It is reported that the government will be launching a crackdown on so-called “subscription traps” where consumers are locked into making regular payments for services after a free trial period. This proposal will form part of a wider examination of markets which the Government feels are not working fairly for consumers.
As part of the Budget on 8 March, Chancellor Phillip Hammond is expected to outline details of an upcoming consumer green paper which will look at ways to simplify small print and reduce the number of people being charged unexpected automatic fees for services they do not need. Proposals include ensuring that consumers are alerted in good time when a payment is about to be taken and fines for companies who are found to have mistreated customers.
A report from Citizens Advice last year found as many as 2 million people struggle to cancel continuous payments, often used to buying products online, and 4 in 5 people had issues cancelling after being signed up without their knowledge.