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Auto-renewal online

Re: Auto-renewal online

Postby theycantdothat » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:21 am

I think there are two separate questions here:

1. Does the contract automatically renew? On the face of the contract, yes, but consumer law would seem to come to the rescue.

2. Did chocolatecrab authorise his credit card company to make any payment other than the intial one? It seems that these days once you make a credit card payment to someone you give them the right to demand further payments without reference to you. We hear about car hire companies and hotels raking in extra cash for "extras" after you have paid your bill. In my own case I recently got caught out by failing to uncheck a tick box to join some club when I booked a plane ticket. You can accept, even if reluctantly, that you have been caught out, but not when the second payment goes through - I did not get to notice the first before seeing the second because they delayed taking the first. When I queried it with the credit card company they tried to tell me it was a matter between me and the supplier. They just simply refused to acknowledge that I had not authorised the second payment. I think that chocolatecrab needs to take the matter up with his credit card company and ask them to show he authorised the second payment.
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Re: Auto-renewal online

Postby chocolatecrab » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:40 pm

theycantdothat wrote:1. Does the contract automatically renew? On the face of the contract, yes, but consumer law would seem to come to the rescue.
That's what I figured.
theycantdothat wrote: It seems that these days once you make a credit card payment to someone you give them the right to demand further payments without reference to you. We hear about car hire companies and hotels raking in extra cash for "extras" after you have paid your bill. In my own case I recently got caught out by failing to uncheck a tick box to join some club when I booked a plane ticket. You can accept, even if reluctantly, that you have been caught out, but not when the second payment goes through - I did not get to notice the first before seeing the second because they delayed taking the first. When I queried it with the credit card company they tried to tell me it was a matter between me and the supplier. They just simply refused to acknowledge that I had not authorised the second payment. I think that chocolatecrab needs to take the matter up with his credit card company and ask them to show he authorised the second payment.

Is that not an 'additional payment'? I found that in the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013, regulation 40 says that a consumer isn't required to make payments in addition to those agreed for the trader’s main obligation, unless the consumer gave express consent before conclusion of the contract. 40(2) says
There is no express consent (if there would otherwise be) for the purposes of this paragraph if consent is inferred from the consumer not changing a default option (such as a pre-ticked box on a website).

I'm not sure if this online renewal counts as an additional payment, though. My younger brother is a law student but he wasn't sure.

dls wrote:First and above all, well done in finding the apparently appropriate regulation. It is substantial progress.

Now ask yourself where you will find a lawyer in England whose charges would make it worth understanding it and explaining it to a court.

I have to say that the entire paragraph devoted to the fact that it will renew does not suggest an attempt to mislead.

I don't plan to sue them, I just want to write a coherent email that makes some legal sense pointing out why I think their practice is legally questionable. I guess it probably won't work but I'd prefer it if they refunded me than if I charge back with my card company. It's a matter of principle and I'd like them to recognise the law.

As far as I've gathered, it doesn't matter whether they attempt to mislead people, but whether the contract in any way, including overall presentation, deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer. The fact that so many people have been caught out and the company has a template email for responding to complaints (with a link to the screenshot of the renewal notice) suggests consumers are frequently being deceived in effect, and the company knows it. Still, it's not certain. My brother (law student) says it's a good argument, but not conclusive.
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