- American Senators prepare a new law that would help make unsubscribing easier.
- Too many companies currently exploit the gap in the legislation, engaging in borderline scamming.
- The proposed bill is going to make terms clear to understand and limit the powers of service providers.
Four U.S. Senators have introduced a new bill named the “Unsubscribe Act,” which aims to make canceling costly subscriptions on any service easier for the consumers. On the other side, the law could require companies to be more transparent about their subscription models and make it easier for their clients to cancel their subscriptions. As the situation stands right now, there’s a lot of trickery going on with shady renewal policies, binding terms, and hooking trial periods that end abruptly to entrap consumers in a paid plan.
In essence and summary, the Unsubscribe Act proposes the following:
- Require sellers to provide customers with a clear understanding of all the terms of the contract and obtain the customer’s express and informed consent;
- Require sellers to provide a simple means of canceling the subscription, which the customer can complete in the same way in which the original contract was entered into;
- Require sellers to provide a clear notice to consumers when their free or reduced-cost trial is complete and before charging for the full-cost subscription;
- Disallow automatic transfer to a contract longer than one month; and
- Require sellers to periodically notify the customer of the terms of the contract and the cancellation mechanism.
The above would definitely help in preventing the vast majority of the skullduggery that is going on in various platforms and service providers. As Sally Greenberg, the Executive Director of the National Consumers League, stated:
From movies to clothing to food, to cosmetics, consumers are being marketed subscription services that are often easy to sign up for but hard to cancel. That is why we need common-sense consumer protection legislation like the Unsubscribe Act. The bill will help consumers get the information they need to make an informed buying decision and allow them to easily cancel their subscriptions without getting the runaround.
The main thing for consumers is to learn to protect themselves, whatever the context is. If you are offered a free trial on a product or service, make sure to read and understand the contract terms and the renewal deadlines. If they are in any way unclear or too aggressive, ask for clarifications via email or simply consider an alternative provider.