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Box internet, electricity or VOD … The government wants to facilitate the termination of subscriptions

When she was still a student, Clara bought a plane ticket from Volotea and subscribed, without knowing it, to additional services. An annual subscription of 50 euros that she did not want and that it was very difficult for her to cancel: “Every day I put reminders on my calendar, to send a message back to Volotea to be sure that I will have something one day! When I clicked on ‘Send request’, the page froze and the message did not did not send.”

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Services for travelers, video on demand (VOD), internet package or even gas and electricity… Whether it was taken out voluntarily or not, it is often difficult to put an end to a subscription. The bill on purchasing power, examined since Monday, July 18 in the National Assembly, precisely plans to simplify the procedures for unsubscribing. It is part of a consumer protection component which should enable the French to bring competition into play.

For Clara, the situation was unblocked thanks to social networks : “Someone told me that they respond more easily on Messenger (Facebook) and on Twitter. That’s what I did. I received a response after five days telling me to contact their site again. I sent them a message to tell them that it was not working at all, that I was very unhappy.”

“I was a little more firm and finally, I was reimbursed three weeks after being taken.”

Clara, Volotea subscriber in spite of herself

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This impossibility to unsubscribe has become a kind of scourge, to such an extent that many customers are throwing in the towel, says the Minister Delegate for Consumer Affairs, Olivia Grégoire: “I remind you that 40% of French people, as we speak, continue to pay subscriptions which they do not use and which they cannot get rid of. I remind you that one in two French people has already felt trapped by these subscriptions, whether in terms of telephony, VOD or other services.

To get out of this type of trap, the executive wishes to impose the presence of a clearly identifiable termination button on commercial sites. This is one of the issues in the consumer protection section of the purchasing power bill. If it is possible to subscribe in three clicks, it must be possible to unsubscribe just as easily. Germany implemented a similar system in eight months. In France, if the measure is adopted next month it could apply from the spring of 2023. Why not from March, this is what the Ministry of the Economy hopes.

This quick termination option would concern all subscriptions taken out online, electronically signed, including those that are in progress. No need to have in mind the famous anniversary date to disengage, the one we always miss. The bill intends to put an end to tacit renewal. The subscription will be terminated as soon as you press the cancel button. And notice to scammers, the text increases the penalties: up to seven years in prison for deceptive commercial practices in an organized gang.

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