Downgrading to Free - Deletes my data?

If I’m understanding this correctly, all of my ‘LingQs’ that I’ve accumulated over the past 2 months will be deleted?

For only
Keep all your LingQs, word data, statistics and imported content ready for your return so you can easily pick up where you left off."

I want to focus on the 5th line:
“Keep all your LingQs, word data, statistics and imported content”

Are you saying I will lose LingQs, word data and my statistics by downgrading to FREE? You know… I can see that it says that, but I’m just in disbelief. I need to be absolutely sure, my brain can’t really comprehend it.

FREE users get to keep their ‘LingQs’ forever, but a PAYING member of your site UNLOCKS the ability to have their things deleted if they ever decide to stop paying? Like, what if any sort of money issue comes up in life and they need to put their language learning to the side for a bit? Will their only 2 options be to delete all their hard work or KEEP paying you guys?

I get that it’s only $2, but in my eyes it’s way bigger than the dollar amount here.

It seems incredibly backwards, I hope I’m misunderstanding this. Maybe it’s just the imported lessons that will be deleted? idk.

If not, it kind of blows my mind that ‘LingQs’ would need to be deleted… like why…? Are they HUGE bits of information that are stored on your servers? it’s the users that CREATE THE DEFINITIONS anyways.

mind explodes

I really hope I’m wrong.


Oh and just so you know, if my ‘LingQs’ get deleted, it makes it so I will never return to this site. I’ve convinced my girlfriend and my mother to USE your site. However, now I will go out of my way to tell people:

“If you want to use LingQ, I just want you to know that you’ll be paying for it for the rest of your life”.


Seven steps of LingQ: (!!!)

Step 1: Join LingQ for free
Step 2: Get annoyed you can only do 20-30 LingQs/Day
Step 3: Buy a membership
Step 4: Create thousands of LingQs over dozens of hours
Step 5: Life happens and you need to take a break from language learning
Step 6: Cancel subscriptions, oh wait, LingQ will delete everything?
Step 7a: ???

…Step 7b: Pay forever as to not lose your data…?

What other website deletes your data from canceling a subscription? I would love to know a site that does that to be honest.

As if we don’t live in a world where you can create MASSIVE data rooms to store PENTABYTES of data. Especially when you’re dealing with TEXT and AUDIO files.

So if we do some math here, you’ve lost 3 potential customers at $12.99. (Myself, my girlfriend and my mother)

Even if I were to pay for your data saving feature of $2 a month, that would require me to pay for that plan/feature for about ~20 months before you recouped the money you could have made from us in just 1 month (3 users X $12.99).

Who knows how many people I would have recommended on top of that?

Steve Kauffman seems like a solid dude, that’s why I gave this site a chance, but honestly what the hell is this delete data thing? It seems like such a $cummy tactic to keep users indefinitely.


My plan was to take a break for a few months until I got more advanced in my Chinese and then I would come back to start importing news articles and eBooks.

BUT if I have NOTHING to come back to WHY WOULD I? Who the hell would want to start from scratch? It’s such a pain to personalize each character’s definition.

From a business standpoint you discourage the folks who have paid for your services from coming back. If they’ve paid once, don’t you think they would return to pay again??

Like wtf is a ‘$2 we will keep your data fee’? It feels like a slap in the face to be honest.

I never write reviews or ANYTHING like this, but this is a whole new level of frustrating.

For those of you curious, I had to click downgrade on the:

Settings > Account > Current Tier > Change Plan > Downgrade to Free > Downgrade Membership > Downgrade Membership > Continue Downgrading > Delete Data

Yes, they make you click through 3 ‘Downgrade Membership’ buttons to attempt to cancel your subscription, lol.

They offer you:

For only $199

Final Screen: Try the LingQ Vacation Plan, Store your LingQ Data
For only $2/month

Delete Data

If you want to save some money and you’re paying for LingQ then go ahead and pretend to downgrade your account and you’ll be given an option for half off for 3 months.


That’s actually not new. In order to keep your data and progress saved on your account, you can activate the Vacation plan and keep data saved as long as you want for $2/month. That includes your imports, LingQs and learning stats.


“Those who criticize LingQ are a small fringe minority holding unacceptable views, that they’re expressing.”
-Canadian dictator Justin Castro

Seriously though. You’re right.

They should just save downgrader’s data for a good number of months for free, and only then delete account data that has been on FREE and inactive for many months. A simpler and transparent downgrading process would also be a less embarassing route, than the amount of people advertising their frustrated LingQxit on this forum by asking for support from The Zoran.

<<<2nd Downgrade: Keep LingQ’ing for 50% off, Pay HALF PRICE for the next 3 Months

3rd Downgrade: Keep LingQing for Life, Unlimited Chinese for life
For only $199>>>

I think someone else mentioned this before. What a hack. I think I’ll take that 3 months for half price offer, before the great inflation hits.
I’ve seen other businesses use the half price if you don’t leave stick as well. Always good to learn you could be paying half if you signal enough discontent, and paying extra is only for real enthusiasts.

I used to love lingQ and promote it as well. Back when it was a rough, unassuming garage project, run by the venerable Ancient Steve. A solid dude, as you say. The last honest classical liberal centrist calling out credentialist academian pricks and the proto-woke hypocrites. (see 2008-2013 era lingosteve videos before they get taken down for hate speech :p)

Then LingQ tried to scale big, got itself infected in a pandemic of marketing people, became bland mainstream corporate speechy, made temporarily misguided attempts at gamifying and small-chunking, and apparently put neutered Steve on a regular video output schedule on bland and kosher discussions only.
Understandable somehow, yet dissapointing.

This also ended my free LingQ proselytizing. Though for now I remain positive enough to give them my own shekels.

I even “new user onboarded” me old Mum, though her lingQ loyalty will look to be shakier than mine.

At least 3 different marketing personas, in an intense and diffuse customer retention barrage:

“LingQ is sending too many emails. Steve is emailing me, ok fine. Then there’s a Tommy emailing me. There’s a woman emailing me. Challenges this, academy that, dayly lingQs ok maybe, streak this, streak that. What on earth are they getting at? Too many emails. I’m already on paid premium.”
-me old boomer Mum, before being instructed on how to unselect the Great Wall of lingQ email options in settings, and to henceforth give a junk adress to begin with, rather than the serious one
(ca. september 2021 under lingQ 4.0)

Sounds like that bloated marketing department may need surgery.

Though I’ll say that, back when I had two billing and upgrading situations and asked LingQ support for fair discounts, they gave them to me. I think one intance was before The Zoran, and one with him.
So nicely and privately negotiating discounts has worked as well, before we now leaked all the dirt and hacks.


I hope the small amount of the true no-matter-what lingq patriots will be enough to continue this business experiment, it really gets interesting. The “why lingq isn’t popular” thread is pretty much answered here. It isn’t supposed to be.

yes, but this not being new just makes it worse… Seriously, this aspect of Lingq should have been fixed years ago.

A system whereby half the users need to reach out to you via a forum to delete/downgrade their account and a hook to keep paying 2 USD a month or else your data will be deleted, is predatory.

Every now and then there are messages on the forum of people who say they reach out via email but get no response. Whereby you typically answer that in fact you did see it and did respond - who knows, maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not; the point is there is zero trust in Lingq when it comes to anything related to cancelling accounts.

Why sacrifice all the goodwill of the Lingq users just to keep and trap some people on a hook one or two months longer…?


the blame is on you tmacnish, and in all users that have the illusion that lingq is a “nice” environment. Understand that it is a normal business… profit first. Ideology first could be even worst. But jokes apart, i hope that more people complain, its the only hope. And better yet would be competition, we need more good options.

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This is a business and like many business they have to make hard choices to stay in business. Storing data costs money and if everyones data was stored for free LingQ would have to pay the difference.
Language learning is not only a process but an investment. Your links still exist for you and you can always create new links in the future. Links and streaks will not determine who you are as a language learner. I took a break for a few months becasue I am studying a new language but I still paid for LingQ as I felt it was important to support the language development community.


To be fair if you go into your settings or profile (I forget which) there’s a downgrade option, it’s right there clear as day.

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I understand that this is a business, I understand that
profits > everything. It’s a sad truth I’ve come to terms with. However, I AM a paying customer, I have paid LingQ to store my data, I guess I’m upset that I wasn’t more informed about what I was paying for.

I don’t own my data.

“Storing data costs money and if everyones data was stored for free LingQ would have to pay the difference.”

Ok, no problem, give me an option to export my data and I’ll hold onto it until I’m ready to return to the site.

Oh wait, there’s no option for that… hmm, I wonder why? Ohh, could it be that storing data isn’t actually an issue…? Could it be . . gasp that there would be no leverage to stranglehold customers data for an everlasting subscription?

Nooo, that would be messed up… right? Well, like you said, its a business! Those rascals! /s

You also talked about supporting the language learning community. You realize that predatory practices like this are basically the opposite of supporting the community…?

LingQ Overlords:
“You’re a good minion @tbinder, keep up the good work”
*pat *pat


Is server space that expensive that I have to pay as much as getting a Google One account? $1.99/month gives me 100 GB of data in Google.

Surely my files and stats aren’t that big are they? It would be a lot easier if I could just manually back the files up myself and store on MY hard drive.


“This is a business and like many business they have to make hard choices to stay in business. Storing data costs money and if everyones data was stored for free LingQ would have to pay the difference.”

That is such a cop out. Storing data shouldn’t cost that much money. If it did, LingQ needs to give you a way to manually back up and store it on your own. But this is 2022; your data isn’t really yours anymore; at least LingQ has the decency to dangle it in front of you like a carrot.
Besides, price wise, $2/month is 100 GB with Google.

“but I still paid for LingQ as I felt it was important to support the language development community.”

Some of us have been on this site since the beginning. If it was about developing the community, I would’ve been offered dividends or some sort of incentives.



It gets even better!

“To downgrade, you must have fewer than 5 imported unshared lessons. Delete imported unshared lessons until you are below this limit then downgrade again.”

So I went back and ‘tried’ deleting every single import I had (which, let me tell you. In LingQ 5.0 it was very confusing on how to get to your imported content. Thats coming from someone who has used computers/internet for 80% of their life.)

If you’re curious, its:
Lessons > Continue Studying (Should be the first one) > View All (Upper Right Side) > Content Type (On the right hand side of the page) > My Imports

Then all of your imports will show up. That honestly seems like WAY too much lol, why not just add ‘My imports’ under the ‘Import’ drop down on the Home page?

It get’s even better!

The way LingQ separates an eBook (lets just say its Harry Potter) is by subsections. So ONE book will be comprised of several hundred imports. Each subsections is its own individual unit.

‘eBook Harry Potter (1)’
‘eBook Harry Potter (2)’
‘eBook Harry Potter (3)’
. . .
‘eBook Harry Potter (500)’

I was under the impression I needed to delete them one by one… which I was doing for a little while, until I did a bit more poking around and found that you can delete the whole book(luckily, thank god). However, of course, this was not an obvious option, I wonder why, lol.

In order to delete the whole book, you need to find your way to your imports:

Click the circle next to your imported content (the one with 3 dots ) > View Course > then click another circle (with 3 dots) > Edit Course > Delete Course (On the left hand side)

THEN, you can delete your book with all its contents.

Do they design these aspects so poorly/difficult to navigate so that they can make it near impossible to cancel your subscription?? I get more and more mad the more I ‘attempt’ to leave.

I’m at the point where I’m going to call my bank and tell them to block the charges / flag LingQ as spam or something.


All that hassle, and at the end of the day. They give you a button that says ‘delete data’

Why can’t you delete my imported content?

I’ve read in other forums that @Zoran can easily downgrade your account to free. I’ve seen issues exactly like mine;

PersonA: “It says I need less than 5 pieces of imported content”
Zoran: “No problem, I’ve downgraded you to free”.


It almost seems like the popup is just another roadblock to get people to stay subscribed and it’s… gasp it’s… by design!?


You can’t make this sh** up, lmao. Okay, I deleted my eBook (as stated before), and after typing this up. I went to ‘attempt’ to finally delete my account. (Downgrade to free)

and I don’t know if you can guess, but guess what?

I received a message saying:

“To downgrade, you must have fewer than 5 imported unshared lessons. Delete imported unshared lessons until you are below this limit then downgrade again.”

Umm, I did. Your website said “You dont have any imported content” I went to the eBook course page, and clicked ‘Delete Course’.

Unless, wait… your delete function is buggy?

How curious…

This whole situation reminds me so much of that South Park episode where the kids try to cancel their cable. If you havent seen it, it’s hilarious.

I went back to my imported content, and the dreaded 500 subsection eBook is still there, staring at me. It’s funny that the subsections I deleted individually havent returned, but when you try to delete the whole ‘Course’ it doesn’t work.

(‘Course’ is what they call your imports/eBooks)

So do I need to sit here for a couple hours and delete this book one subsection at a time? It takes about 10 seconds each, with having to click the dropdown and click delete, plus the actually loading time of it being deleted(~6 seconds).

It’s actually kind of funny to me that I got so amped up about LingQ that I told my mother and girlfriend about it. I really found Steve to be a genuine guy. I won’t completely point my finger at him and say ‘bad’ but honestly, if he started this company with his son and THIS is the result… He had to have done something extremely silly to allow this kind of sh** to happen.

I want to say he made a bad financial decision and got the wrong people on board but in the same thought I know that money changes people.

Whatever, I’m going to call my bank and tell them to block charges from these guys.

this was utterly exhausting but I hope I can shed some light on my situation so others might be able to avoid it.

Last thing;

I once bought bracelets off of an Instagram post (Ad), they were on sale and it was near Christmas time so I figured I could get them for some of the women in my family.

Turns out that when you bought these bracelets (at the discounted price) you were ALSO consenting to a subscription of $11.99 or something a month and they would send you a ‘free’ bracelet of the month.

This was in the ‘very’ fine print, I had no idea, I don’t even know if this is legal anymore. This happened in ~2017, 2018?

So when I started getting charges of $11.99 I tried to figure out what it was and after a quick google I saw that this company had tricked me into a subscription and when I went to their website to cancel it, there was absolutely no way to do it online.

I had to MAIL in a letter saying that I wanted to cancel my subscription.


At this moment, I feel very similar to how I felt when dealing with that company. I feel tricked and cheated, I trusted the face of this company (Steve) and I rallied behind him, telling my mother and girlfriend.

Now, I feel defeated and gullible. I thought I learned my lesson with the bracelets, yet here I am, about to call my bank to tell them I need to block a company.

Shouldn’t it tell you something about the state of your subscription service that your most popular post on the forums is ‘How to cancel my membership’ with 155 comments?


It is a shockingly bad policy.


Here are some numbers of what it costs to store data in something like Amazon’s Cloud Service (I’m not sure what LingQ uses):

the MOST expensive it can get is $0.023 per gigabyte on standard storage, that’s less than 3 cents per month per gigabyte (that can accommodate thousands and thousands of users since we as users only save text on LingQ) … so yeah, it is very odd that 1 single user is being charged $2.


Yo honestly thanks for this tech support, I was scouring the forums for how to delete, helped a lot. I guess you’ll know how successful it went by seeing if my profile still exists by the time you read this.

(Also no hate to Lingq overall, this is a great concept and has been very helpful in my Japanese studies! Just have found many alternative resources over the past few years.)

EDIT 1: Looks like this will be an insurmountable task. Let’s measure how long deleting all of my imports will take in units of Jujutsu Kaisen episodes.

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I’m not 100% sure this works, but have you tried going to your profile->settings->Languages and simply deleted your active languages? I think I’ve read where others have done this and it deletes all their data (and I think imports). Of course, be sure that your fine with losing all your data before proceeding. Then maybe you can delete the account.


Thanks so much for the post. Gosh that’s crazy. I’ve only been on the platform a short time, and was thinking of cancelling paid since the flashcard review is a very poor comparison to free Anki.
I’ve taken the 1/2 price 3 month offer, and I won’t make anymore lingQs. I’ll concentrate on learning the lingQs I have now to mature level, and then I’m out. I’m not getting caught in this perpetual payment trap where I don’t own my data.

“You’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy”

Yeah nah. I don’t think so mate!

Edit: Interesting to note, Duolingo doesn’t do this. You downgrade to free, all your data persists. As someone who works in big data, I can confirm the cost for this would be pittance.

Also, I refuse to get caught up in another Duolingo-like gamification ploy. I’m here to learn a language. Once it’s acquired, I don’t need anymore of this.

LingQ better be careful, there’s no differentiation here. There’s nothing here that you can’t get elsewhere - and sometimes better. Nothing that’s actually essential to language learning. If you screw your paying customers like this, and create such ill-will for a service that provides zero market differentiation, your long-term survival does not look good.


I’m glad someone that understands how data works chimed in on this.

I agree, LingQ better be careful. I remember joining this app back in 2014 and it marketed itself as a mature app for intermediate and above language learners, which is why I joined.

I get it though, you have to make a profit margin somehow and all the money and audience is in the beginner/gamification market.

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