Half of WA may have online subscription they don’t want

Oct 10, 2022, 9:53 AM | Updated: 9:54 am


Online shoppers should be aware of automated subscriptions (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

More than half of all people in Washington state may have unintentionally enrolled in a subscription service.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a survey Monday that shows 59% of Washingtonians may be enrolled in a plan they thought was a one-time purchase.

Unwanted subscriptions

“This survey reveals that corporations are deceiving Washingtonians into paying for unwanted subscriptions – and consumers want this practice to end,” Ferguson said in a press release. “If you unintentionally signed up for a subscription service, contact my office so we can help.”

The survey showed that around 100,000 people may not have been able to cancel the subscription because they found it too difficult. Those pre-checked boxes may be one of the main culprits when it comes to unintentionally subscribing to services, with 70% of those surveyed thinking pre-checked boxes should be prohibited.

“Reputable retailers will give you straightforward procedures for setting up, canceling, or changing your account settings,” AARP State Director Marguerite Ro said. “If those terms are difficult to find or understand, beware.”

One-third say online retailers are the problem

29% of people cited online retailers as the most common source of the problem, and Amazon was the company that was mentioned the most by consumers for engaging in this practice.

The survey is part of the Attorney General’s Honest Fees Initiative.

Hardwick Research conducted its online survey from June 24 through July 7, and 1,207 adult Washington consumers answered the survey.  Respondents split between 50% female and 48% male. Among age groups, one-third are between the ages of 18-34, one-third 35-55, and one-third 55 or more years old.

The average respondent’s household income was $76,500.

What Equifax credit score errors mean for consumers

Contacting Attorney General’s office is encouraged

Attorney General Ferguson urges consumers to file a complaint with his office if they inadvertently signed up for a subscription while attempting to make a one-time purchase.

The Attorney General’s Office responds to every consumer complaint. It fields approximately 24,000 complaints annually, and returns approximately $18 million per year to consumers through its informal complaint resolution process, which involves working with businesses to resolve consumer complaints pre-investigation or litigation.

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Half of WA may have online subscription they don’t want