George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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20 September 2019

We all know the “deal” that turns out to not be a bargain – a free trial for a streaming app for movies, TV or music that you sign up for and intend to cancel before the trial period ends.

But while that may be the plan, new research reveals that almost half (47%) of British consumers have signed up to free trials for streaming or shopping services and forget or are unable to cancel them – continuing to pay out for them every month.

New YouGov data shows that it amounts to a staggering £800 million wasted over the last 12 months and the London-based Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is today launching a new “Ditch the Deals” campaign, calling on consumers to steer clear of the free trials that end up costing them hundreds of pounds and consider donating some of that money to a good cause instead.

Talking about young people's health

“We’ve all been lured in by the free trial deals and become stuck with services we don’t even use,” comments CAF’s Caroline Mallan. “With consumers wasting an eye-watering £800m on these deals, we wondered if people would rather see some of that money put to better use?”

More than a million British people have paid £200 or more for a rolling subscription that they didn’t even want. CAF’s “Ditch the Deals” campaign offers a few ideas of how that money can transform lives. It can buy:

  • 120 tins of Brewgooder beer – a win-win solution! With 100% of the brewer’s profits committed to bringing clean drinking water to a million people.
  • Provide support and training for six refugees – for under £200, you could get six cookery classes from Migrateful, taught by a refugee, asylum seeker or isolated migrant. This social enterprise offers language and skills training to their chefs, as well as a vital source of income.
  • Give two vulnerable families a couple of goats each – milk, meat and a source of long term income via Save the Children.
  • Build toilets in the developing world – for under £200, you can pay for a mason to construct three personal toilets for families who need them, via WaterAid.
  • Buy nine BuddyBoxes – a hug in a box – The Blurt Foundation works to increase awareness of depression and offers one-off and monthly deliveries of ingenious self-care boxes of mini-treats, plus a wide array of cheery stationary and gift ideas.

YouGov’s data also found that around one in eight (15%) of Britons have signed up to free trials and forgot to cancel them at least twice in the past year, and another one in eight people paid for their unwanted subscription for in excess of four months before cancelling them. Almost a quarter (23%) paid up for two to three months, with just under a half (48%) cancelling the subscription within a month.

Notes to editors: 

About CAF

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a leading international charity registered in the United Kingdom, with nine offices covering six continents.

CAF exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed.

CAF is a charity and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. Through CAF Bank, it offers simple and straightforward day-to-day banking, designed exclusively for charities.

We are CAF and we make giving count.


Press office direct line (24 hours): 03000 123 286

Press office email:

George Young,

Office: 03000 123 715 / Mobile: 07969 296 646

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