Bill to Give Consumers Power to Cancel Services With a Click

You’ve seen the ads from companies that advertise the ease of signing up for their cable or Internet service over the web. However, if individuals decide to cancel those same services, they’re often forced to suffer through infuriating, time-consuming phone calls, often spending hours on hold. Today, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) introduced a major consumer-protection measure that would require companies that allow Californians to sign up for cable or Internet services online to also allow them to cancel those services online.

“AB 2867 allows Californians to conveniently unsubscribe from a service with a simple click of the mouse,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “It just makes sense that if you are able to sign up for a service online, you should also be able to cancel it the same way.”

Rapid advancements in technology grant consumers a wide variety of cable, Internet and phone service products from which they may choose, and while companies make it simple to buy or upgrade services, a cancellation request is usually a prolonged ordeal where customers are sometimes pressured into extending their contracts. AB 2867 provides a convenient and consumer-friendly option for Californians to remove unwanted services without a long phone call.

In July 2014, Ryan Block, co-host of the MVP with Ryan & Peter Podcast, released an eight minute-clip of his phone call in which he attempted to disconnect his cable services over the phone. His cancellation attempts were repeatedly blocked by the telephone representative, culminating in a very frustrating 18-minute call — an experience that many consumers have encountered. These hassles have even generated a new industry, with startups offering to handle customer service issues on behalf of the consumer, for a fee.

“Two years ago my wife and I called to cancel our service, and as is usually the case, that call was pretty unpleasant,” said Ryan Block. “This is why we’re so excited by Assemblyman Gatto’s bill, which would finally allow most customers to be able to cancel their service online, without having to talk to someone whose job is specifically to prevent you from canceling.”

“There are times when we, as the legislature, need to step in to protect consumers and make people’s lives a little easier,” said Gatto. “This is one of those times.”

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Utilities & Commerce Committee and the longestserving current member of the State Assembly. He represents California’s 43rd Assembly District, which includes Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank. www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

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