Legal Protections Against Predatory Automatic Renewals
Most people’s debt problems are not due to poor financial decisions but simply to the fact that, unless you were born into money, necessary expenses have become unaffordable. Despite this, cutting your expenses as much as possible can help you reduce your debt and put yourself on firm footing for bigger interventions like applying for a debt consolidation loan or filing for bankruptcy protection. You can save a lot of money by canceling services that debit their subscription charges from your account every month, whether it is for subscriptions to websites or content streaming services or those dreaded gym memberships. It is not just your imagination that canceling these subscription services is often more work than just continuing to pay, which is why you and so many other people have been paying for so long. A Boca Raton debt lawyer can help you find a way out of the debt problems caused by automatically renewing subscription services.
What Does Florida Law Say About Automatically Renewing Subscription Services?
If left to their own devices, companies that use a subscription-based payment model would just charge your debit card every month until the card expires and then charge you late fees until you authorize them to charge your new card. Did you ever notice how submitting your new payment information is so much easier than canceling the subscription? If you try to cancel through the website where you signed up for the subscription, it takes you in circles. If you call customer service, you have to wait on hold for a long time, only to be told to call back later or email. Some gyms even make you go to the gym in order to cancel your membership, in the hopes that seeing all the physically fit people who didn’t cancel their memberships will make you so embarrassed about your physique that you will change your mind.
Some states have enacted laws to restrict these shenanigans that cost consumers millions of dollars every year. Florida Statute Annotated Section 501.165 is one of those laws. It states that, when a consumer has a subscription with a business that lasts six months or more, the business must notify the consumer at least 30 days before the subscription period ends that the subscription will renew itself unless the customer cancels the subscription. Its cancellation procedures should be reasonably straightforward. Of course, the law has plenty of loopholes; for example, the company is free to renew your subscription automatically without notifying you if the initial subscription contract was reasonably clear about the automatic renewal procedures. Likewise, the company must refund you for any money you paid as a result of an unfair automatic renewal, but the law does not clearly outline procedures for how this will happen.
Contact a South Florida Debt Lawyer About Dealing With Automatic Subscription Renewals
A South Florida debt lawyer can help you if you are struggling financially because of subscription services that kept taking payments from your account for a long time after you stopped using their services. Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC in Boca Raton, Florida to discuss your case.