Wondering If Subscription Companies Are Taking Advantage Of Your Customers? The FTC Is Wondering That Too.

Wondering If Subscription Companies Are Taking Advantage Of Your Customers? The FTC Is Wondering That Too.

We recently wrote about the designed steps that some subscription service providers take to make it difficult for consumers to fully understand the costs associated, and the often overly complicated process of canceling the service. The net effect is that consumers are unknowingly spending hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars per year on unused or unwanted subscription services. And that’s having an effect on their bottom line.

Now it seems the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken notice of the issue as well and has set its sights on one of the world’s largest subscription services providers, Amazon and its Prime service. Specifically, the FTC has taken issue with what it feels are manipulative tactics designed to push consumers toward signing up for Amazon Prime under a “free trial” that then converts into a monthly recurring subscription charge.

The complaint goes so far as to imply that Amazon utilizes so called “dark patterns” in its user experience that are deliberately designed to mislead or trick users. A “prime” example of this is the ubiquitous “Get free two-day shipping” button that is presented at checkout for an online order. That button then automatically signs up the online consumer for a free trial that converts into a full subscription membership.

Unfortunately, Amazon isn’t alone it seems. The “free” button is a proven strategy that many subscription services from media streaming to monthly curated apparel deliveries actively employ. When the consumer does realize the real cost of the “free” button, they are then forced to navigate an increasingly difficult process to unsubscribe.

So how can financial institutions help their customers and members better manage this process and protect their wallets? By making subscription management services a part of their product offering, and many already are.

 ApexEdge enables banks and credit unions to do this through a simple API integration, requiring minimal data to process subscription management requests on behalf of customers and members. Our team of Cancellation Experts then manages the process on the consumer’s behalf, working to cancel unwanted subscriptions and even obtain refunds that are then processed directly back to their deposit accounts.

 We are experts at helping FIs better engage with their customers through the digital channel. To learn more about how your institution can better serve your customers, contact us. 

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