One of the main complaints many customers have is how do you cancel something you signed up for. It can be easy to start a subscription, but figuring out how to cancel it is confusing at best sometimes.
Now the FTC has announced a new proposed “click to cancel” provision requiring sellers to make it as easy for consumers to cancel as it was to sign up. No longer will you e required to cancel in person or required on the phone, for example, if you signed up online.
“Some businesses too often trick consumers into paying for subscriptions they no longer want or didn’t sign up for in the first place,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “The proposed rule would require that companies make it as easy to cancel a subscription as it is to sign up for one. The proposal would save consumers time and money, and businesses that continued to use subscription tricks and traps would be subject to stiff penalties.”
Here are the proposed rule changes:
- A simple cancellation mechanism: If consumers are unable to easily leave any program when they want to, the negative option feature becomes nothing more than a way to continue charging them for products they no longer want. To address this issue, the proposed rule would require businesses to make it at least as easy to cancel a subscription as it was to start it. For example, if you can sign up online, you must be able to cancel on the same website, in the same number of steps.
- New requirements before making additional offers: The proposed rule would allow sellers to pitch additional offers or modifications when a consumer tries to cancel their enrollment. But before making such pitches, sellers must first ask consumers whether they want to hear them. In other words, a seller must take “no” for an answer and upon hearing “no” must immediately implement the cancellation process.
- New requirements regarding reminders and confirmations: The proposed rule would require sellers to provide an annual reminder to consumers enrolled in negative option programs involving anything other than physical goods, before they are automatically renewed.
What do you think of the proposed rules? Right now the FTC is taking public comment before a final vote on approving these changes.