Sponsored Links

US lawmakers want to make it easier for people to cancel their subscriptions

The bill has bipartisan support.

Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) questions witnesses during a Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee hearing looking into the budget estimates for National Institute of Health (NIH) and state of medical research on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 26, 2021. Sarah Silbiger/Pool via REUTERS
POOL New / reuters
Igor Bonifacic
Igor Bonifacic|@igorbonifacic|June 16, 2021 2:46 PM

With subscriptions becoming more popular by the day, there’s a good chance you’ve run into at least a few companies that make it far too difficult to cancel their services. Thankfully, legislative relief could be on the way. A bipartisan group of lawmakers made up of Senators Brian Schatz, John Thune, Raphael Warnock and John Kennedy has introduced the Unsubscribe Act. In tabling the bill, the group says they hope to make it easier for consumers to cancel paid subscriptions once their free trial is over.

Specifically, the proposed law would make it so that companies couldn’t automatically transfer you to a contract that’s longer than a single month. Additionally, there’s a clause in there that would require platforms to provide you with clear notice when a free trial is about to end. But the biggest pain point the Unsubscribe Act seeks to remedy is when you can’t cancel a service in the same way that you signed up for it. The group says the bill would legislate companies to provide “a simple means” of canceling a subscription. If you signed up for a paid service online, companies wouldn’t be allowed to force you to call them to then cancel that same subscription (take that, New York Times).

“When people sign up for a free trial, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops just to cancel their subscription before being charged,” Senator Schatz said. Given that both Democratic and Republican senators support the bill and members of the House of Representatives plan to introduce companion legislation, there's a decent chance the Unsubscribe Act could pass.    

US lawmakers want to make it easier for people to cancel their subscriptions