Trouble cancelling Microsoft 365 trial? Try this ...

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Too many people report problems cancelling Microsoft 365 trial subscription.  Here’s the steps to stopping the trial and what to do if cancelling doesn’t work properly.

Microsoft has offered a free one-month trial of Office for a long time and for all that time there have been problems.  People try to cancel before the end of the trial and still get charged.  COVID-19 has only increased those problems because contacting Microsoft Support has become a LOT more difficult.

This advice applies more generally to any online trial subscription or plan from any company.

Any company with a trial plan has a strategy of making it hard to drop out of the test period and let them start charging the customer.  This isn’t unique to Microsoft. 

Don’t go over the trial period

Even if you use Office for just a day over the trial period, Microsoft will start charging you.

Be very clear about the end date of the trial.

Also be clear about which Microsoft account you’ve used to register for the Microsoft 365 trial.  Many of us have more than one Microsoft account (including Outlook.com, Hotmail etc).

There is a 30 day refund period after a Microsoft 365 plan starts.  However it’s better not to rely on that and firmly cancel before the trial month ends. Getting a refund of money paid is difficult and it’s a lot easier to stop that charge happening.

Continuing with Microsoft 365?

If you’re continuing to use Microsoft 365 after the trial, do NOT let Microsoft charge you automatically.  They will charge full retail price and it might not be the Microsoft 365 plan you want.

Before the trial ends:

  • Decide which Microsoft 365 plan you want.  Personal (one person) or Family (six people)
  • Check online retailers and buy Microsoft 365 at less than full retail.  Apply that purchase to your account before the end of the trial period. See Microsoft 365 money saving roundup.

How to cancel Microsoft 365 trial

Before cancelling any Microsoft 365 plan, make sure you have a copy of any files/documents saved in OneDrive.  Cancelling will shrink your OneDrive allowance from 1TB to the small 5GB free quota.

We suggest disconnecting and cancelling at least a day before the end of the trial to save any misunderstanding or disagreement later.

Go to Microsoft365.com, login with the same Microsoft account and cancel the Microsoft 365 trial.

Go to Services & Subscriptions | Manage | under Payment Settings look for Cancel subscription.

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There’s a warning page before cancellation is done.  It includes notice of the OneDrive storage used.

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For a Family plan, it will show who is sharing the plan. They will all be disconnected if the shared plan is cancelled.

Finally, there’s a Monthly payment option offered.

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Monthly is a useful short term option but is much more expensive than an annual plan.  Definitely more expensive compared with a discounted annual plan.

Choose ‘Turn off recurring billing’  to cancel Microsoft 365.

You should see a web page confirming the cancelled trial.  Make a copy of that page for future reference.

An email may also arrive confirming the cancellation – keep that as well.

Microsoft has a cancellation help page with a series of questions that will guide you through the process.

Microsoft charges after cancelled trial

Some people report that the cancellation doesn’t work.  Perhaps the online cancel process doesn’t work or maybe Microsoft charges for a subscription despite the cancellation?

Trying to communicate with Microsoft to solve a problem has never been easy.  It’s got worse in 2020 because of staff shortages and other COVID-19 difficulties.

If Microsoft charges for Microsoft 365 after you cancelled the trial before it ended, try contacting Microsoft Support. Use online support starting here.

  • We prefer text chat support over a phone call.  A text chat can and should be saved so you have a record of what you were told, by whom and when.   Phone conversations are too liable to misinterpretation or revisionism.
    • Text chat is also less time consuming.  You can get on with other things while waiting for a support person to become available.
    • The Virtual Help assistant (with automated responses) will be of little use in processing a refund, but it’s the place Microsoft will want you to start.

There’s no email option to contact MS Support.  You can try calling, if you like listening to ‘on hold’ music and not getting a good response even if you get through to someone.

Keep a note of your attempts to contact Microsoft and fix the cancellation problem.  Date, time, method of contact, result etc.  Include in your notes phone calls that left you ‘on hold’ for a long time. All this can be important later.

Be clear about your problem and have your evidence ready.  The Microsoft 365 trial details; MS account used, date started, date you ended it and steps taken to end the trial before expiry.

Even if Microsoft says the Microsoft 365 plan was used after the trial period, remind them that their company policy is to allow refunds for at least 30 days after purchase. 

Be polite but firm.  As we’ve said before, Microsoft is a large soulless, behemoth but you’re dealing with low-level and probably low paid staff with limited authority.  They will be trained and have scripts aimed at getting you to continue with Microsoft 365 or deflect a refund.

Ignore the pre-written insincere phrases and focus on the problem. 

Insist on a full refund of the Microsoft 365 plan charge.  Make it clear that you cancelled the trial and stopped using Microsoft 365 services before the trial period ended.

If Microsoft agrees to process a refund, ask when that refund will be done and a deadline for when it will reach your account.

Companies often give ridiculously long delays for refunds, weeks or more, blaming the ‘banking system’ or their own ‘finance department’.   Most of those excuses are either bogus or deliberate delays.  If a company has wrongly charged you for a service you did not order or use, they are obliged to refund promptly.

In most countries, a credit/debit card refund is done in three business days (at most).  Anything more than that is a delay by the refunding company, not the bank or card processing system.

To be very generous, we give a company 14 days to have the refund in your account.

If all else fails

If the refund doesn’t appear by the deadline OR Microsoft refuses to refund OR you can’t contact Microsoft after reasonable attempts then it’s time for the ‘ultimate option’.

Ask your card issuer for a ‘chargeback’.  It’s the final dispute option when a company has charged for goods not delivered or service not used.

Only use the chargeback option when communicating with the merchant has failed.  The chargeback system is slow and cumbersome for all involved.  It’s very much the last resort.

Your card issuer will have a chargeback process, probably online.  Complete the information including:

  • Your dates for using and ending the Microsoft 365 trial.
  • Detail your attempts to resolve direct with Microsoft. 
    • This is where copies of text chats with Support are very useful.  They prove you’ve made a goodwill effort to fix this with the merchant.

Microsoft 365 money saving roundup

Office 365 money saving traps – if you’re not careful

Two military discounts for Microsoft Office 365

Home Use Program for Microsoft Office 365 – who can get it and how?

 

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