Evergreen renewals: a modern hazard

I read a blog post on Modern B2B Marketing the other day which made me nod my head vigorously. Beware of the Evergreen Renewal describes clauses hidden in the back of contracts to automatically renew as “evil” and I agree. It’s bad enough being forced to sign up to some services for a minimum period, but when it comes to the end of the period and you find you’ve already been signed up to a further term …that’s just unacceptable, in my opinion.

I know one industrial concern which claims to save itself a small fortune by booking any contracted services on a calendar-yearly basis, and well before the end of the year, giving plenty of notice to cancel every single one on December 31. It may well renew for the next year when the contractor calls, but at least each renewal is given annual consideration. The policy came into force when a few years ago, the company did an internal audit and found it was continuing to subscribe to a couple of services which it had stopped using several years before. You may say “more fool them”, but with more and more services being delivered not in person, but over the internet instead, it’s easy to lose track of who the user of a service is. It might well turn out to be someone who’s left.

I hate any contract which forces you into a minimum service period. If this is necessary because the contractor has a lot of upfront costs, they should charge those costs as a setup fee, and then charge a true monthly or quarterly figure, with no commitment. That’s certainly the way we operate with our clients. In the advertising industry, for example, unscrupulous people with their unwanted rolling renewals have made life a misery over the years for trustworthy publishers.

Discussion

  1. Jim Daniels

    It is also important to read the fine print on printed solicitations to be included in directories. Many make it sound free, but if you read the fine print the fees can be hefty. I recently received a solicitation to be included in a Yellow Page directory, with a close read the charge was $89/mo.

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