FTC’s Proposed ‘Click To Cancel’ Will Help You Ditch Your Recurring Subscriptions

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Many Americans subscribe to multiple subscription services — and pay for them for much longer than they want to. That’s because some companies make it challenging for subscribers to cancel.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hopes to make a change that would help to combat deceptive subscription billing practices. In a March 23 press release, the FTC proposed a “click to cancel” rule requiring sellers to make it easier to cancel these services.

“The proposed rule would require that companies make it as easy to cancel a subscription as it is to sign up for one, FTC Chair Lina M. Khan noted in the release. “The proposal would save consumers time and money, and businesses that continued to use subscription tricks and traps would be subject to stiff penalties.”

Under the terms of the new rule, consumers who sign up for a service online would also need to have the option to cancel online in the same number of steps. Sellers would be allowed to pitch additional offers to consumers — but only if the customer had agreed to hear those offers.

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The public is welcome to submit comments on the proposal by following the instructions in the “Supplementary Information” section of the Federal Register notice, which you’ll find here

In the meantime, don’t throw away your money. These tips can help you avoid spending on subscriptions you no longer want:

  • Track your spending: Budgeting apps are a great way to set spending limits and monitor your spending so you can identify subscriptions you no longer need.
  • Mark your calendar: Many companies offer free trials, but you may forget to cancel before a trial ends. When you sign up for a new subscription, mark the trial end date on your calendar immediately to avoid unwanted charges.
  • Use online tools to cancel unused subscriptions: Online subscription management tools can make it easier to cancel subscriptions you no longer need. However, many of these tools charge a fee that can offset your savings or even cost you more in the long run.

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A fact sheet for the FTC proposal is located here, on the FTC website.

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About the Author

Natasha Etzel is a personal finance writer with an advertising and public relations degree. She has written about personal finance and travel topics for the last eight years. Much of her content focuses on credit cards and credit card rewards. She's written for brands like NerdWallet, The Points Guy and The Motley Fool. Before becoming a full-time freelance writer, Natasha worked in various marketing roles.
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