all offer the ability to ditch cable for internet-based entertainment that doesn’t require a contract or equipment rental and offers more ways to watch – on TV, phones, tablets and computers.
With so many offerings comes an ever-growing monthly bill, and there are more new subscription services in the wings: Disney, Warner Media, Apple and NBC Universal have services slated to debut this year.
So how do you get out? DirecTV Now notes on its website: “You can only cancel your service using a computer’s web browser.” But each service has different policies.
Consider how you registered
A wrinkle to leaving the membership is how you registered in the first place. If you signed up via Apple’s iTunes, Google Play, Roku or Amazon, instead of directly with the company, you’ve got more sleuthing work ahead of you as you’ll need to go to the provider and cancel there.
Streaming companies are trying to encourage signing up for multiple subscriptions at one place, to ease up on the load of checking many different bills. Roku announced earlier this month that it will let users subscribe to premium channels within their Roku account and the Roku app. Consumers, in turn, get to watch the channels outside of the home, via the app.
Ordering this way is even simpler than by going direct because Amazon, Roku, and the rest have your credit card and personal information already.
Here’s a look at how to cancel some of the major streaming services:
Netflix announced a major price hike last week, effective immediately for new subscribers, which will be rolled out to current subscribers in the coming months. That could lead some users to cancel or downgrade their services.
Go to your Netflix account on the computer, look for the Cancel Membership button and click. That’s easy.
But if you signed up via iTunes, you’ll need to go to Settings on the iPhone > iTunes & App Stores > Apple ID > View Apple ID > type in your password, scroll to the bottom and click Subscriptions, where you will find a list. Once there, you can edit your subscription and click the cancel button.
Netflix announced at the end of 2018 that it would no longer sign up new subscribers via iTunes but would continue to host current members there.
The streamer sends members to the Account page, where you select Update next to your name in the Personal Info section. From there, you “delete” the account. Hulu also accepts signups via Amazon and Roku but still directs consumers to the Hulu account page to cancel. For members subscribing via iTunes or Spotify, you need to cancel from there.
To cancel an app like HBO or Starz, or even a homegrown service like Amazon Music, go to the account settings, membership and subscriptions and look for the app you ordered. Once you find “cancel,” you’ll be asked several times to confirm that you really no longer want to subscribe.
The streamer will let you do this from the TV. To cancel, press the home button on the Roku remote, Press the Home button on your Roku remote, go to the Channel Store, find the channel you want to eliminate, select Manage subscription and cancel.
Go to your Google Play account subscriptions, click manage on the app you want to get rid of and confirm the cancellation.
The old-fashioned method: phone
I ordered CBS All Access via iTunes, specifically to watch the second season of “The Good Fight,” the sequel to “The Good Wife.” Thirteen episodes later, there’s no reason to continue paying anymore.
The TV had no options for getting out, and the website was confusing. So I was left with no option but to call in.
After dialing, I was asked to click 1 if I ordered with Roku, 2 with iTunes, 3 with Google Play, etc. I didn’t remember how I signed up.
“Can I ask you why you are canceling?” asked the rep.
“I pay too much money monthly and am cutting back.”