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Proposal to tackle subscription traps

6 March 2020

Proposal to tackle subscription traps [ 120 kb]

The Government committed to tackling the problem of subscription traps in the Spring Budget 2017 - this commitment was reiterated in the recent Consumer Green Paper. Both of these announcements followed research demonstrating that too many consumers were being trapped in subscriptions that they didn’t want.

The following proposal outlines measures to tackle the issue in a way that is proportionate to the detriment, but also reflects the positive value of the growing subscription economy.

The three suggested measures are:

  • To make contracts as easy to exit as to enter
  • To make consumers opt in rather than opt out of subscriptions after free/cheap trials
  • To limit the potential harm caused by Continuous Payment Authorities

Options for implementation range from voluntary to legislative measures - the proposal concludes that if the Government are to meaningfully address the problems of subscription traps, legislation is required.