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Wine Clubs New Consumer Protection Legislation – What You Need To Know.

wine club, negative option, membership

Summary

Overall, whether or not a wine club is a negative option model depends on the specific wine club and its membership policies. Consumers should carefully read the terms of any wine club membership before joining to understand how the club operates and how they can manage their membership.

What You Need To Know About Proposed Legislation To Offer Members More Transparency and a Click To Cancel Option.

Wine Clubs, new legislation is being proposed to to help members of all subscription types, that leverage negative option marketing, by forcing businesses to be more transparent about their practices and easier for their customers to cancel their memberships.

At the 8 AM hour, the Today Show aired a feature on the proposed legislation for added consumer protections making it far easier for them to cancel their memberships. The proposed legislation is targeting businesses who leverage the negative option marketing approach. Membership types: clubs, software subscriptions, gym memberships.

The FTC uses the phrase “negative option marketing” broadly to refer to a category of commercial transactions in which sellers interpret a customer's failure to take an affirmative action, either to reject an offer or cancel an agreement, as assent to be charged for goods or services.

What is Negative Option?

Negative option is a business model where a company sends a product or service to a consumer on a regular basis, and the consumer is automatically charged for it unless they explicitly cancel or opt-out of the service. The idea behind negative option is that the consumer is assumed to want the product or service unless they indicate otherwise.

For example, a magazine subscription service may send a magazine to a consumer every month and charge their credit card on file unless the consumer cancels the subscription.

While negative option can be convenient for some consumers, it can also lead to unwanted charges and frustration. Consumers may forget to cancel the service or not realize they are being charged for it. This can lead to disputes and chargebacks, which can be costly for both the consumer and the business.

What Is Click To Cancel?

Click-to-cancel is a feature that allows consumers to easily cancel a subscription or service by clicking a button or link. This feature can be included in an email, website, or mobile app. Click-to-cancel makes it easier for consumers to opt-out of a service and avoid unwanted charges.

Click-to-cancel is often used in conjunction with negative option. For example, a company may send a notification email to a consumer that their subscription is about to renew, with a link to easily cancel the subscription if they choose.

Proposed, New Click To Cancel Legislation

In recent years, there has been growing concern about the use of negative option and the difficulty consumers face in canceling subscriptions and services. As a result, new legislation has been introduced to strengthen consumer protections.

One such legislation is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act, which prohibits deceptive or unfair business practices. The FTC has taken action against companies that use negative option without proper disclosure and consent from consumers.

In addition, the Restore Online Shopper’s Confidence Act (ROSCA) requires companies to clearly disclose the terms of negative option offers and obtain express consent from consumers before charging their credit card.

The Click-to-Cancel Act, which was introduced in 2021, would require companies to provide a clear and conspicuous click-to-cancel mechanism for all negative option offers. The Act would also prohibit companies from charging consumers for any product or service after they have clicked to cancel.

Are Wine Clubs Considered Negative Option?

Negative option is a business model where a company automatically sends a product or service to a consumer on a regular basis, and the consumer is automatically charged for it unless they explicitly cancel or opt-out of the service. The idea behind negative option is that the consumer is assumed to want the product or service unless they indicate otherwise.

Some wine clubs operate on a negative option model, where members are automatically charged and receive wine shipments unless they cancel their membership or modify their shipment preferences. This model can be convenient for some wine club members who want to receive regular shipments without having to place an order every time.

However, negative option can also lead to unwanted charges and frustration for consumers who forget to cancel their membership or do not realize they are being charged for it.

Some wine clubs have moved away from the negative option model and now offer more flexible membership options, such as allowing members to choose the frequency of their shipments or giving members the option to skip a shipment or cancel their membership at any time.

Overall, whether or not a wine club is a negative option model depends on the specific wine club and its membership policies. Consumers should carefully read the terms of any wine club membership before joining to understand how the club operates and how they can manage their membership.

Wrap Up

Negative option and click-to-cancel are important concepts for consumers to be aware of. Negative option can be convenient, but it can also lead to unwanted charges and disputes. Click-to-cancel makes it easier for consumers to opt-out of a service and avoid unwanted charges.

New legislation has been introduced to strengthen consumer protections, including the requirement for clear and conspicuous disclosure of negative option terms and the implementation of click-to-cancel mechanisms. As a consumer, it’s important to read the terms of any subscription or service carefully and know your rights.

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