TAMPA - The new law likely saved Doug Paxton over $200. "If I had not read the junk mail, we would have had $209 charged to our account," he said.
Now, automatic renewal of service contracts no longer means an automatic charge on your credit card.
Kevin Jackson with Hillsborough County Consumer Protection says often times consumers get hit with a renewal charge without warning. “We get regular complaints about this type of activity where they forgot they had it or they just wanted to cancel and did not realize the automatic renewal provision locked them to another two years or more.”
The new state statue covers any company that offers a service contract that has an automatic renewal clause. Companies that fall under the law, “shall provide the consumer with written or electronic notification of the automatic renewal provision.....no less than 30 days or no more than 60 days before the cancellation deadline ...”
“We got a notice from that particular company that we would be charged $209 on our credit card if we did not respond.” In Doug Paxton’s case, the travel service he subscribes to followed the letter of the law and made it clear he would be charged unless he canceled
the membership. “Right after that, I called the company and told them not to charge our account that we are canceling.”
So now even consumers who forget about the renewal date or the length of service they are paying for should get a clear heads up before their credit card takes a hit. Jackson says it is needed protection for consumers. “This new law will give you one more chance to cancel before it automatically renews.”
If you need help with contract law, contact the Div. of Consumer Services at 800helpfla.com , call Hillsborough County Consumer Protection at 813 903 3430, or the Pinellas County Justice and Consumer Services at 727 464 6200.
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