I've been using audible.com for a few months now. It's nice being able to download NPR programs to my iPod and listen to them later. But recently I've not been using it much and decided I ought to cancel my subscription rather than spending money for a service I really don't use enough. I figured I might sign up again someday.

I poked around on their web site and couldn't find a way to cancel my monthly membership (and the associated charge to my credit card). So I e-mailed to ask how I can cancel on-line.

You can't.

We have received your request to cancel your AudibleListener membership and are prepared to do so. For the safety of our customers, it is our policy that we get positive confirmation of the identity of our customer before performing service requests that involve a change in the financial status of an account.

What bullshit! They have no problem at all allowing me to increase my charges by using their web site. I can add subscriptions, purchase book recordings, and even MP3 players.

But now I want to send them less money per month and they suddenly start caring about "a change in the financial status of an account."

I'm now on hold waiting to speak with a human.

Screw you, audible.com. You've lost a customer for life.

Posted by jzawodn at March 25, 2003 10:57 AM

Reader Comments
# pete said:

I also got the "you can't cancel your service online" from my old ISP recently. They should just say "It is our policy to make it difficult for you stop receiving a bill from us"

But I doubt that's gonna happen...

on March 25, 2003 11:43 AM
# Andrew said:

RealNetworks does the same thing. Reducing or cancelling your RealPlayer subscription require a phone call. It's easy to upgrade or create an account, however.

on March 25, 2003 12:19 PM
# Charlie said:

Yahoo is NO BETTER!!!

I used to subscribe to yahoo's realtime quote system, and it was equally difficult to cancel that service. Thus I'll probably never pay for another Yahoo service again.

PS. I had my CC company change my card number to cancel the service.

on March 25, 2003 12:51 PM
# Barry said:

Same story with netflix. those greedy kids attempted to charge me for a dvd at one point that had fallen behind my entertainment center for about 2 months. so much for 'keep it as long as you like.'

i had to call and pester someone until they let me unsubscribe. in the end, i changed my cc # to prevent them from charging it again. what a pain

on March 25, 2003 01:09 PM
# Arcterex said:

But doing that would be bad business, and in these troubled times, allowing people to not send their money to [company] is just bad business!

Not that I'm bitter about similar experiences of course :)

BTW, good luck on hold.... I can probably get a pizza delivered by dogsled from up here in .ca before you talk to a human.

on March 25, 2003 01:19 PM
# Steve said:

I've actually called my credit card company & reported my CC stolen so all the rediculous companies I've had to deal with will end up begging me to sign up again instead of wasting my time with them. It worked!

And it's a good way to re-evaluate all the crap you've signed up for in the past.

on March 25, 2003 01:27 PM
# Tim Conrad said:

Yet more proof that identity theft pays. Well, to everyone except the person's identity that gets stolen.

When you charge something, there's automatically insurance by the credit card company placed on the transaction. So, companies can easily use your credit card, and if it's a fradulent transaction, it's probably a write-off as a loss for the company doing the transaction, the credit card company puts it into the 'insurance' stock, which they then pass the savings onto you.

Which is exactly why no one is doing anything to prevent identity theft that is going to actually work. Everyone is actually making money on the process.

Of course, however, had someone removed you from your audible.com account, I'm sure you would have called and been quite irate about it. Although, I'm not quite sure why someone would do this. Heck, it'd be nice if someone DID do this to me.

Also, why the hell can't these services automatically remove you because you don't use your account anymore? While I was waiting to get my DSL installed, I was using an AOL free account. I hadn't logged in basically since i got dsl, and had forgotten completely about it.

on March 26, 2003 11:42 PM
# LB said:

I am glad I found this. I somehow inadvertently signed up and now I am being charged a monthly rate, I don't even have a user name or password. I was just trying to buy my wife a new player because she dropped hers in the sea. Now I am getting charged 14.95 / month. Two months now.

I would love to cancel but everytime I call I get put on hold for hours. Living in Hawaii doesn't help with the 8-5 EST hours they keep.

I don'r think I am satisfied either, I can't even tell.....

on October 4, 2004 10:37 PM
# rawb said:

Audible.com charges you $20 and then you have one month to pick & download two books. If you don't do it in time, you lose the credits and they charge you another $20. I didn't download anything all summer (too busy sailing) and I lost 6 credits. I had no clue. They did restore the credits (a one-time courtesy) but when I spent the time to get my backlog of books, found that 75% of the titles I wanted are not available. I picked from what was there and then tried to cancel the service -- couldn't figure out how. Ended up having to call. It's too bad -- this could be a great service if it didn't carry these nasty little tricks along with it.

on October 15, 2004 07:59 AM
# dennis said:

Hmmm. I'm not sure what the problem is. I joined audible on a trail membership for two weeks that gave me two free audiobooks. Once I got my audiobooks I decided to go ahead and cancel. I looked around a bit to make sure that I would still be able to listen to my downloads once I cancelled and once I felt comfortable that I would, I went to my account on audible and clicked on the prominent link on the middle right hand side of the page that says "Cancel My Account". Once I clicked on it they asked me a couple of questions and tried to give me a "special offer" of 12 books for 110 dollars (really, I'm quitting because of the money, do they really think offering me the chance to spend more is really going to get me to stay?). Once I said no to the offer and no to the hiatus, I was cancelled. It was really pretty easy. Maybe I'm missing something? Have they changed the process? Was it easy because I was in the temporary membership?

on May 11, 2005 10:11 AM
# Tom said:

This is why subscription services should be avoided. The iTunes Music Store doesn't charge a membership fee, and will opt you out of their mailing lists when asked, unlike Audible. Ask them to unsubscribe you and they never will. They will just keep marketing to you, wasting their money, even though it would be like getting blood from a stone.

Here are some email addresses for those a-holes:

dkatz@audible.com - CEO
jkorzen@audible.com - Director, Public Relations

Mail them late, mail them often

on October 11, 2005 08:25 AM
# jj said:

i signed up and got 2 free books and 2 books for the first month, and cancelled without a problem. Then I liked the books so much I went back for the deal where you pay 120 bucks one-time for 12 books. That is not a bad deal. When I originally signed on and downloaded the software, it was a pain and there were some issues but once I got started there weren't problems. I'm glad I didn't see all these rants or I might never have signed up!

on November 2, 2005 02:55 PM
# Don said:

Really. I just don't get it. I've been an Audible member for years and love the service. They've been very helpful on the rare times I've needed help and do really cool things like let you re-commit for another year and get the new customer incentives. Hardly anyone does that!

on November 2, 2005 07:10 PM
# Dale said:

Nothing odd about this practice. Forcing you to talk to a human being allows them to try to deter you from quitting or else offer you an incentive to stay.
I've been down this road with RealPlayer (actually NASCAR) and gotten 6 months free, after which I had to call again to quit. With Netflix it was to try to convince me to stay but they offered nothing so I quit (because they had raised the postage rates to the point where it was no longer financially attractive).
With Audible, I have coasted along. They keep coming along with "newer and better" plans but they all cost significantly more than I am currently paying. If they raise the base plan I'm gone so I don't care. Meanwhile I get the most expensive books and pay $16.95 for two each month.
The new plan that allows two books and rollover of up to six books costs $22.95. It isn't worth $6 a month to be able to roll over my selections since I generally keep about six books on my wish list at any one time so if there is nothing new for a month I still can make my two selections. I've never lost any selections due to expiration of selection so paying $72 a year for the ability to roll over is just plain dumb to me. They throw in the Wall Street Journal and NY Times, neither of which I read. If I want to see something in either of these papers, there are about 100 Internet sites that link to them. So the roll over is a bomb as far as I am concerned, since a Gold membership is $14.95 and only gives you ONE book a month. For two more bucks I get two books.

on January 11, 2006 08:03 PM
# Sara said:

My own fault for not scrutinizing my credit card bills, but I just realized that audible.com has been charging me $21.95 for a subscription that I thought I had cancelled. I tried to cancel it, but they pulled "an AOL" and put my account on hold for a few months, only to start charging my credit card again without telling me. Very very shady.

on January 19, 2006 07:57 PM
# Boeky said:

Having visited Audible.com a few times, it looked reputable enough to warrant membership.

Prior to joining, I observed a book I was interested in reading. Counting the discount, it appeared reasonable to join. Once I joined, and logged in, I could not locate the book i was interested in (it only existed in the non-member area)! Then, when I tried to purchase the book as a non-member the whole confirmation/checkout procedure took way too long (and effectively could not process). Both these aspects of an online outlet are unacceptable.

In addition to the above, the whole website/browsing experience is so slow that it is annoying. With Firefox (my choice of browser) it is even slower. I could only imagine how long it would take to download an entire book.
As a consequence, I have cancelled my membership. It does mention *You may cancel within the first 30 days, provided no credits or membership discounts have been used. Thereafter, membership fee is non-refundable. And as i havent used any credits or membership discounts, it will be interesting if they credit my bank account.

on March 6, 2006 05:58 AM
# Jesse Langanki said:

Simple solution is to generate a virtual credit card number and set this to your billing account. Once Audible confirms the credit card then close the virtual account number and any attempt to charge something to it will fail.

on April 25, 2006 10:59 PM
# Stan Bush said:

I ran across your blog while doing a search for "Audble Sucks". Yours was one of the 369,000 results.
My situation is pretty much the same as most, except that I have 5 credits...and am attempting to cancel. Which means I lose those credits if I cancel.
As far as help from them goes....I've never resolved anything using their support.
Apparently they are a close knit company, hiring mostly relatives. They have some sort of rule about having to marry cousins too. At least that's what I think.

on June 12, 2006 01:41 PM
# Kristen said:

Weird. I just signed up for the 14 day trial with 3 free credits. I downloaded everything and then immediately cancelled it with no problems at all. I had to answer 4 questions...
1. Why are you leaving
2. How likely are you to return
3. Will you recommend this to others
4. I can't remember what this one was

I immediately got a confirmation number and an email confirmation of cancellation right after.
I don't know why everyone else is having a problem.

on July 5, 2006 06:34 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Maybe, just maybe, a few things have changed in the 3 *years* sinc I first wrote this?

on July 6, 2006 04:01 PM
# Amy said:

I would love to talk to the people who posted that they loved Audible. I find it very, very bad business to charge a monthly fee to get "credits" that then disappear with no warning! I was never told that they go away if you don't use them each month, and for the life of me i can't find anything on their site that explains that the credits are forfeited. I too had great difficulty trying to cancel, and ended up just "suspending" the account. Well, the suspension is up, but so is the year... and magically a cancelation option has appeared when i access my online account status. Coincidence? I don't think so. I would cancel right now except that I am intrigued by those who said they got some of their credits back... when I call customer service I never can get through. I'm not on hold, i'm just treated to endless silence. Frustrating!

on July 12, 2006 06:12 PM
# Laurie Bergren said:

I just spent an HOUR in the Audible online help and then finally called their help line. I wanted to know how to unsubscribe from a FREE podcast that I get through Audible but never listen to! Guess what? You can't do this yourself - you need human intervention from one of their (so-called) tech support people. I won't go into the details, but it was painful. Just absurd. That, and the interminable download times, and the rollover credit issue, and (above all) the fact that EVERYTHING I subscribe to in Audible shows up under the same heading in iTunes ... I am SO OUT OF THERE, and willing to change my CC# to ensure that it happens.

By the way, anybody know how to email the CEO???

on September 23, 2006 03:43 PM
# May C said:

Being someone who have been an Audible subscriber (off and on) for years, I can understand both the frustration and the appeal of the service (and I am also an affiliate).

I enjoy Audible for the daily subscription to the Wall Street Journal that I'm subscribed to. I know about their cancellation policy. I remembered that when I first signed up in 2003 that it was quite easy to cancel the subscription. It could be easily done online. Just like one of the previous comments, you were asked a few online questions and they try to keep you to stay with an offer. But you can cancel online.

The last time I tried to cancel something, I found out that online cancelation option was no longer available and I had to call someone. I believe I was on hold for a bit but they were willing to allow me to cancel.

Most times when I make a mistake on the account, I simply need to send a contact form and within a day, they'll reply back and usually they can reverse the charges or whatever.

The program sometimes doesn't work, especially when I try to transfer a file over from the Audible Manager to the Palm, but I normally re-start the Audible Manager and it will work the second time.

It's not a perfect service but it's okay.

As for the unused credit issue, I believe that that is mentioned somewhere in the FAQ or questions part of their support area. They will allow a one time reversal. It's too bad that too many people forget to use their monthly credit.

At one time, they did offer a special package where you pay upfront for 12 credits and have up to 2 years to use it up, which may have appealed to some people. I'm not sure if they still have it anymore.

Like many services, it's not perfect and not without problems, but it's not that bad.

on November 12, 2006 11:08 PM
# e said:

they don't do what they say they'll do anyway, so don't bother. i was told i could use my three credits at any time as i had already bought them but, when i canceled recently due to incredibly poor customer support, magically the three credits i had already paid for are now gone. now i ask you, if i had not been told i could still use them, would i not have used them BEFORE i canceled due to their incredible lack of service? do no go there, they are beyond belief and now they have stolen my money as well.

on November 14, 2006 10:43 PM
# barbi said:

Just report your credit card lost. You will get a new number and audible will be screwed and contacting you....

on January 14, 2007 07:40 AM
# Andy Kazeniac said:

Looks like you aren't the only one leaving audible lately. A post on the Compete.com blog today shows the decrease in traffic to the site as well as the drop in their stock price. It's worth a look (and gloat)... http://blog.compete.com/2007/01/17/audible/

on January 17, 2007 10:21 AM
# Alex said:

Just thought that you can check out other audio book web sites like http://www.millionaudiobook.com, where by no subscription is required and you are able to purchase only the audio books that you want.

on January 18, 2007 10:53 PM
# LisaS. said:

I would like to thank everyone. I was "thrown into" audibles.com from amazon in looking at a book download. I had problems with other services and decided to look & see if anyone was happy/upset, etc. You have all helped me make the decision NOT to join. And kudos to the change CC number. Hadn't thought of that before. Yes, netflix was my headache before.

on February 21, 2007 05:09 PM
# DonM said:

I had my account hacked twice within 30 days. The first time the hacker changed my password, and I was notified immediately via email. I called and notified the customer service people, and they removed the three books someone else used my credits to buy, and reset my password.
Less than three weeks later, someone did it again, this time they didn't change my password, but they did get two more books, and within 36 hours my credit card was used to make two small charges (what I call test charges) in two different states within 3 minutes of each other. I canceled my credit card and had a new one mailed out immediately.
When I finally received a call back from the website manager, all he was interested in was arguing that my credit card number could not have been stolen from the website, not that the account had been hacked twice within 30 days. They would let me open a new account, but they couldn't transfer my purchases. They can remove purchases, so they could transfer them, if they wanted to.
It is a shame Audible just doesn't understand customer service.

on December 29, 2007 06:42 PM
# DonM said:

If you are still using Audible.com and have paid for any books by the author James Patterson, forget downloading them again. They have been removed. Apparently, James Patterson has wisely removed his books from their database. This is a problem, since Audible's contract with its users specifies that once you purchase a book, it will remain in your download library for as long as they remain in business for you to download whenever you wish.

on January 27, 2008 06:31 AM
# Joe said:

If you have James Patterson books you have bought you can still download them, they are in your online library and I just redownloaded one to check.

on February 13, 2008 12:14 PM
# Chris said:

I am trying to cancel and I get a message that says that I have to call them. I try to call them but the international phone number is not in use. So I try to use their email-based customer support, but I get the following:

Need to Cancel Your Audible Membership?
We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but the email option is no longer available.
We want to provide you with the best possible customer experience, even if you decide to cancel your membership.
You may either contact us via our toll-free number or cancel your membership online at Make Changes To My Membership ***.

So there is no way to cancel! What a scam!

on July 15, 2008 12:50 PM
# Julznova said:

I Live in New Zealand and Ive tried canceling my audible account online and via email which as we all know doesn't work, I DO NOT want to spend MY money calling audible up from New Zealand to cancel my account. This is bullshit! Ive lost a bit of respect for Leo Laporte over this!

on August 25, 2008 09:15 PM
# Lucille said:

I am SO glad I found this blog! I was just about to sign up for audible.com and thought I had better check to see if anyone had problems cancelling. Thanks for sharing your experience. They won't be getting my business. Looks like I'll be sticking to whatever is free online.

If you like radio documentaries, BBC has some good ones. Also Soundprint and PRX.

Thanks for saving me from audible.com headaches!

on October 17, 2008 02:48 PM
# said:

Had the exact same experience recently.

It's just a cheap ploy to increase their revenues. So, as childish as it may seem, I am determined to cancel without calling them. Perhaps they will change their policy if it becomes too costly for them. Just wishful thinking, I'm sure, but what the heck. :)

on October 21, 2008 09:13 PM
# said:

Follow-up to earlier post...

I went to the Audible site last night, just after posting the above, and used their customer service form to request a cancellation. I had to use a different category, because choosing 'Cancellation' as the category results in a message saying that a phone call is required. Instead, I just used a generic category of Account Issues->Billing->Billing Error. I got a response this AM, and, while I still have an account on their site, I no longer appear to be subscribed to a service plan.

on October 22, 2008 09:48 AM
# said:

I was billed a fee from Audible last month. It really took me by surprise because I have never been to their site and have never listened to a book in my life. I called them to inquire how they got my credit card information and they wanted me to give them my card accout number. I would not give it to them because I have no idea of which card they used and why would I give them another way to steel from me. I only have two cards. They could not give me the help I wanted unless I disclosed my personal info to them first. What do I do now?

on January 15, 2009 08:48 AM
# Sherri said:

SIX years after your original post, and they're still pulling the same bullshit. After consulting their help section, I find this gem:

"For your convenience, Audible offers the ability to cancel online.

Note: If you have previously attempted to cancel your membership online, you will not see the link to do so again. Please contact customer service at the number above, so that we can assist you."

Well, that's not very damn convenient then, is it? I cancelled my account several years ago, and rejoined last year, so I no longer have the ability to cancel my account online? Just fantastic.

Audible is not worth the aggravation.

on May 30, 2009 10:17 AM
# Smart and Satisfied Customer said:

First of all, let's get some things straight. If you are going to whine about something make sure you have the facts straight. I've been an Audible member for 8 years and never had a problem.

I enrolled with a free trial offer. Guess what? Any free trial offer requires you to give your credit card information .Audible is no exception. Look at Itunes, Emusic, Netflix, etc. The list goes on.

Second, every time I call if I have an issue a well informed customer representative helps me and the longest I had to wait was 5 minutes. Seriously that's unheard of!

Third. Of course you can keep taking advantage of a promotion when you have already. Let's think about this. Would you like to own a business that keeps getting people free stuff. You wouldn't have a business.

Finally, everyone grow up and understand ecommerce before doing anything on the internet. If not simply don't do it.

PS. READ THE LICENSE AGREEMENT. It states everything you are bitching about. You did it to yourself.

on November 12, 2009 07:59 AM
# Leann said:

I just cancelled my membership, finally, and it was very easy. I had tried to cancel it before but they lured me back with offers of freebees and I was caught. What annoys me is that when I went to cancel a few months later, the "cancel" button was gone and I had to call a number. Before the poor, unsuspecting person answered the phone I was already irate as I felt I had been duped! How dare they take the cancel option away from me?? I was very rude to the person on the phone and refused to answer the survey. He casually informed me that he was going to take my 2 credits away (that I paid for) and I angrily told him that I was reporting him to the BBB. Take away something I've paid for?? Maybe that IS in the license agreement but it's bad business no matter how you look at it. I was unnecessarily rude (they are just trying to make money like the rest of us) but I will not go back to Audible nor will I ever recommend it.

on May 14, 2010 03:46 PM
# s said:

I am on their mailing list and can't even get it to unsubscribe me despite it having a straight forward looking 'to unsubscribe click here' button. Perhaps I am doing something wrong - but I managed to unsubsribe from all the other spam I was getting ok. They could make it easy, but choose not to. Judging by what I have read above, clingyness is the company policy. Thank god I didn't give them my credit card details!

on June 1, 2010 12:48 PM
# Timur Hassan said:

I signed up to audible after finding a particular book that I wanted. After signing up I couldn't download it because it's unavailable to Australians.

So I went back to the website and tried to find a way I could have known that the book is unavailable to me BEFORE signing up. There wasn't one.

I contacted audible about this, they didn't care.

Am I exaggerating when I call this fraud?

This would have been in 2007, I don't know if things have changed now.

on June 24, 2010 08:16 AM
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