The Federal Trade Commission wants to make it simple for people to cancel free trials, subscriptions and other recurring payments. On Thursday, the FTC proposed a so-called click to cancel provision and other rules that aim to rescue "consumers from seemingly never-ending struggles to cancel unwanted subscription payment plans."
In a release, FTC Chair Lina Khan said the proposed rule "would require that companies make it as easy to cancel a subscription as it is to sign up for one."
Under the rule, companies would be required to let customers cancel a subscription in no more steps than it takes 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 applications, 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.