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That is the only reason they need access to your bank account. They have been around 20 plus years and are a fully invested company.
You can buy one month for a flat price shipping, with no recurring auto-shipments.
Between the different types of plans and the different promotions, things can get confusing.
You could try Big Lots or Ollie's but those are items from their "Advanced" program (they now have the "Success" program) that have been discontinued since about 6-8 months ago and, while NS' shelf-stable foods have a long shelf life (anywhere from 6-18 months, depending), bear in mind certain things like cakes and bars are going to start showing their ages at this point.
It's definitely an area that could use some improvement along the lines of training and making sure their folks know what to say and not contradict each other.
They could also do a better job of communicating info to the public in terms of explaining plans, letting people know timelines of new food releases, etc.
By signing up for auto-delivery, though, you commit to at least 2 shipments, I believe.
I had a deal where it would only cost 9 for a month.
I just wanted to try it for a month and then renew if I thought it was the way for me. Well, that feeling soon faded when I found out that they wanted access to my bank account so they could deduct money every month and send me shipments (you can cancel any time after so many shipments but that may take a couple months to kick in). If that wasn't enough; they took my information when I tentatively put my order in online (cancelling it near the end when I found out about the automatic bank account withdrawal), Now I get phone calls and emails offering me additional 40% off etc if I just agree to the automatic withdrawals.
Either find a "Big Lots" and purchase the food from them (a lot of Big Lots carries NS foods - not all of them, but a good selection that you can try different foods) or go back online and do what I do - Ala Carte.
NS accesses the bank account because somewhere along the way you mentioned echecks, or withdraw from checking.
But if you sign up for an autopay thing, they will charge your card for the 2nd payment if you don't return the initial shipment within the first month.