The Times Online Paywall: How To Cancel Subscriptions

Last year, The Times & The Sunday Times introduced a paywall.

Buried in the small print is a nasty surprise. You can’t cancel your subscription without six business days between your request and the rebill.

That means eight full days notice in a typical week in order to cancel a 30 day subscription.

Not good enough.

When I tried to cancel my Times Plus subscription, the customer service rep told me I had to pay for another month first. Au contraire – more on that in a moment.

Missed what you agreed to? That’ll be because the clause in question is buried five pages deep in their 8,000+ words of terms and conditions.

Nowhere on Times Plus could I find any mention of updating billing/cancellations etc.

How to Cancel Times Plus

The good news is that The Times use the Direct Debit scheme to handle subscription payments.

Direct Debits are regulated and covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee.

In short: you can cancel any time by contacting your bank, and they are obliged to help you sort the mess out – even if The Times refuse to help.

So to avoid the rebill, just call your bank & request that the Direct Debit is cancelled their end.

They may ask you to contact the Times first, but if you explain the issue they are able to cancel without their agreement.

Here’s What The Times Say…

Dear Richard,

Thank you for your email. Once you have an active subscription, simply email us and let us know you wish to cancel the direct debit and we will action this for you.

However, please note we will only cancel the next direct debit if there is a gap of 6 Business days between request to cancel and request for next payment. If the next payment due is WITHIN 6 Business days, then we can only cancel the direct debit after the next payment has been taken.

This is as per our Terms and Conditions:

27.4 To cancel your subscription you must either email us at or write to us at Customer Liaison, News International Limited, I Virginia Street, London, E98 1RL. You may cancel your subscription or registration at any time however except as specified in clause 27.3 above:
a) no refunds will be made in respect of your subscription or registration payments; and
b) payment of your next monthly subscription or registration payment shall be taken and not refunded where we receive your notice of cancellation less than six Business Days prior to the due date of payment of that monthly subscription or registration payment.

These can be found by clicking on the following link:

Kind Regards

John Gill
Times+ Customer Services

  • Simon says:

    5 pages into an 8,000 word T&Cs, seems entirely reasonable to me 😉

  • Alex says:

    Scam like all media, but there is a way to cheat them back: call your bank and say your CC is stolen. They’ll reissue it for you with new number.

  • George says:

    I’ve tried to cancel my digital subscription 3 times with no avail, I email the address they give me, but get no reply. When I call up they just say ‘we need the cancellation in writing’.

    It seems like this is one massive joke, a joke which scams you out of money.

    The only way it seems is to cancel your direct debit, or in extreme cases cancel your card entirely. Absolutely disgusted with timesplus, STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS.

  • Mike morrison says:

    Does not work on iPad in s Spain after 2 tries so cancelled at bank by stopping direct debit as they do not reply to email

    Theynreallynhave the problem most bullies have I. That they are too big and powerful and edge the small people out by obfuscation and poor communication….news media. Well ‘,,,,,,,,!

  • Elaine Cameron says:

    I am shocked. This is a scandal that hasn’t been sufficiently highlighted.
    Have emailed helpdesk but got this reply.

    “To cancel your DIGITAL subscription you must call 0800 092 4054 (for overseas customers call 0044 151 225 1101) at least SIX business days before your next payment is due.
    Opening hours: 0900-1800 Mon-Fri & 1000-1600 Sat-Sun.”

    Now with Xmas holidays they are closed a lot of the time as well… Disgraceful.

  • Hilary Draper says:

    I have tried 3 times now to cancel my Times plus subscription, once by phone, when I was told that I couldn’t cancel until January of this year, and 3 or 4 times by email, to their subscriptions department and to their customer services department, so far no response at all which is pretty rich coming from a paper with The Times’ own image of a consumer champion! I have cancelled my direct debit in the hope that it may provoke a response … overall not a very good experience…

  • Andrew Cole says:

    I have a Times+ subscription both for paywall access and the discount on the print edition.

    My subscription vouchers ran out 02/01, I alerted Customer Services between Xmas and New Year that the next voucher book had not arrived and they promised “immediate replacement”. Despite numerous e-mails I have received no further supply or reply.

    On 11/01 Times Newspapers extracted a further direct debit payment.

    Their Customer Services is clearly useless, the Help Desk (e-mail) have never replied and neither has Troubleshooter.

  • John Parker says:

    I can’t even get their email contact address to open properly! I just go round a loop?

    They emailed me saying they are taking two subs out of Feb as they didn’t take January- what’s that about. – I shall have to ring direct and as I live in France may be tricky- or ring my bank (equally problematic) to cancel the direct debit.

  • charles says:

    Me too, I have tried several times unsuccessfully to cancel my subscription . No answer at all!

  • Joe C says:

    Seems they updated their terms and conditions in June 2011 – removing the option to write or email cancellation:

    27.4 To cancel your subscription you must call us on 0800 092 4054. You may cancel your subscription or registration at any time however except as specified in clause 27.3 above:

    a) no refunds will be made in respect of your subscription or registration payments; and
    b) payment of your next monthly subscription or registration payment shall be taken and not refunded where we receive your notice of cancellation less than six Business Days prior to the due date of payment of that monthly subscription or registration payment.

  • Sophie says:

    I am having similar problems. I ordered the Sunday pack on the 20th March, thinking that I was getting full website access. I discovered that I wasn’t so called today (28th) to swap packages. They won’t as it’s over 7 days, despite the fact that THEIR OWN T&Cs state 7 business days. They are opening an internal complaint for me and I’ve quoted the Consumer Protection Distance Selling Regs too (7 working days from the day after you get your product). I don’t hold out much hope but I shall keep you all updated.

  • Guy Consitt says:

    I took the 3 month trial to the Sunday Times in October’11. Missed the date to cancel, and now find I’m locked into a 12 month contract. The earliest date I can request cancel my subscription is October 14 2012, giving 3 months notice! So I’m paying £78 for something I don’t like, need or want.

  • Stuart Smith says:

    I signed up for 6 day (Mon-Sat) subscription, after 6 months I decided to cancel. Told I cannot cancel until August. Stopped delivery at my newsagent and changed to Daily “I” and now vouchers pay for morning paper,evening paper and delivery.

  • Kathy Codling says:

    I took out a 1 month £1 trial. I tried to cancel via the website on the day before my trial finished, but couldn’t log in so emailed my request to cancel. Just looked at my bank account and they’ve taken £8 by dd. Received an email shortly after saying if I would like to cancel please call this number 0800 etc. Spoke to cancellations who say my T&C’s state I am now signed up for 12 MONTHS because I didn’t cancel by phoning their number as required (couldn’t see this when I looked). So although I attempted to cancel before my month was up they’ve signed me up anyway. They have just escalated my call to their complaints department. I think this is outrageous. I feel a Watchdog moment coming on. Whatever you do, don’t take up their £1 trial offer.

  • Fern says:

    I too have been locked into the twelve month contract and the earliest I can consider cancellation is October – to give three months notice for cancellation in January. I can’t believe a company like the Times are indulging in what can only be described as a scam. This is most certainly Watchdog worthy, and something needs to be done. I have cancelled my direct debit, now we wait…

  • Paul says:

    I feel i need to give the other side of the story, as i work for The Times.
    If you sign up to any package online then you are prompted to read and accept the terms and conditions. If you do so, you will see that all subscriptions are available under an initial trial period which then automatically renew into a 52 week contract unless cancelled. it also states a telephone call is neccessary to cancel.
    If you sign up via the telephone with an advisor, then you are read the terms and conditions while on the line.
    In addition to this you are also sent a welcome pack which contain the terms and conditions for which you have already agreed to, if these terms and conditions are not acceptable then you have your 7 day cooling off period covers you for any such change of mind. In relation to the above person stating the 7 working day cooling off period, our offices are open 7 days a week, hence the weekends count as part of your 7 days.
    I clearly advise all our customers to read the terms and conditions signing up without doing so is just plain silly!!

  • Jim Rea says:

    To be fair, most of the comments posted seem to be the result of a lack of attention to detail. When you go to subscribe to the Times via their website, the first paragraph of the terms and conditions states the following:

    “Introductory offer up to three months may apply (see selected pack for details), at the end of which customers will automatically renew onto a minimum 52 week contract at the full pack price. Customers wishing to cancel during the introductory period must do so at least seven days before the end of that period. Introductory offer not available to existing subscribers. Customers without a stated introductory offer period will start the minimum 52 week contract period immediately. At the end of the minimum 52 week contract period customers will automatically renew their subscription on the same terms and conditions on a month to month basis for succeeding one month periods unless cancelled in accordance with these terms.”

    It’s not exactly rocket science is it? Seems pretty clear to me! 52 weeks, it’s fairly obvious what the minimum contract length is – and hardly what you would describe as fraudulent or a scam!

  • Rachael says:

    Same experience. Missed the cancellation date, locked into 12-month contract. The signup page itself says nothing about the minimum term. On my browser, I had to page through their T&Cs for *14 screens* before I reached that bit. Watchdog, perhaps, or Grauniad consumer champions..? Smacks of intent to deceive. And I seem to be signed up for “continuous payment” rather than DD so at present am struggling to cancel at the bank end too. Disgusting.

  • Thomas Chan says:

    I took out a 7 day subscription in March 2012. After 3 months I found a lot of the news repetitive and boring. When I tried to cancel last week I was told that my earliest cancellation is March 2013 because I missed the window. It is unbelieveable that a company like The Times would employ scam like this to tray people into a subscription, which they don’t enjoy. Definitely going to esacalate this to Watchdog as something needs to be done to protect the customers.

  • Andrew King says:

    Yes I’ve got locked into exactly the same thing as previous writers. I cancelled the day after I subscribed but they claimed not to have a record of it. I’ve just sent them another email copying in all the previous ones. When i phoned for the second time I received exactly the same spiel as Kathy Codling. I agree completely with the sentiments expressed by other writers on this site.

  • Peter says:

    I’ve been on trial subscriptions on everything possible (gyms, magazines, DVD rentals etc.) but never have I been conned like this.
    The information about the 52 weeks minimum period is in too small font to read.
    This is a disgrace. Shame on you The Times. I will be tweeting about this.

  • Edward Lucas says:

    My book of vouchers was due to start 3 September. Rang them on 29 August to say they haven’t arrived. Told to wait until Saturday rang again, told they cannot do anything until they are at least 3 days late Rang again on 6th September and told they were being reprinted. Still had not arrived by 11 September ! Rang again and told I needed to allow until Friday. A full 11 days after they were due to start. Witten two emails and received no response. Customer service appalling.

  • Ayman says:

    After several trials to unsubscribe, I had only one final option which was canceling my credit card. It worked.
    Please guys stay away of them 

  • G Comerford says:

    Anybody else found a way out of the 12 month subscription lock in? I trialled for 3 months, hadn’t fully decided whether to stay on or not so did for another month or so, now I’ve decided it isn’t worth the £17/month and can’t get out.

    Anybody had any success that hasn’t led to a thrashed credit history?

  • Wandile Nofemela says:

    Good day

    I hereby wish to cancel my subscription due to non delivery, complaining does not help. It has become a burden for me that i pay for the service that i never received, despite numerous complaints.

    My cell number 0766692901 and those sms apologize neither do they bring solution to the continuous problem.


    Your immediate action on the matter is highly appreciated

    W. Nofemela

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