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News Corp. makes it so difficult to cancel a subscription to The Australian that some are bound to give up

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for a digital subscription to The Australian because there was a story I wanted to read and I figured $4.00 was okay since I could cancel.

Two days ago I decided to cancel, before the end of the initial $4 period offer. I figured I’d go to the New Corp. website for The Australian, login to my account, click cancel, and be done. No, not so easy. In fact, it was hard, messy and slow, close to impossible.

News Corp puts up a ton of barriers on The Australian website, demonstrating a clear disinterest in even basic customer service.

I went to my account on their website, clicked manage my subscription, clicked cancel and the website provided a phone number. I thought that’s odd, I must be able to cancel without speaking to anyone. Anyway, I clicked chat, and here’s how that went.

So, I called, navigated their phone system, and eventually got to speak with someone. They were courteous, but not keen for me to go. I had to repeat I want to cancel several times before they agreed to take that step for me – but not before they wanted to know why I wanted to cancel and not before they pitched an offer for me to stay, two weeks free I think.

That phone call took between 5 and 7 minutes, all for a subscription that is cents a day. I wondered how many people would stay with the company going through that. It must be enough for them to have this commercial business model of barriers in place making it so hard and time consuming and threatening almost to cancel.

My customer experience with News Corp was frustrating, time consuming, off-putting. While the person I spoke to was courteous, it should not take me asking multiple times to cancel. The experience was bad enough that I won’t sign up again, even if I am desperate to read an article. Cancelling took too long, their obsession with wanting to know why even though I said it was none of their business was rude, confronting.

I get that I am not a natural News Corp customer – I think they negatively impact our democracy given the political lobbying campaigns they run dressed up as news under their mastheads – but I was a customer for a brief while and the process of ending that was appalling, so much so that I want to tell others considering subscribing with News Corp – don’t as they make it way to hard to leave them … appalling customer service.

The thing about online is that people was a frictionless experience, smooth, enjoyable. The News Corp experience was anything but. For a company that shouts everyday at some politicians and everyday people – telling us what to think, how to behave, they could do well to focus inwards and yell at themselves. Their online house needs to be improved.

On a scale of 0 to 5 rating the News Corp online subscription cancellation experience where 0 is appalling and 5 is excellent, I’d give it a .5 – primarily because the website did not crash at least and their phone system did not auto hang up on me.


Join the discussion

  1. Russell

    Our counter sales have increased immensely due to the very poor standards of News Corps’ delivery service, call centre and online operations. Not to mention the quality of the Courier Mail. In comparison to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, the C/Mail has up to 15 less pages printed each day with 6-7 more sport pages. Sign of the times coming for the C/Mail.


  2. C. Paul Baeeira

    Perhaps one part of the problem is that News Corp has no means by which one can “buy” a digital copy of a single article. That would be useful when most of their paper (The Australian, say) is so awful.


  3. Mark Fletcher

    I agree and have written here before about the single article purchase opportunity. I think publishers miss out on revenue by trying to lock people in long-term. I also like the idea of being able to purchase based on area of interest.


  4. Gabriel

    When I subscribed through the newsagent it was easy, never an issue. Then News took it over and papers were missed so I wanted to cancel. Do you think they would let me? No. It was awful, a horrible process just like described here. Dreadful service.


  5. Jeff

    News Corp. took what was a beloved genuinely local service and moved it to capital city offices, where they screwed it up, and then screwed it up some more and now, the process of subscribing and unsubscribing is as awful as the junk this company prints. Good luck to them.


  6. Susan Joyce

    My husband subscribed to read ONE article online in The Australian that he wanted to read. It said they will not charge your credit card if you unsubscribe within a certain period. He did that but they began to charge the credit card. He has attempted to unsubscribed so many times yet keeps getting charged $40 a month. We live overseas and it is not possible to call a 1-300 or a 1-800 number from here. When we call the switchboard the recorded message asks you to select a number according to your query but it doesn’t work and the recording just keeps repeating over and over. It never gets diverted to an operator and no one answers the phone. This is criminal. They should be forced to pay back all the money they have debited our account since we UNSUBSCRIBED.


    • Philippa

      Same here. Still being billed and I am calling locally…I can’t imagine how frustrating for you overseas. A couple of months ago I went through the phone number provided and was surprised by how polite they were about the whole thing. No hard sell. I thought I had cancelled. Yet here we are 2 months later, still being billed – I let the first month slide as I thought maybe it was billed in arrears, but now pretty suspicious that this is part of the process. I signed up during the height of Covid as we were back and forth to South Australia from NSW to visit family. It was handy to have access to local news. Now borders are open freely we don’t need it. Never again will I sign up!


  7. Giovanni Spinau

    I have had same experience through racenet.I ASKED PAYPAL to stop paying news media.My account ceased immediately even though I had paid for next month.News I’ll be asking for refund


  8. Debra Turner

    I was making payments via PayPal. It was a simple 2-click process for them to cancel all ongoing payments scheduled. That’s one subscription I feel lucky to be rid of. If you want to retain customers, provide decent customer service!


  9. Sondra

    I want to cancel subscription please


  10. Mark Fletcher

    Sondra you’ll need to contact the publisher.


  11. Bradnam Janice

    I have been subscribing to the Australian for 18 months longer than I wanted to as I simply can’t find a way to cancel. Will stopping the credit card work?


  12. Mark Fletcher

    The only way I could find was to call them, and it was a frustrating call as they did not want me to cancel. But, yes, cancelling the credit card would work I think.


  13. Peter R

    From what is said here News’ behavior borders on scamming behavior.


  14. Anthony J Selley

    Having gone through the frustrating situation of being overseas and unable to cancel on a toll-free number, and having decided to just wait until I was back in Australia, the advice above about Paypal was a godsend, it took more than 2 clicks, but no more than a minute and next month I can look forward to messages from News Corp saying that my payment failed.


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