Subscription renewals are wonderful time savers and providers use this as a convenient way to extend their services without your proactive intervention. It is the classic promotion that "sucks" the new customer into a multi-year program with automatic renewals (that you forget about). It becomes your responsibility to remember to call into a 800 number, spend the time through the computer voice generated menus to wait on hold until they can route you to the live cancellation representative who attempts to resell you on the service. That is if you even remember to call ahead of the automatic renewal process.
I have previously blogged about my intense hate of Time Warner and their policy of requiring you to call exactly 30 days prior to their renewal notice of their two year contract (you can't cancel in advance). I would bet that there is even an early termination fee if you call one day after the automatic renewal occurs.
Today, I discovered I was 14 days behind remembering to call Sirus/XM to cancel the automatic six month renewal of the November 2011 promotion that I signed up for. Ugh! Who knows what penalty will apply for this forgetful mistake.
The cost so far is the $100 renewal for another 6 months of service (and the time to talk this over with a representative who will ask me if I read the small print of the contract that was attached to the electronic bill that I was supposed to review each month).
The lesson is that we all pay for our mistakes - forgetting, or signing up in the first place.