Number of words rds in some phone contracts
Companies that try to trick you into paying for subscriptions will be fined under new Government plans. Millions of people each year fall into a ‘subscription trap’ after companies automatically sign them up to contracts following free trials.
In the Budget Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a crackdown on “unexpected payments” faced by consumers, promising tougher penalties for companies who break the law. Websites such as Amazon and Netflix could be forced to stop taking people’s credit-card details when they sign up to a free trial. Without this information sites would be unable to take money from customers’ bank accounts.
In recent years hundreds of our readers have asked our Consumeractive team to help them claim back money lost in these kind of traps.
The problem has grown with the rising popularity of online shopping. Most customers accept terms and conditions when buying items online, but a 2016 survey from Citizens Advice showed that less than 20 per cent actually read them.
Ministers say that some companies deliberately confuse customers with impenetrable small print that ties them into expensive subscriptions. Some of the worst offenders are phone companies, whose contracts for mobiles can run up to 40,000 words.
But the Government will now consider new rules forcing companies to make terms and conditions “clearer, simpler and shorter”. The Chancellor told Parliament that subscription traps are “some of the frustrations that sometimes make it feel that the dice are loaded against ordinary working people going about their everyday lives”.
The plans, outlined in section 6.2 of the ‘Spring Budget 2017’ policy paper ( www.snipca.com/23762), were welcomed by Gillian Guy, head of Citizens Advice, who said: “Bad business practices that rip customers off and exploit their loyalty are rife across sectors and jeopardise household finances”.