Senator Warnock introduces, champions the Unsubscribe Act, legislation to compel businesses to adopt more transparent subscription-based business models
Bill allows consumers, lured in by free trials, to cancel costly subscriptions, encourages transparency in contracts
Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock: “I am proud to sponsor this important legislation that will provide more protections and transparency to consumers to help ensure they’re spending their well-earned dollars according to their goals and not wasting their money on deceitful practices”
Read bill text here
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), a member of the Senate Banking and Aging committees, introduced the Unsubscribe Act alongside Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), John Thune (R-SD), and John Kennedy (R-LA). The bipartisan legislation would help end misleading subscriptions practices by requiring businesses to be more transparent with customers on the terms of their contracts and create a seamless process for consumers to cancel their subscriptions once their free or reduced price trial period has ended.
“We must protect consumers’ dignity and their pockets from deceptive marketing practices that harm their ability to thrive in our economy,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “I am proud to sponsor this important legislation that will provide more protections and transparency to consumers to help ensure they’re spending their well-earned dollars according to their goals and not wasting their money on deceitful practices.”
The Unsubscribe Act would:
• Require sellers to provide customers with a clear understanding of all the terms of the contract and obtain the customer’s express and informed consent;
• Require sellers to provide a simple means of canceling the subscription, which the customer can complete in the same way in which the original contract was entered into;
• Require sellers to provide a clear notice to consumers when their free or reduced-cost trial is complete and before charging for the full-cost subscription;
• Disallow automatic transfer to a contract longer than one month; and
• Require sellers to periodically notify the customer of the terms of the contract and the cancellation mechanism.
“From movies, to clothing, to food, to cosmetics, consumers are being marketed subscription services that are often easy to sign up for but hard to cancel,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League. “That is why we need common-sense consumer protection legislation like the Unsubscribe Act. The bill will help consumers get the information they need to make an informed buying decision and allow them to easily cancel their subscriptions without getting the runaround.”
“With the lure of free trial offers, consumers can unknowingly be duped into a subscription deal that they never agreed to purchase,” said Linda Sherry, Director of National Priorities at Consumer Action. “The Unsubscribe Act of 2021 will protect consumers by mandating that sellers clearly explain contract terms, provide plain notice of free trial expirations and make it simple for consumers to cancel a contract that they do not want.”
The bipartisan Unsubscribe Act is supported by Consumer Action, Truth in Advertising, and the National Consumer League.
Read full bill text here.