This has been bugging me more and more over the past years and I just have to check if other feel the same or if it’s just me being paranoid. No clue if this is the correct category though…
As everyone else, professionals as well as John and Jane Doe, I’ve signed up for a multitude of online services and today probably have at least a hundred accounts everywhere. Of course here at Sitepoint. Then it’s Facebook, Apple, Reddit, Instagram, newspapers, a political party, my housing company, betting sites, buy/sell sites, travel agencies, Google, weather forecasts and God only knows what.
It’s all fine and well. Until I want to end and close an account. That’s when hell begins.
The past two weeks, I’ve tried to end my relation with about 30 various websites/companies. To close and finish my accounts and have them delete all data about me. I have spent 3-4 hours each day during these two weeks to make it happen. When writing this, it seems as if I finally succeeded to make 75% of them obey my request. (I’m not sure, though).
Mind you, it’s not sleazy sites or shady companies with official location on some remote island in the Pacific Ocean I’m talking about. It’s legitimate, established and “serious” enterprises.
Example: I’m in Sweden and ten months ago I signed up for an account with the biggest morning daily paper here, “Dagens Nyheter” (https://dn.se). The reason was that they offered a month free online subscription. In due time (actually just a day after I signed upp), I registered that I wanted my account closed after a month. When the month was over, I tried to find a way to actually close and delete the account. Impossible.
I tried to mail them. But none of their mail options covered “delete my account” so I mailed a general mail to them. No reply, no response.
So, I tried the same again, this time sending mails to ALL available mail addresses. No response to this day.
Since then, I have received 5-6 mails from them about upgrading my account (which shouldn’t exist). Each mail was “no reply” (had I replied, the mail would bounce back to me) .
I have had 3-4 phonecalls from call centers hired by the paper. Asked each of the callers if they could see some kind of “status” on me, as if I was an account holder or similar. They couldn’t. All they knew was that I was a target.
All this drives me occasionally nuts. It’s an arrogance beyond comprehension. It’s like entering a shop without an exit. You have to ask and beg the owner to pleeeaase let you out.
I’m not a fan of regulations. Internet has a bunch of them, e.g ICANN, and they seem to work OK. But I would love some regulation saying something like “if people can create an account at your site, they must be able to easily end and close it. You must then erase all data, etc”
English isn’t my native tongue so I hope you understand what I’m after. How could a rule or regulation like that be implemented? Or do I need shrink?