23andMe Users Allege the Company Scammed Them Into Auto-Renewals

Estimated read time 3 min read

If you think you’ve been charged for a 23andMe subscription renewal even though you know you cancelled it, you’re in good company.

Fed-up users of the genetic testing service have alleged the company scammed them, turning their auto renewal back on even after they had turned it off, and charging them more than they had originally signed up for, according to a new report from Gizmodo.

The Federal Trade Commission released over a hundred complaints that 23andMe users had submitted since the beginning of 2023, after Gizmodo submitted a FOIA request for the documents.

In many of those complaints, some of which Gizmodo published, users detailed renewal practices that they considered dubious and unethical.

“I turned off auto-renew after the last unwanted renewal,” one user wrote in their complaint to the FTC, according to Gizmodo. “However, I was STILL charged for a renewal. I did not authorize this. I turned off the auto-renewal, which this company does not make easy to do and does not send a confirmation about. I did not receive any emails telling me that I was going to be charged again. Why would I? I turned it off 11 months earlier.”

A spokesperson for 23andMe told Business Insider that “Our policy is to not charge customers for a renewal if they have opted out of their membership before the renewal date. If customers are incorrectly charged, we encourage them to contact us, and we will address the issue.

“We do send a 30-day notification email to members that includes the date and price of the renewal, so that they are informed of the renewal itself, and what they will be charged. This email also contains a link to manage their membership and payment settings, including the option to cancel the membership if they do not want to renew it.”

Another user accused the company of secretly turning auto-renewal back on after they had turned it off several times.

Users also complained that even when they told 23andMe they were still charged after they had turned off auto-renew, the company refused to give a refund.

“I cancelled my subscription with 23andMe in January 2022 and asked to be removed from auto billing. Nevertheless, they charged me an annual fee on January 15, 2023. The customer service will not refund despite their practices being predatory,” a user wrote to the FTC, according to Gizmodo.

23andMe told Gizmodo that it does not offer refunds for “partially used membership periods.”

Others said that when 23andMe renewed their subscription without their knowledge, it charged them more money than the original membership they had signed up for. One user said they were charged 10 times the amount of their original subscription, while others said they were charged three times the amount.

People have also taken to Reddit to report their issues with 23andMe, with one Redditer writing, “I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was hacked.”

March 13, 2024: This article has been updated to include a statement from 23andMe.