As of July 1st, a new California law, California Senate Bill No. 313, has taken effect. This new law, which was sponsored by State Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), has been put into place in order to facilitate the process of canceling subscriptions online. As noted by Techcrunch, because the bill affects all business that have paying customers within California, it will likely benefit many others dissatisfied consumers who reside in other states. However, this new law will certainly pose challenges for black hat affiliates that bill their customers on a recurring basis for their products and services. While black hat affiliates allow their customers to cancel their subscriptions, it is well known that they do not make it easy for them.
According to California Legislation Information, the new bill will affect “any business that makes an automatic renewal or continuous service offer to a consumer in this state”. The California Senate Bill No. 313 will cover a broad range of products and services, including subscription boxes, newspapers, streaming services, etc.
The piece of legislation has several rules that companies need to comply with that will provide more transparency to customers. Firstly, companies that offer automatic renewals and continuous service will need to “include in the offer a clear and conspicuous explanation of the price that will be charged after the trial ends or the manner in which the subscription or purchasing agreement pricing will change upon conclusion of the trial.”
If a customer has signed up for a subscription at a discounted or promotional rate that is only valid for a period of time, then the company must inform them of the price increase once the discount has expired. They will also need to outline how consumers can go about canceling these subscriptions before they are charged for the products or services.
Moreover, an individual who has purchased a subscription online has the right to cancel online as well. This means that they can forego the lengthy calls to customer service when they wish to cancel their subscriptions, a task that can be frustrating for many consumers.
Nieman Lab has reported that any news organizations in California have already started to alter their systems in order to comply with the California Senate Bill No. 313.