Senate passes Euer bill to ban unfair
sales practices in automatic renewals
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today passed a bill, sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer, to protect consumers from duplicitous practices common in many auto-renewing subscriptions.
“This has happened to all of us,” said Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown). “We sign up for a subscription and then life gets busy. Next time we look, the rates went up and we have new charges. We try to cancel and have to jump through hoops.”
The bill (2023-S 0171A) would set minimum standards for companies that seek to sell services paid for by an automatically renewing contract. Vendors would be required to send a reminder notice to consumers shortly before the date of the next charge outlining the amount due. The notice must also provide a clear, simple means of canceling the subscription. If the company allowed consumers to sign up electronically, they must provide a simple cancellation link.
In addition, if a company offers free or discounted initial trials, they must lay out clearly when and by how much costs will increase. Notice would also be required of any future changes to the subscription or pricing, with simple cancellation instructions.
Colorado, Delaware and New York have similar bills while at least 20 states have some regulations for auto-renewal subscriptions.
“Families have too much going on these days to keep track of the fine print and complicated cancellation processes,” said Senator Euer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary. “This bill will ensure people are fully informed of what they’re signing up for and how to cancel if they no longer want the service. It’s common sense consumer protection.”
The bill now heads to the House for consideration.