You see them everywhere. They tell you to perform an action. They tell you to associate yourself with a certain brand name in order to get benefits. These things are signs, signs of different kinds telling you to create accounts and memberships on different websites so that you can be able to post comments and view private content. Whether they are images with the words “Sign up!” or written words saying “Create a free account“, the signs to entice you into signing up are everywhere.
What many of such signs and websites forget to tell you is that once you open an account, it may be impossible to ever close and delete your account and any private information from such sites. Today we ponder over the question: Why do many websites and online services not allow you to close and delete your account?
Easy to create your online account. Impossible to delete it?
Like the stereotypical car sales men from the 90′s, many websites of today show and tell you many things to get you to create an account with them. You are even sometimes sent a “Thank you!” e-mail, making sure you feel so special that you tell your neighbors about your adventure of joining a cool website. And then it happens. After hours, days or weeks, you lose interest, or you get harassed like a bunny. You decide to cancel and delete your account. That is when you realize that breaking up from a 20-year old relationship may be easier than canceling and deleting an online account.
Many websites like PeoplePC.com seem to make you call customer support in order to cancel your account. Why do you have to call the billing department to cancel your account when you are allowed to create your account online? There can be many reasons why some websites do not close your accounts. Some websites simply do not have that functionality available on a wide-scale, while other websites want to keep the number of open accounts high in order to attract investors. Still, other websites simply focus on people creating accounts and making purchases through those accounts, and people not wanting to remain on the site anymore are not part of their focus at all. Whatever the reason, in the end, you are usually left with an online account with your name, username, password, e-mail address, home address, phone number and many other pieces of private information sitting on an information bank, probably waiting to be utilized at some future date.
Some online services which do not allow you to completely close and delete your account.
The following websites offer no way to delete your account. They do not offer any information as to how you can delete your account permanently and completely, and e-mailing their tech support does not seem to help either.
- Art .com. I e-mailed Art.com asking them to delete my account, and as a response, I got instructions on how to unsubscribe from their newsletter. Of course, I am still getting the newsletter, and also have an account there that I cannot close.
- Performancing Ads .com. There is absolutely no way to delete your account, and their help pages have no information on the words “delete“, “close” and “deactivate.“
- Oovoo .com. I e-mailed and contacted Oovoo support to delete my account and was told that the only way to do that was to:
“go to FILE/EDIT MY OOvOO CARD/ Once there please remove any personal information, your picture (by replacing it with something else), and your email address (enter a bogus one). Please also change your display name to “inactive”. Click “Save”, and then just abandon the account. This will close it.” –according to ooVoo staff Dave.
I realized and found out that the above comment meant that Oovoo does not allow you to completely delete and close your account and personal information. All it offers is to change some of your private information to bogus information and to simply not login. Of course, your own personal ooVoo username can never be changed and remains active forever.
- FedEx .com . FedEx allows you to create an online account to track packages, send packages and create personal and business accounts for shipping and delivery. FedEx, unlike UPS, does not offer a way to delete and close your “My FedEx” account at all, resulting in all your information stored forever on the FedEx website.
- Anthropologie.com. The famous clothing and home apparel store website does not offer any account or personal information deletion feature. All your anthropological purchases are saved forever, just like the field of anthropology would love it.
- eBay group subscriptions. If you are subscribed to any eBay group and then you delete your account, your group subscriptions can remain active. That means eBay will keep emailing you the eBay group announcements, replies, and other notifications. Contacting support will not help at all, as I have experienced so far.
- iStockPhoto .com . The famous royalty stock photo website allows you to create and account and either sell or buy pictures. It does not, however, allow you to realize that you can stop being interested in their service and can delete your online account there. You can find dozens of links telling you to buy subscriptions and pictures. You will find zero links to tell you how you can close your iStockPhoto account.
- Zooomr .com. While there is no information whatsoever as to how a Zooomr account can be completely closed, there is information on Zooomr help groups about people having their Zooomr account disabled without any explanation and Zooomr ignoring such people publicly on the discussion forums. People’s requests to have their Zooomr accounts deleted have been ignored and unanswered for months on the Zoomr groups.
- Alaska Airlines .com. Many online airlines like American, United and SouthWest allow travelers to create and manage online airline accounts related to their miles and memberships. At the same time, however, airlines like Alaska Air and Jet Blue do not allow users to delete their online airline accounts. Once again, easy to book an airline ticket and an online airline account, and very hard to cancel either.
- DeviantART .com. DeviantART does not allow you to delete your account. Just like Oovoo, you can only edit some of your existing information and replace it with bogus information. You can also manually delete all your DeviantART content. Your DeviantART account stays alive forever, however.
- PeoplePC .com. There may be reasons to believe PeoplePC tries to ignore people who want to cancel their PeoplePC account.
- Pizza Hut .com. Your hunger forces you to go online and order 2 large pizzas, 8 bread sticks, 8 spicy chicken wings and 2 large Sprites. However, when it comes to deleting your online PizzaHut.com account login and related information, neither hunger nor starvation can help you. There is no link to delete your PizzaHut.com account, and asking any Pizza Hut staff at any Pizza Hut location makes that staff member want to call the center for disease control because of your strange question.
- Buy.com . Like many other websites, Buy.com makes it extremely easy to sign up for an account. However, there is absolutely no information whatsoever as to how you can delete all your personal information from their site, and how can you can permanently close your account.
Above are some of the thousands of online websites and services which do not allow you to delete your online account with them easily, or at all.
Would you like the ability to delete your online accounts on different websites?
Searching online can help figure out whether others online have instructions to help delete different online accounts. So why do these websites themselves do not allow you to easily close your account? Should not the happiness and convenience of a potential client or even a visitor be kept in mind, even when they are leaving you? Should not the idea of being able to close an account be as easy as opening an account?
Please let me and others know what you think by sharing in the comments below.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you, and I hope you can get your unwanted online account deleted. As for me, I am off to e-mail the wonderful Orbitz and Priceline people to see if I can beg them to close my accounts.