Trying to Unsubscribe

We often talk about the importance of making it easy to unsubscribe. I thought I would share with you my recent experience demonstrating the frustration that can occur when it is not.

I decided to unsubscribe from Air Canada's onAir newsletter several issues ago. When my issue arrived, I clicked to unsubscribe and landed on a 'No Update' error page. No big deal, the internet can be glitchy, I would just do it the next issue. This went on for 4 or 5 issues at which point, I started to feel like they were sending me to the error page on purpose. I was getting a little hot under the collar.

Last week, on a bad day for me, the current issue arrived and I landed on the same error page. I then went back to the newsletter and clicked the "contact us" link which took me to a form on their website called 'Let Us Know'. It was a lengthy form and the first section was my contact information in which I had to fill out my address, email, phone number and name. When I reached the third section, it was passenger information. Since I was not a passenger with any flight complaint, I skipped that and entered my message in the box below that, asking them to please unsubscribe me as the unsubscribe link was consistently not working. Submit. Ooops, error! Passenger information is required. Hmmmmmm. Back to the newsletter to find a phone number.

Finally on track, I get a real, live person. I explain my problem and she says, "Well, just email us". Ummm, OK, but what is the email address? She sends me to another link on their webpage which takes me to the same 'Let Us Know' form. When I tell her this is the same form and it requires passenger information. She tells me to just fill that out. I tell her, I am not a passenger, I have no flight information. She advises that only first and last name are required in that section so I should just fill that out. I suggest that it seems misleading enough to confuse me out of unsubscribing and that Air Canada should have a better system than this. They have obviously invested money. Their newsletter looks great. Unsubscribe is simple. Why make me jump through confusing hoops with their form?

In frustration, she responded, "Well you are a past passenger so you are a customer!"

"Really? I don't FEEL like a customer and if THIS is your customer service, you have BIG problems!" My frustration was showing too. I could not see this call getting any better.

So I say something I have never said before to any company sending me a newsletter. I said, "I have been trying to unsubscribe over the last 5 or 6 issues and this is my last attempt. I am telling you, as a representative of Air Canada, that I do not want your newsletter anymore. I have noted the date, time and phone number for this call and if I receive your newsletter again, I will be forwarding it to the CRTC as a spam complaint." Harsh, I know, but by now I was livid. Nothing I hate more than being talked to like I am an inconvenience.

She tells me that she cannot unsubscribe me, that I have to do it myself online. I tell her that I have been trying that and it failed repeatedly so she will have to talk to a supervisor or something because someone at Air Canada knows how to take me off the list and I was not spending anymore of my unpaid time trying to work out their problems for them.

Five minutes later, I receive an email from Air Canada. When I open it, there is a link titled 'Danielle Carrier click here to change your email preferences'. Finally! Whooo Hooo!!! I follow the link and can clearly unsubscribe to everything, which I do and hit submit. Ooops, error! It says I must select a home airport. I go back and select my home airport, unsubscribe and submit. Ooops, error! It says my preferred destination airport cannot be the same as my home airport. I didn't even know I had a preferred destination airport. I go back to the form and pick the first airport that pops in, unsubscribe and submit. Success!! Now just to wait and see if next month's issue arrives in my mailbox.

Frustrating for sure. It is times like this that I can get 100% behind the two click unsubscribe process being contemplated in the new legislation. Although it is looking like there are issues around the definition of two click so who knows what we will end up with when all is said and done.


  1. YIKES! Pretty sad when a big company like Air Canada can't make something like that work right! I guess they don't know about iContact LOL

  2. Thanks for posting, Anita. The problem is that, at some point along the way, gathering and managing their subscribers' info became more important than their subscribers' experience. I'm going to have to write an article about THAT ;)

  3. Thanks to Danielle for taking the time to write this all out for the blog - after having already wasted a bunch of time having the icky experience!

    1. Good thing sharing is the fastest way to let it all go!


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