Reform the online industry and business practice of “Automatic Repeat Billing”
- Rt Hon. Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK Government.
- United Kingdom
This petition is to request the UK Government to table a change to Consumer law regarding the application of “Repeat Billing” for online purchases and subscriptions.
When you purchase goods or services online, often hidden away in the small print is a "Repeat Billing/ Renewal" or “Automatic Repeat Billing/ Renewal” statement. This will tell you that unless you contact the service provider to cancel your order within x days (often before the end of a trial period) you will be automatically re-billed.
It comes as quite a shock, when sometime later; you check your Bank balance and discover you are paying for a service you cannot remember taking on and hence have no idea who to contact to cancel the service. This is even more complicated when the service provider has used a billing gateway / agent because your bank statement will just say something like £xx.xx to “ABC Ltd” and therefore, may not refer to the goods purchased.
With the shift to online purchasing and the take up of downloadable services (Games etc), I believe several changes to consumer law regarding on-line purchasing are needed to protect consumers from unexpected and unwanted costs.
This petition requests that The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (or other appropriate body) investigate the practice and application by online industry of “Automatic Repeat Billing”, with a view to:
• Make all online “Repeat billing/ renewal” options default to “NO Repeat Billing / Renewal”.
• Ensure “Repeat Billing / Renewal” is only by agreement via “Opt In” selection and not hidden in small print. IE: A manually selected option (Tick box) to accept repetitive billing.
• Compel suppliers to make “Repeat Billing / Renewal” subject to reconfirmation by the purchaser at a frequency matching that of the billing period.
o If the Billing frequency is monthly then reconfirmation is monthly.
o If the Billing frequency is quarterly then reconfirmation is Quarterly.
• If the “Repeat Billing / Renewal” is not reconfirmed by the purchaser within a given period, the Billing process should be automatically cancelled.
Cost to industry:
I would expect industry to complain about costs. However, having worked on billing engines and associated back office processes, I know this is neither difficult nor overly expensive for a service provider to implement.
Your support is paramount:
Please support this initiative, whilst not fool proof, I assure you, the first time your Bank account is hammered by “Fruit Inc” for auto repeat billing of your child’s “Shoot’em Up Triple X” which they no longer play, you will wish you had.
This petition requests that The UK Government Department of Business Innovation and Skills (or other appropriate body) investigate the practice and application by online industry of “Automatic Repeat Billing”.
The Reform the online industry and business practice of “Automatic Repeat Billing” petition to Rt Hon. Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK Government. was written by Neil Adams and is in the category Consumer Affairs at GoPetition.