We’ve written about automatic renewals before, but the $10 million price tag in the FTC’s settlement with the operators of ABCmouse should grab your attention.
The FTC alleged that over a three-year period, the company advertised membership programs without clearly disclosing that the programs would automatically renew at the end of the term. The automatic renewal was not disclosed during the checkout flow. Instead, it was “buried” in small print amidst other dense text that consumers would only see if they clicked on a link to read Terms & Conditions.
Even though ABCmouse prominently advertised “Easy Cancellation,” the FTC alleged that cancellation was very difficult. Consumers who tried to cancel were required to navigate a lengthy and confusing process that often prevented many of them from completing their cancellations. In fact, evidence suggests that hundreds of thousands of consumers started the cancellation process, but remained enrolled.