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The FTC Wants to Make It Easier to Cancel Cable and Gym Accounts

The outside of a Spectrum store.
Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock.com

We’re all familiar with memberships and subscriptions that are easy to sign up for but difficult to cancel. I’m talking about your unused gym membership, cable TV, magazine subscriptions, and even things like Amazon Prime. The FTC is looking at new ways to ban those frustrating situations and prevent hidden fees.

This week the US Federal Trade Commission announced a notice to propose a ban on these types of accounts and memberships, as it receives thousands of complaints yearly about the situation. They’re calling it “click to cancel,” which aims to make these subscriptions just as easy to cancel as it was to sign up initially.

For example, you can quickly sign up for a gym membership online, over the phone, or even with an app, but most require a 30-day notice and an in-person visit if you want to cancel. Or, if you sign up for something online with one click, you shouldn’t have to call a phone number and jump through other various hoops to cancel.

Another similar proposal is attacking hidden taxes and fees once you sign up, which, as CordCuttersNews explains, is a common problem with cable companies like Spectrum and Comcast.

In fact, these proposals have several other provisions, all aimed at protecting customers from getting stuck in a subscription, paying hidden fees, or even being deceived into paying for another month. One provision mentions annual reminders, which will help users stay informed about what they’re paying for. More importantly, companies must alert customers on a program where failing to cancel essentially auto-renews, so you keep paying.

Basically, consumers shouldn’t have to deal with hidden taxes and fees or jump through a bunch of hoops to cancel a subscription that only took 30 seconds or one click to sign up for. I don’t know about you guys, but I can get behind this.

via The Verge

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »