Don’t get caught in a subscription trap

Consumer advice body the UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC) has released a short animated video. It shows how easy it is to get caught in a subscription trap.

The animation is designed to make consumers think before they sign and not be tempted by free trial offers. Unless they know what they are getting into.

It features Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. It draws attention to what can happen if you are scammed online.

The video is part of the annual National Consumer Week.

Automatic renewals after a free trial

Service director at the UK ECC, Andy Allen, said:

“Very few, if any companies, will offer you a trial of anything unless it is going to lead on to further purchases and this is often done by an automatic renewal system which places the responsibility on the customer to actively cancel an ongoing contract.

“In most of these cases the customer doesn’t realise what is happening until they notice continued payments disappearing from their bank accounts.”

A recent report from Citizens Advice said that two million people across Great Britain have experienced problems cancelling recurring payments. By releasing this animated video, the UK ECC wants to make sure consumers are aware of the potential dangers.

National Consumer Week is an annual consumer education campaign. It is coordinated by Citizens Advice and other members of the UK’s Consumer Protection Partnership. This year’s campaign focuses on subscription issues and subscription traps.

National Consumer Week

Chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), Leon Livermore, said:

“Raising awareness of the issues facing consumers is key to tackling consumer detriment. National Consumer Week offers the chance to actively engage with consumers on a local and national level, on the big issues that can affect millions.”

The UK European Consumer Centre received 39 complaints in the first eight months of 2017 about ‘classic subscription traps’. The complainants thought they were getting a good deal and found out in reality that they weren’t.

Subscription issues can include signing up for a fixed term deal, trial, or promotion where it is unclear that the consumer will be auto-enrolled into ongoing payments.

Free help if you are caught in a subscription trap

If you find yourself in a position where you have ongoing payments being taken from your account, contact the UK European Consumer Centre for advice on 01268 88660 – weekdays between 9am and 5pm.

Follow National Consumer Week updates on Twitter using #BeforeYouSign and #NCW17.

Consumers can make contact with the UK European Consumer Centre via their website.  Or by phone on 01268 886690 weekdays between 9am and 5pm.