Unwanted subscriptions: a thing of the past!

Many Dutch people unintentionally lose a lot of money on unwanted subscriptions and contracts. For the simple reason that cancellations are too late. Many companies and associations tacitly renew membership and if someone does not cancel in time, this means paying for another full year. That is why the so-called tacit renewals of subscriptions are a thorn in the side of many and fortunately this is changing.

New legislation

The new law regarding tacit extension only needs to be approved by the Senate in September 2010, and then the tacit extension will be limited to three months, making it easier to cancel. If it is so easy to take out a subscription by e-mail, it should also be possible to cancel it quickly with the same e-mail. It saves everyone a lot of annoyance and, above all, a lot of costs. So if you’re a little too late in canceling the gym or that magazine, which you actually don’t like, don’t panic. There was a study that concluded that 54% of all participants were annoyed by the phenomenon of silent renewal and 40% of participants had an unwanted subscription.

Practice

An average household has approximately 20 long-term agreements with publishers, trade unions, ringtone companies, energy and telecom companies, gyms, etc. Many of these organizations apply the maximum notice period of three months. If you have not canceled three months before the contract expires, you will be stuck with it for another year and companies will never let you know when that notice period expires.

PvdA bill

The PvdA MPs Ferd Crone and Martijn van Dam have successfully put an end to these tricks used by companies to unintentionally keep people subscribing for too long. There was broad support among the parliamentary factions. Of course there will be a transition period for current contracts, but in the near future many will be freed from pushy book clubs and gyms, for example. The PvdA sets the limit for automatic conversion for an indefinite period at one year. This means that tacit renewal of quarterly subscriptions, such as with newspapers, remains possible. After all, the consequences of tacit extension are easy to understand for the consumer. Simplifying the cancellation of memberships and subscriptions also has the advantage that new providers now have more opportunities, because people can more easily leave their old supplier.

New rules

This law is certainly not an unnecessary luxury at a time when everyone wants to make cuts; It is quite annoying when you lose a job to be stuck with subscriptions for months. The bill prohibits tacit extension of contracts for more than three months. The proposal also stipulates that contracts no longer have to be terminated in writing or by registered letter. If you can enter into a contract via the internet or telephone, you should also be able to cancel it in the same way, the bill states. Furthermore, a notice period of up to one month is imposed for all contracts and subscriptions. Now companies often use two or three months, which can make it confusing and expensive for consumers to cancel.

When will the new law come into effect?

The bill banning tacit renewal of subscriptions will not be introduced until January 1, 2012. On July 1, MP Martijn van Dam answered questions from the Senate about his proposed amendment to the law. In response to comments from MPs who indicate that consumers also find tacit extension easy, Van Dam emphasizes that nothing will change for consumers who would like their agreement to continue as normal. He points out the advantage that the consumer will soon be able to cancel and not be tied to the contract for another year. In addition, he explains that only subscriptions to newspapers and magazines can be tacitly extended for a maximum of three months, with the addition: a notice period of one month applies. The continuous and socially very undesirable situation in which subscriptions and memberships are extended, while consumers no longer have a need for certain products and services, has therefore come to an end.