The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday proposed provisions that would remove barriers to canceling subscriptions and recurring payments. The new guidance would work to end the “seemingly never ending struggles to cancel unwanted subscription payment plans,” the FTC said in a release.
“The proposed rule would require that companies make it as easy to cancel a subscription as it is to sign up for one,” Lina Khan, chair of the FTC, said in a statement.
Under the rule, companies would be required to let customers cancel a subscription in no more steps than it took to sign up. They would also be required to get permission before showing additional offers when customers try to cancel a subscription and send annual reminders before automatic renewals occur.
The proposed changes would have wide-ranging application, from newspapers to gym memberships, but also “to all subscription features in all media,” according to an FTC factsheet on the rule (PDF). Subscriptions purchased over the phone, on the internet, in print or in person would be regulated. Companies would have to allow for cancellation by the same method in the same number of steps or fewer.
The FTC will be accepting public comments soon, when a 60-day comment window opens.