The Bulletin

Bi-partisan bill would make it easier to cancel subscriptions online

By: - January 20, 2022 5:43 pm
Virginia State Capitol

The Virginia State Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

It’s a tale as old as the free trial subscription. You sign up for an enticing offer online, but when it comes time to cancel, an unsubscribe button is nowhere to be found.

No more, say Dels. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, and Sally Hudson, D-Charlottesville.

The two lawmakers both introduced legislation that would require companies that allow customers to subscribe to services online to also unsubscribe from those services online.

The change would mean no more waiting on hold with a call center, Davis told his colleagues when the bill was heard Thursday.

“Maybe sometimes you get someone and sometimes you don’t,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are some business practices out there that make it very difficult to unsubscribe because they know they can get some additional months of revenue.”

The legislation advanced Thursday with unanimous support from Democrats and Republicans on subcommittee tasked with vetting the idea.

No one opposed the idea.

A similar law went into effect in California in 2018. And last year, lawmakers in the U.S. Senate proposed a federal version, but it was never given a hearing.

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Ned Oliver
Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association.