Saturday, 4 March 2017

Subscription charges and small print will be targeted in Budget

Plans to stop so-called "subscription traps" where consumers end up unexpectedly paying for products and services will be announced in the Budget this week.
The proposals will include forcing companies to make small print shorter and clearer and give customers plenty of notice if a payment is going to be taken.

It's estimated two in five people in Britain are paying for subscriptions for things they don't use including gym memberships and TV and music streaming services.

Many consumers sign up for free trials without reading in the terms and conditions that when the trial ends an automated payment will be taken from their account.

The Citizens Advice Bureau estimates that two million customers a year struggle to cancel subscriptions.

On the high street in Sutton Coldfield we met Hassan Choudry who ended up paying more than he expected for a music streaming service.

"Three months for 99p, so I took the deal obviously thinking it would be a good deal, rather than £6 a month," he said.

"And then at the end of it, no warning whatsoever, they just cracked down on me.
"I got in touch with them and they said there's nothing they can do.

"We looked in the terms and conditions - you read it - but obviously you're not going to read 8,000 words."

Fellow shopper Ben Watson agreed it can be frustrating.

"When the contracts automatically renew it's probably in the small print but they don't really tell you that they're going to continue taking money the following year," he said.

"And then before you know it, it's too late," he continued.

Consumer website Which? found that while nine in 10 consumers agreed to terms and conditions when buying a product or service in the last year only 16% actually read them.

As well as forcing companies to make things clearer for customers the Government also plans to impose fines on companies that mistreat consumers.

SKY    News.