Hate how hard it is to unsubscribe? FTC feels you
it’s easy to overloaded by subscription services with recurring renewal fees. But it’s often harder to get rid of them. Some companies or publications (we don’t name them here) do not offer a simple way to unsubscribe. In some cases, customers are required to call and speak to a representative who will often try to convince them to cancel or try to sell them something else.
If the US Federal Trade Commission has its way, unsubscribing could soon become much easier.
The FTC proposed a new rule this week called a “click to cancel” provision. It will require companies offering online subscriptions to make canceling them as easy as signing up in the first place. As the name implies, any service you can subscribe to by clicking a button on a website or in an app will give you a similarly easy way to cancel that service.
The click-to-cancel rule is one step in the FTC’s proposed changes to Negative option rule, a measure enacted by the agency in 1973 aimed at reducing predatory business practices. For example, the rule says that a company can’t charge for products that haven’t been ordered, or treat a customer’s failure to respond as an affirmation that they want to keep paying for something.
The FTC voted to pass the regulation. It will be made available to the public to comment online with Federal Registration. Based on those comments, the FTC will then make a final decision on the rule’s fate in the coming months.
Hey, by the way, did you know that if you sign up for WIRED Can you cancel at any time?
Here are some other developments in the world of consumer technology.
In other good news that could soon become law, the European Union is proposed law that would require many electronics manufacturers to provide repair services for their products for up to 10 years after selling them. It’s a move to reduce waste and discourage planned obsolescence, the creation of a device that lasts only a few years to force customers to buy a new device. If issued, companies will be Request product repair for free if doing so would be less expensive than replacing the damaged or defective product with a new one. The law will affect many household consumer appliances such as TVs, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. Other rules are being drafted separately that will apply specifically to phones and tablets.
The EU has had a bit of a rough patch in terms of repairability over the past few years. Decisions to enforce its repair measures have spread abroad and led to companies like Apple and Samsung running repair programs in the United States.
New Frame Calculator
Speaking of repairability, the company focuses on repair frame announced a new line of laptops. The company’s machines are designed to be upgradeable and easy to repair if something goes wrong. The computers are built with a modular system that allows you to swap out any type of port, plug or component.
There are two new ones 13 inch laptop upcoming, one with Intel’s 13th generation processors and the other with AMD’s Ryzen system. A more powerful gaming model will have a 16-inch screen and possibly a combination of a keyboard and a dedicated graphics card. Based on its module system, the notebook will also work with Framework’s expansion system allowing users to attach a full-size graphics card to the back like a giant dongle.