On Amazon, it’s like a maze trying to figure out where to cancel. On Netflix, it’s simple to find the cancel button, but it may not work.
Ward Council just wanted to cancel his Netflix account.
“I went on the website, canceled the account, got a nice email saying we’re sorry to see you go,” he described. “Your account will end on September 11th.”
He thought that was that. But just a couple of days later, Ward got a welcome email. His Netflix account was back.
“I get an email saying, as you requested, your membership has been restarted, which I most certainly did not,” he recalled.
So, he canceled again.
Sure enough, it happened again a few days later.
“At that point, I was like, okay, no point in continuing with Netflix,” Council said. “They’re just not going to take cancel for an answer. Going to the credit card company.”
In 2021 the Federal Trade Commission acted against both Disney and Amazon for “dark patterns.”
“I would say maybe every company or many companies use something that a lot of us would call a dark pattern in some sense,” said FTC Regional Director Chuck Harwood.
This year the FTC announced proposed rulemaking to protect consumers. The so-called “Click to Cancel” rule would require companies to make it as easy to cancel as it is to subscribe.
As for Ward Council, he finally is done with Netflix. After disputing the charges with his credit card, “Netflix just banks on a lot of people being asleep at the switch and not taking the time to really fight.”
More than 16,000 people submitted public comments to the FTC for the proposed rule.
There is no timetable yet on when there may be a vote. However, an industry group submitted a comment criticizing the proposal stating: “It would create consumer frustration and unnecessary burdens for consumers.”
In the meantime, Chuck Harwood of the FTC says, “we’d like would like to hear about entities where consumers believe they’ve been subjected to deceptive dark patterns something that a lot of us would call a dark pattern in some sense.”
You can report these instances or any suspected fraud to the FTC here.
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