Many consumers use subscription services, not just in California, but around the country, as a way to simplify their life. One purchase agreement with payments that renew automatically frees the consumer from worrying about interrupted access to subscription boxes, streaming shows, cloud storage, or many other types of services.
However, problems are presented when consumers are not clear about exactly what they will pay for after a free trial or a discounted period. Furthermore, many of these companies make this information difficult to identify at the outset, so a consumer may not even realize what they are signing up for.
How Most Customers Discover a California Auto-Renewal Issue
After the consumer realizes recurring charges that they were not informed about, or realizes that the price for the subscription service is much higher than they anticipated, it can become very difficult for them to unsubscribe. Many of these companies involved with California auto-renewal legal claims, have been brought about by consumers who argue that it is difficult or impossible to cancel after they identify the charges. Many states, for this reason, are updating their automatic renewal laws to enhance consumer protection.
California auto-renewal laws are no exception. A number of different class action filings have been triggered under the current California auto-renewal Law, and the automatic renewals and continuous service providers face enhanced requirements recently. The 2010 auto-renewal Law that is expiring in California, requires auto renewing consumer contracts to conspicuously and clearly disclose terms, obtain consent from the consumer before imposing any charges, and provide information about the cancellation policy. When consumers get frustrated and file complaints regarding a company’s behavior related to auto-renewal, consumer advocates and legislators often listen in an effort to tighten up regulations. So many claims and complaints have been filed in recent years that California has become a leader in terms of protections for consumers. Other states are looking into ways to cut down on the number of people dissatisfied with products or services after being offered a “discount” or a “free trial.”
A new California auto-renewal Law becomes effective on July 1 of 2018. This continues the provisions about clear and conspicuous explanation of any updates to the purchase agreement or price, that will occur after a free trial of gift concludes, and affirmative consumer consent.
In addition, disclosure about how to cancel automatic renewal prior to any payment being charged for the continuing service must be provided up front to the consumer. Finally, a cancellation mechanism must exist exclusively online for consumers who originally accepted a service agreement online, this eliminates the hassle that many consumers have reported about trying to find a contact number and speak to a live person about canceling their service.
Anyone who has been subjected to violations of California auto-renewal law may be eligible to pursue a legal claim. The attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher are currently helping those consumers negatively impacted by auto-renewal law violations.