When we talk about how hard it is to cancel SaaS subscriptions, it’s not just a sales tactic. We really mean it. The SaaS industry thrives on making it easy for anyone to trial and buy – and harder to cancel. Whether companies bury restrictive language in their contracts, or hide behind vague terms to keep you from leaving, some practices have become downright predatory. One software VC firm even had to write up the five most unethical sales practices as a reminder to companies in its space. Apparently not everyone plays nice.

Recently Cleanshelf had a run in with a particularly nasty vendor.

Unauthorized credit card charges?


Disappearing customer support?

You bet.

Misrepresented contract terms?

Of course.

Cancellation quandary

So, what happened? Well, one of our company goals is to constantly improve our connection with customers and prospects. To better engage with website visitors, we recently trialed a chatbot service called Drift. After a month of testing, we concluded it wasn’t a fit and immediately cancelled. No big deal. This was in May.

Imagine our surprise, when, in June, we were hit with an additional $550 subscription charge. (Yes, we use our own product and Cleanshelf flagged the expense. Yay!) Immediately, we wrote to Drift’s customer support and shared the mistake.

Five days later (yes, FIVE!) a Drift rep responded that we should “give them 30 day notice for cancellations.” We did a double check and, as expected, this wasn’t in the contract or explicitly communicated anywhere. No doubt this is standard process: it sounds legit enough, probably scares off most companies and lets them squeeze a few hundred bucks from unsuspecting customers.

But not us.

The saga continued ...

We reconnected with Drift and reminded them of our intent to cancel. We even shared the date-stamped email proving our request. Case closed, right?

Not quite.

One month later, Drift hit us with another $550 charge.

Apparently there’s a disconnect between sales, customer support and a new-to-us team called Customer Advocacy when there’s money on the line. Someone didn’t get the memo we cancelled, or that our bank was investigating the charge. Even the name of the team we were dealing with was a misnomer; it sure didn’t feel like anyone was advocating for us.

One process was working, however.

An automated message from a cheery-looking avatar on Drift’s Conversational Marketing Customer Service Team showed up in our inbox a month later:

“Hey Dusan, did you have any feedback for us?”


SaaS cancellation is a nasty business. We know this first hand and from the countless stories we hear from our customers. That is why we created the Cleanshelf platform. Companies with dozens or hundreds of SaaS apps can’t be expected to manually manage a growing suite of services and terms. Renewal dates come and go. Surcharges and price increases get quietly applied. Overages and drawn out cancellations are the new normal in the cutthroat world of business apps.

Cleanshelf lets growing companies stay on top of their subscription software. Dashboard views of license and vendor use, department breakdowns, pricing intelligence and renewal reminders make it easier than ever to get the most out of your SaaS budget.

Tired of dealing with bad SaaS actors?

Give us a call today.

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About Cleanshelf

Cleanshelf is the leading enterprise SaaS management platform focused on tracking, controlling, and benchmarking SaaS applications. Their SOC 2-compliant and AI-powered technology helps companies save up to 30% on their SaaS spending by automatically identifying unmanaged contracts, duplicate licenses, and wasted cloud software subscriptions. Based in San Francisco, Cleanshelf provides an enterprise-grade solution to over a hundred clients, including Hilton, Looker, and CoStar Group.

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