The Federal Trade Commission wants to make it easier to unsubscribe anywhere on the Internet, reducing the burden on customers who may no longer want to use the service.
While it would seem to always be easy to sign up for a subscription, it’s not always so easy – or immediately obvious – when it’s time to cancel it.
There is currently no standardization of unsubscribe processes. As a result, customers can be expected to follow lengthy, multi-step cancellation processes, be forced to call the company, or even cancel the service in person. The FTC hopes to change that.
“Some businesses all too often trick consumers into paying for subscriptions they no longer need or didn’t subscribe to at all,” FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said in a press release.
“The proposed rule would require companies to make it as easy to cancel a subscription as it is to subscribe to it. The proposal will save consumers time and money, and companies that continue to use subscription gimmicks and traps will face harsh penalties. .”
This rule is part of the Federal Trade Commission’s revision of the 1973 Negative Choice Rule, which is used to combat fraudulent practices related to subscriptions and memberships.
The FTC has shared the changes it hopes to make in a document available on its website.
His plan will require companies to provide full and clear information about ending recurring subscriptions. It will also require clear definitions of what a customer signs up for first and penalize any company that misrepresents its products or services.
In addition, companies will need to allow customers who signed up for their subscriptions online to cancel them online, rather than through a phone call, an email form, or an in-person visit.
If the Negative Choice Rule is amended, the FTC plans to establish clear, enforceable requirements based on performance. Companies that continue to use fraudulent or complex subscription methods will be fined and punished.