Risk-free trialIt’s no secret that automatic renewal (or continuity or negative option programs) are on many regulators hit lists. Regulators argue that consumers are often unaware that they have signed up for services or products for which they will be billed on a monthly basis unless and until they cancel, particularly when it involves a free trial period. In some cases cancellation may not always be easy and the billing descriptor that appears on the consumer’s credit card statement may differ significantly from the branded product or service name. Finally, otherwise busy consumers may simply forget about the upcoming renewal, particularly if the subscription term is lengthy.

Regulators have responded by bringing numerous law enforcement actions, many of which seek to heighten disclosure requirements. At the federal level many of these enforcement actions are based in part upon ROSCA, the Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act. (See our previous posts on ROSCA here.) The Unsubscribe Act, introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year, seeks to tighten legal requirements for such programs even further.Continue Reading Congress Takes Further Aim at Negative Option Programs