How hard is it to cancel subscriptions? Feel the FTC


It’s simple. Overloading by subscription services with frequent renewal fees. But it is usually very difficult to get rid of them. Some companies or publications (we won’t name names here) don’t offer an easy way to unsubscribe. In some cases, customers are required to call and speak with an agent, who often tries to talk them out of canceling or something else.

If the US Federal Trade Commission has its way, canceling subscriptions will soon be a lot easier.

The FTC this week proposed a new rule calling for a “click to cancel” provision. Companies that offer online subscription services want to make it easy to register a cancellation in the first place. As the name suggests, any service you can sign up for with the click of a button on the website or app can be canceled in the same way.

The Click to Cancel Act is one step in the FTC’s proposed changes to the negative option rule, a measure the agency enacted in 1973 to crack down on predatory business practices. For example, the law states that a company cannot charge for unordered products or take a customer’s lack of response as justification for continuing to pay for something.

The FTC has already voted to approve the rule. It will be available for public comment online at the Federal Register. Based on those comments, the FTC will make a final decision about the rule’s fate in the coming months.

Hey, by the way, did you know you can cancel your subscription to WIRED at any time?

Here are some other developments in the world of consumer technology.

Euro adjustment

In other good maybe-legislation news, the European Union is proposing legislation that would require many electronics manufacturers to provide repairs for their products for up to 10 years after selling them. The practice of making equipment that only lasts a few years to force the customer to buy a new one is a move aimed at reducing waste and easing planned obsolescence. If enacted, companies would be required to repair a damaged or defective product for free if doing so would be more expensive than replacing it with a new one. The law will affect many household appliances such as TVs, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. Other separate rules apply specifically to phones and tablets.

The European Union has been in a bit of a fix for the past two years. His decisions to enforce maintenance measures have been overturned abroad and have led companies like Apple and Samsung to implement maintenance programs in the US.

New Framework PCs

Speaking of repair, repair-focused firm Framework has announced a new line of laptops. The company’s machines are easily upgradeable and easy to repair if anything happens. The computers are built with a modular system that allows you to swap out any type of port, plug or component.

Two new 13-inch laptops are coming, one equipped with Intel’s 13th generation processors and the other with AMD Ryzen systems. The beefier gaming model will have a 16-inch screen and can mix and match keyboards and dedicated graphics cards. Building on a modular system, the laptop works with the Framework’s expansion system, which lets users slap full-size graphics cards on the back like a giant dongle.


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