The Scribd cancellation process is a prime example of the "Roach Motel" and "Misdirection" dark patterns, as it requires multiple steps and can be difficult to initiate.
To cancel a subscription, customers must navigate through several steps, starting with finding the option to begin the cancellation process in their profile.
After customers select "End My Membership" option, they are taken to a page that requests feedback before completing the cancellation process.
On this page, the usage of buttons is clearly manipulative. The primary buttons, "Get 30 free Days" and "Try Subscribe Lite" are prominently displayed and intended to capture the customer's attention, while the "Continue to Cancellation" button is secondary and placed at the end of the page, making it less noticeable and more difficult to find.
This is a deliberate design choice meant to make it harder for customers to cancel their subscriptions.
Even if customers manage to navigate through the previous page, the cancellation process is not yet complete. The next page presents even more obstacles, such as outlining the subscription's supposed " benefits " to convince the customer to stay.
In order to continue with the cancellation process, customers must scroll to the bottom of the page to locate the "Continue Cancellation" button. This extensive use of the "Misdirection" dark pattern is intended to make it extremely difficult for customers to unsubscribe.
Finally, after navigating through multiple pages with manipulative "dark patterns," the subscription has been successfully cancelled, and customers can be confident that they will not be charged for the next month.
This method of subscription cancellation, characterized by its use of manipulative "dark patterns," is likely to generate frustration and negative sentiment toward the company. Even if a customer cannot cancel the subscription the first time, they will likely try again in the future.
This approach does not benefit anyone, except perhaps Scribd, by retaining a small number of additional customers per month.