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Trade Group Argues ‘Click to Cancel’ Would Be More Confusing For Customers

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One of the arguments currently put forward against the use of a one-click subscription cancelation system is the lack of enough consent. As part of the same argument, there’s the suggestion that ‘click to cancel’ would be just too confusing for some customers. Instead, the current, longer, and often more confusing process of canceling a subscription is a better option, and one that benefits customers.

Last year, the FTC started taking consumer frustration with subscription cancellations more seriously. Specifically, advocating for the deployment of a system where subscribers should be able to cancel a subscription service, be it streaming or any other service, as easily as they can sign up.

Unsurprisingly, there are those within the industry who do not think the proposed changes are a good idea. One such group appears to be NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, formerly the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. First reported by Ars Technica, the NCTA put forward its argument during a hearing this week as to why a click-to-cancel solution is not just bad for companies (as they will likely lose more customers) but also bad for customers.

The sum of the argument is that customers don’t always mean to cancel their subscription. To provide evidence of this, NCTA CEO Michael Powell argued that 75% (3 out of 4) cable and broadband customers who called to cancel retained their service after speaking to an agent.

Basically, the fact that company representatives are normally able to talk customers out of canceling is being used as some form of proof that those customers didn’t want to cancel in the first place.

In some cases, Powell argued, customers just want to cancel a part or make changes to their service. As a result, a one-click cancelation system would run the risk of them accidentally canceling all of their services or, worst still, paying more. For example, canceling one service from a bundle only to find the other bundled items are now charged at their normal, non-bundled rates.

All this is unnecessary because the evidence shows that cable broadband and streaming customers are readily able to cancel and respond favorably to additional information and offers,” Powell said.

For reference, this is not the first time that the NCTA has made this same ‘too confusing’ argument. Last year, in a comment responding to the FTC’s Negative Option Rule, the NCTA argued “the overly broad proposed rule will have unintended consequences that would burden, confuse, and harm consumers.”

In spite of seemingly being against the proposed changes, Powell did state the “NCTA supports the FTC’s efforts to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive practices” and that the FTC “should address situations where consumers get stuck with recurring payments for unwanted services and find it hard to cancel.”

John Finn


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