Have you signed up to get something sent to your home regularly? Has a company offered you a “free trial”? Or maybe you have a membership or subscription that bills your credit card automatically. Those can be convenient set-it-and-forget-it ways to get the products you want. But what’s your experience been when you tried to cancel? The FTC wants to hear your story.
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The Houston Chronicle newspaper is notorious for this type of consumer abuse. It is easy to subscribe online but you have to call to cancel. The customer service rep is very pushy in letting you cancel. I’ve heard stories of people who had to cancel their credit card to end their subscription.
It should absolutely be easier to cancel just as it is to sign up. Fairness is crucial to all consumer offers/business and a consumer certainly has the right to change their mind if not happy. Going through hoops to do it is unfair and should be illegal!
I have a few subscriptions I signed up for easily online, but have to jump through hoops and long waits on the phone to cancel, pressure to continue service, or simply not answering the phone. I've had these experiences numerous times. It should be as easy to cancel as it is to sign up! SiriusXM, Onstar, Zander identity insurance, The Wall Street Journal are examples in my experience.
Thanks for promoting this click to cancel option, I hope this becomes the standard.
I signed up for a Walmart plus 30 day free trial membership in October 2022 on the Walmart website. When I attempted to cancel the membership on their website in November 2022, my account was instead completely deleted. My credit card was then charged for an entire year of the membership. After calling Walmarts customer service line 3 different times, I was informed that I would have received an email from Walmart to confirm the account deletion. A quick search of my email yielded no such email. I was also then informed that I would be unable to use the same email address to set up a new account and that the $120 membership fee charged to my credit card could not be located in their system. I did confirm the charge had in fact posted on my credit card statement and no credit or reversal of the transaction had been applied. So I confirmed with the rep on the phone, to make sure I understood. I was told that I would not be refunded the fee and that no credit to a new account could be offered. This situation has left me out of pocket for a membership fee after making it impossible to cancel and instead Walmart deleted my account while giving me no way to access it!
Sirius XM is the largest offender of this . I looked at my bank statement and realized I had a $30+ charge from them this month. I tried contacting them two times over the past week and the automated message stated that their call center was closed and to please use the chat option. I leveraged the chat option to inquire about this charge and they weren’t clear on why I received this $30+ charge. Instead they tried having me renew my subscription. The person/robot on the other end made it difficult to cancel and in lieu of canceling offered me a discount on the annual subscription. They really couldn’t take no for an answer, so I felt pressured to renew. The FTC should crack down on Sirius XM’s poor subscription renewal practices.
I believe this idea would be progress. Too many companies use such a tactic- easy to sign up free/reduced briefly, but impossible to sign out.
I have epilepsy also, which makes my memory none of the best. However, I have managed to try to discontinue a few trials pre- charge date. Yes, the company has already taken the money and it’s a battle to get a refund.
I’ve currently been given a credit card I didn’t ask for…charged $69 and a $39 late fee for it-because I didn’t know I had it. How nice😊 ?
Barron’s Magazine makes is extremely difficult to cancel their subscription.
A renewal notice arrived through email with a small link embedded in the fine print to cancel. However, the cancel link did not lead to a cancellation opportunity. It said I could not cancel my subscription online, but rather, I had to call.
The hours available to call were inconvenient.
I still have the unwanted subscription.
“In order to change or cancel your subscription, please contact Customer Service. We do not accept cancellations by mail or email or by any other means other than calling Customer Service.” Directly from Barron’s website… interesting, because I could subscrip with one click.
I wanted a free one month trail, but was charged $ 39.99.
I want my money return Ed and to cancel my Netflix plan
It is almost impossible to cancel gym memberships. Already services can sign you up for free trial while "automatically" charging you at the of it without reminding you that you are going to be charged!
This initiative will help lots of consumers
Make it simpler. Has costed way too much time and money, and now credit cards and banks make it more difficult to raise a dispute. :(
I currently have a subscription to SiriusXM. In the past, because of being short on money in the bank, I would call them to try to unsubscribe. I will be on the phone for longer than it should take for me to unsubscribe. They would even try to keep me on even when I don't have enough money in the bank to keep subscribing. It's ridiculous how hard they make it for you to get rid of your subscription if you either don't have the money or just don't use it enough.
Yes. Please make sure this includes gym memberships as well. The abilities for this companies to make you jump through multiple hoops to cancel service is ridiculous, because their theories are that people will hit a point of frustration where they won't cancel.
If that is true, then these companies are not providing a service anymore, they're providing an annoyance. That's an annoyance that needs to long be addressed.
Click to cancel is a common sense approach that prevents bad faith action from subscription services trying to hold on to revenue by making it hard for customers to stop giving them money.
We need things to be easy to cancel!! Making things hard to cancel is extremely predatory and is hurting elderly people and people with uncertain finances!
Insane and obviously predatory to make canceling difficult and annoying when it's so easy to sign up for a subscription and forget about it for years while they take your money.
I was unable to cancel Donald Trump's newsletter until I actually abandoned an old email account. Despite requirements to provide unsubscribe options, without regulation, business owners can just choose to ignore regulations and see what happens.
On another occasion, I called in to a service center to cancel a subscription - I was unable to do so online, which is a problem in itself - but the service center had such poor internet service that I had to call back three times until they had sufficient connection to process my cancellation.
Apple is a a terrible offender here - years after I had switched from Apple to Android equipment, I had to fire up an ancient Apple laptop in order to cancel an Apple Music subscription. There wasn't even a number to call; my options were to use an Apple product to cancel or physically go to an Apple store. Separate from being incredibly annoying, can that be ADA-compliant?
Simplifying cancelations for subscriptions and mailing lists would make a positive difference in my daily life. Not only would I spend less time managing my own email and postal mail, I could better support my aging father. He is reluctant to take on tasks that require a lot of detailed work on the computer because of his vision and motor disabilities. Consequently, he is subscribed to a lot of things that he doesn’t actually want to spend his time and money on. Companies are familiar with customers like my father and I believe they are taking advantage of elderly people by making their cancellation procedures overly complex. I support rules that require a simple click to cancel.
Yes, click to cancel will allow people to easily cancel services. It is difficult to cancel services, especially when moving.
I would love a "click to cancel" requirement for subscriptions. Having to make a phone call normally takes much longer than it seems like it will which first dial the number--having to supply reasons for cancellation and reject countless offers to just get to the cancellation.
I am very much in favor of subscriptions being easier to cancel. I have had to help out several family members who have fallen victim to these predatory subscription services. I myself fell victim to one when I was a young teenager and did not yet understand how these "free trials" worked. When I finally contacted the customer service line to request a cancellation of my subscription, the representative strong-armed me into continuing to use the service, likely because she could tell that I was a nervous teenager who didn't want to argue with an adult. I had to try again a few weeks later, so all in all I spent months with an unwanted subscription due to the practice of making it intentionally difficult to cancel the service.
Like most people, I resent having to spend time out of my day navigating a customer service support line to accomplish what should be a simple task. In my mind, these practices are predatory. There is no sense in forcing customers and employees through all of this extra effort, unless your goal is to find a way to get money out of people who have already decided to stop using your product/service.
Sometimes, the customer service phone line is so slow and confusing that the only/easiest way to cancel a subscription is to contact your bank and cancel your credit card. I don't believe that companies should be able to have that kind of access to a customer's finances. Customers should be able to choose for themselves what services and products they want to pay for at any given time. Subscriptions being difficult to cancel heavily infringes on that, which is why I think that expanding the rule is a good idea
I attempted to cancel my NY times subscription. First they tried to offer me a reduced subscription for a period of time. Then I was forced to suffer through 20 minutes of a person trying to sell me on benefits I'll miss out via chat. I copy/paste 'no. Cancel my subscription at least 20 times. Cancelation should not be a time waste.
Please make it as simple to cancel as it is to sign up! Consumers are tired of jumping through impossible hoops!
I've had to call a computer anti-virus company to cancel after I easily signed up online, and go through their pitch meeting to try and retain me. If you can sign up online, you should be able to cancel online, period.
Please make the one click happen. Businesses bury their methods for unsubscribing so deeply that you have to Google other sites to find other people who figured it out. Worst are the companies that require you to call a phone number to leave them and then they keep you on hold until you give up.
This comment is too late to submit on the Negative Option rule, but I'd like to mention a company that needs to be investigated for borderline illegal advertising and practices that particularly target seniors. Baker's Best Health Products trap seniors in "Free" offers and automatic shipping. This happened to some of my elderly friends and relatives. I was able to help them out, but this company is a menace.
How about siding with the consumer for once.
Excellent idea. With streaming services cross-pollinating with each other (e.g. Amazon Prime offering HBO) it can be confusing and difficult to backtrack to the "source" for cancellation. A simple click-to-cancel on Amazon Prime, or if you are signed up directly with HBO, at HBO, would be welcome. Specifically with Amazon, this click-to-cancel button needs to be on the main page of Amazon "not" 6 layers down whereupon you end up on Amazon Prime ;)
My mother cancelled McAfee antivirus subscription a year ago, and yet this year she was charged by autorenew program. There was no invoice that was sent to her and McAfee wasn't running on any of her devices. She is hearing impaired and not able to speak on the phone, but McAfee doesn't offer an option to get help via chat or email or filling out a form, the only way to cancel is by calling them and when I tried calling on her behalf, the hold time was upwards of 20 minutes and they told me that just today all their systems are down and they will have to call me back to resolve this issue.
It certainly should be easy to cancel but I see lots of people calling for one-click deletion and that's not a good idea because it's humans doing it.
There should be some confirmation behind anything that won't be easy to reverse. For things which do not require immediate cancellation I favor things like the delete operation starting a timer and the account only deletes when the timer runs down.
I am sorry that is past your June 23rd deadline, but hopefully yet another example will aid in your efforts.
I 2022 I subscribed to Barrons and MarketWatch with the promise of "cancel at any time." After one month I realized that the additional information I was getting from Barrons/MarketWatch was not worth the subscription cost. I went back online to cancel my subscription. The cancellation process was very confusing, but I persevered to a "cancellation," or so I thought.
Surprisingly the charges continued to arrive on my credit card. I tried to login to my Barrons account to cancel yet again my subscription, but the Barrons' system told me i did not have an account. My credit card company has a service to cancel subscriptions, so I used that service along with denying the charges. Months later the Barrons charges reappeared. Apparently all that had happened was a "temporary" cancellation and Barrons was again charging a new monthly subscription. Again I have cancelled the charges through my credit card.
All subscriptions should have this, cable is the worst offender. I have spent many hours on the phone with the cable companies attempting to cancel services.
I absolutely support this proposal. Too many times it has been such a hassle to end a subscription. It's obvious they count on people putting off doing it or skipping it altogether.
This is such a good policy. The Subscription business model is slowly burying us.
Yes. These services make it so easy to subscribe. One click and you're locked in. Trying to cancel is a nightmare. You have to cancel several days before your renewal date and then it's impossible to cancel. Amazon makes it look like you've cancelled when you didn't. Please make a law that they just make it as easy to cancel as it is to sign up
Uber One has a policy where one or two business days BEFORE your subscription is set to renew, they take the cancel button away from your settings page, and authorize the next month's subscription with your card on file a day or two early. Then (as I did) when you chat live with them to request cancelation, they will process the cancelation going into the future, but not a cancelation of the following month which has been prematurely authorized. In my case, June 30 was the listed day of renewal. On June 29, the $10 subscription fee processed. When I canceled my subscription by chat (no available button), they didn't cancel that $10 for the month of July. Perhaps this is all legal and contained in the terms of service, but it is a smarmy way to falsify the actual renewal date of a subscription.
ATT DirecTV Stream cannot cancel. Click on Cancel and it asks you to call a 800 number. Once you get a rep. they hound you for 15 plus minutes to try to keep you with offers. Tell them you cannot afford but they still keeping offering. I even told them I was having a medical emergency and the guy just kept hounding me with offers.
I subscribed to Birchbox and after a year I attempted to cancel. I didn't cancel in time so I had to accept another year's worth of service. The company then deleted everyone's log in information and user names and passwords no longer worked. I called and emailed the company with no response. I emailed them again and the response did not allow me to cancel or get my log in information restored. I am still being billed almost 3 years later.
This predatory behavior from these companies like Amazon, Hulu, Planet Fitness, etc. is so clearly ethically flawed and is walking all over the working class. I hope this policy gets approved ASAP. The nerve to argue it is impeding the first amendment is bureaucratic nonsense and is a slap in the face to every customer across these varying industries.
Yes please mandate easier subscription service cancellation, retentions people are far too ruthless, and when you don't even have to talk to someone to sign up but it takes sometimes multiple calls over several days to get the same cancelled it's nuts.
I tried to cancel a subscription for Handyman magazines and was told I couldn't because I was paid up until next winter! But couldn't I still cancel and get a refund for the rest of the subscription?
FTC please make this rule happen. And make it happen across all subscriptions. FABKIDS IS AN ISSUE they don’t let you cancel online and when you do try to cancel you have to be firm and tell the CS rep five times. They keep asking if you’re sure YES I’M SURE. I want to just be able to cancel these types of subscriptions myself online. Like you proposed, it should be as easy to cancel as it was to sign up.
I'm currently on hold with Dish Network for the second time in two days to cancel my service. Last night I waited an hour to talk with someone to cancel my service. When I went online thinking I was settling up my bill after I canceled - it restarted my service. Now I'm on hold again (currently 27 minutes and counting) to talk to someone about canceling again! This is beyond frustrating. If I can sign up online, I should be able to cancel online! End this madness!
Amazon signed my wife up for Prime without her consent or even knowledge. Eventually they sent an odd email which she sent back to: email@example.com - not realizing Amazon was the actual scammer! WOW how greedy can a company become!!
I am in the process of cancelling my Sirius XM subscription and when you click "cancel" it requires you to give a reason. Once you select a reason all options force you to engage in a chat or phone conversation with them instead of allowing a user the option to simply cancel.
I called Car shield to cancel my subscription with them. They give me the run around and told me how I need to use my money not going with a different company and stay with Car Shield. I told them I went with a different vehicle warranty company for my new to me car. I tried using Car Shield twice, but the repair companies rejected them. I told Car Shield this but they insisted I stay with car shield and not spend money on another repair company, like I was their child getting advice from my father. I make my own decisions, after all I am 71 years old. I know what's best for me. I do not think a company should not give customers the run around, and make it hard NOT to do what the customers wants. If a customer is not happy and wants to cancel their subscription, then do what the customer wants. They should NOT dog and talk bad about another company. Do what the customer wants. They do not have a real good client relation. I've checked their scores.
The cancelation process for Planet Fitness is not reasonable. You are told that you can cancel anytime but what is not told is that if you move you must cancel in person at the original location. Signed up when visiting family in Rhode Island, attempted to cancel when back home in Virginia because the location was too far. Now, I'm told in order to cancel I need to drive to 500 miles to cancel in person. This is outrageous and has to be illegal. At no point was I informed that I needed to cancel on person at the original location. "Cancel anytime," is misleading at best.
Please help consumers. Many times I have tried to cancel memberships and been unable to locate the information easily. Another issue is that the only way to cancel is during business hours via phone call. If you can subscribe at midnight, you should be able to cancel at midnight. It would be one thing if you actually used these services. They are literally banking on the fact that you will give them money monthly when they KNOW you would cancel if the process was more simple. It’s not about the service they provide. It is about ripping consumers off when they have no use or benefits of the service. Period. Why are they more concerned you will accidentally cancel instead of you accidentally subscribing?? Thank you for protecting consumers. Please keep fighting for us!
Tried to cancel a subscription with Delta Defense. There is no "click to cancel" on the website they are representing. I emailed them to give them my notice of cancellation. They emailed me back and forth 3 times from 3 different people going up their chain of command stating I must get on the phone with them and give voice approval for cancellation. Heck no. They stated it was their policy. Well, that's not my policy. I emailed them 2 more times refusing and requesting cancellation and they finally took care of it. They wanted to get me on the line to talk me into staying with the subscription. And they demanded a reason via email why I wanted to cancel. I don't need a reason to cancel. Definitely a violation of the right to cancel.
Yes this would be wonderful because gyms like planet fitness require you to go to the club or send a letter in to cancel and collect money every month from you while they had you sign up online and you have to check in online .