Understanding Subscription Billing and Cancellation Laws

Many businesses allow customers to sign up for subscriptions and to have their credit or debit cards automatically billed each month. Consumers often appreciate the convenience and simplicity of these programs, but problems can arise if companies don’t clearly disclose the terms upfront or fail to explain how customers can cancel their subscriptions.

How Some Companies Have Exploited Consumers

While most businesses that use a recurring billing model operate ethically, some have taken advantage of consumers. In some cases, companies didn’t clearly explain the terms of their billing agreements or it made it difficult for consumers to opt-out or cancel memberships. In other instances, businesses offered customers a free or low-cost trial to give them an opportunity to try the company’s product or service before committing to a membership, but then the companies automatically billed customers when the trial memberships ended without explaining that to customers when they signed up.

Legal Changes to Protect Consumers

Those sorts of practices prompted class action lawsuits and changes to both federal and state laws to help customers make informed decisions and avoid being confused, deceived, and exploited. The Federal Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) prohibits businesses from making recurring charges simply because a customer didn’t opt out; a customer must explicitly opt-in. The terms of an agreement must be explained before a customer provides billing information, and a customer must be told how to cancel recurring charges.

Several states have passed their own laws that clearly explain what information about subscriptions must be disclosed to consumers, as well as when and how it must be disclosed. During the membership sign-up process, a business must prominently and conspicuously display a notice that explains the terms of the agreement in a way that is easy to understand. Some state laws require companies to make it easy for consumers to cancel trial memberships, while others require consumers to opt-in after a free trial ends before a company can bill a credit or debit card.

Get Professional Help Running a Subscription Service

Subscription billing is convenient for both businesses and consumers, but unfortunately, some companies have used unscrupulous practices to take advantage of customers, which led to a series of laws designed to protect consumers. If you want to use subscription billing, it’s important to understand and follow all applicable laws. Subscription DNA stays on top of legal changes and can help your company process automatic payments and comply with state and federal rules. Contact us today to learn more. 

Subscription Services Continue Upward Movement

For most consumers today, subscription services are quickly becoming the norm. Even for those who aren’t looking for monthly curated boxes, services like Amazon Prime, Spotify, and even InstaCart have made dedicating a monthly subscription fee to have convenience more of a norm than ever before.

One new report uncovered that the subscription economy has moved beyond just products and is also playing a key role in businesses. Here, access to services and digital tools are making it easier to increase productivity and for businesses of all sizes to compete in today’s landscape.

Still, the consumer side is also looking bright for subscription services. A survey conducted by Clutch uncovered that online shoppers today are taking advantage of subscription boxes from top brands with more than half of online shoppers surveyed for their research (54%) saying they already subscribe to a subscription box service. Benefits including a desire for convenience to new, fresh experiences are just some of the reasons why the subscription culture is thriving.

The top 3 subscription services for consumers according to their survey are:

  • Dollar Shave Club
  • Ipsy
  • Blue Apron

These companies ranked highly in terms of additional benefits offered to a consumer outside of just providing a monthly box of goodies. Things like regular replenishment, access to extra perks for being a subscription customer and curation benefits of new items to try – all ranked as the top reasons for their choice.

If you’re a business looking to get in on the subscription economy, trust Subscription DNA to help you save time, money and make the transition an easy one. Our enterprise cloud billing and membership management software means you can automate the recurring billing process and gain access to administrative tools you need to manage your customers.

GET IN TOUCH TODAY!

Cloud Billing to Continue Steady Growth in 2023

The cloud billing market is increasing in popularity today for businesses across the globe. In addition to benefits such as improved security and mobility, users are using the services to meet compliance requirements and have access to modern business tools not offered with traditional billing software. 

According to the latest research findings, the cloud billing market is expected to reach  $23100 million USD by the end of 2023. This represents a CAGR of 23.9% from 2017. 

We won’t go into too much depth about how businesses can easily cut costs and simplify processes with cloud billing since we cover it in- depth in most of our blog posts, but we wanted to specifically cover the key features offered from Subscription DNA that provide a competitive advantage for businesses looking to make the move to the cloud. 

Our Subscription Cloud Billing Platform is designed specifically for the unique needs of subscription-based businesses. 

We understand that many of these are new start-up and small or growing businesses so we offer different package options to meet those needs. Factors including the number of subscribers, how much the subscription costs and other transaction agreements are used to ensure you’re getting the best cost for services. 

The great benefit of the cloud of course is that as you grow, your billing services can too.

We offer so much more than just a platform to process billing. You also get automation tools for sign-up, subscribing and expiring users of your services, you can set-up recurring billing, and have secure token payment options. 

You’ll also gain access to our reporting tools to quickly mine and analyze data, send out email auto responses, and more.

Want to learn more? We’d be happy to chat with you about all the benefits cloud billing can bring to your business model. Give us a call today! 

Subscription Services News Round-up

subscription service

The subscription services market continues to grow rapidly across the globe and across industries. What started out mostly as a service for consuming online media content has transformed over time to include a myriad of different services and solutions that can be “subscribed” to. Today we’re seeing everything from monthly boxes curated with snack options to regularly replenished shaving razors and cars- yes even cars on subscription plans.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the latest headlines making news in the subscription services world.

Apple Announces Arcade Video Game Subscription Service

The official launch of Apple’s Arcade video game subscription service was announced during the iPhone 11 Keynote and it also showcased some new games that will be available once it’s live including Frogger, Ballistic Baseball, Pac-Man Party Royale and others. The subscription will be much like Xbox Game Pass and available for $4.99 a month to get access to games on any Apple device.

Google Answers with its Own Gaming Subscription Service

Just days after Apple introduced the above-mentioned gaming subscription service its rival Google responded with the launch of its own Google Play Pass gaming service that includes 350 games and apps for Android. As a $4.99 monthly subscription service, customers will get access to different games and apps for playing gaming to editing photos and more.

Volvo is updating its Existing Vehicle Subscription Service

The vehicle subscription service market is still new but automakers like Volvo are already tweaking and modifying their offerings to make it more appealing for consumers and dealers. Part of the updates includes the ability for consumers shopping a dealer lot to buy a car right there to begin the subscription program instead of having to wait for a specific order for the car. They are also adding more crossovers and wagons to the line-up in hopes to reach a wider demographic.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on all things subscription services. Be sure to check back and bookmark the blog. If you’d like to learn more about Subscription DNA and what we can provide to help with billing, invoicing management for subscription-based services, and more – get in touch today!

Younger Americans Are the Perfect Demographic for Subscriptions

It’s not a secret that young Americans of the millennial generation are in different financial straits than their parents. Many of them have thousands of dollars of student loan payments – which necessitates hefty monthly bills – so they’re not making large purchases such as homes and vehicles at the same rate that older generations did. Instead, they’re looking for goods and services they can pay for monthly. For this reason, young people are driving what’s becoming known as the subscription economy.

Why Subscriptions?

Since younger people don’t have the lump sums for large payments, they prefer to buy on a month-to-month basis. In fact, 92 percent have active subscription services, according to a recent survey conducted by Vantiv and Socratic Technologies. According to recent data from the Consumer Technology Association, music and video streaming services alone are projected to generate close to $32.3 billion in revenue in 2020. Add in everything else younger Americans are buying by subscription such as clothing, cosmetics, wine and beer, shaving supplies, musical instruments, and even cars, and the potential of subscription selling becomes enormous.

For these younger Americans, the subscription economy offers an option that’s simple, predictable, recurring and tailored for them. It’s probable that as this generation ages and becomes more financially secure, their subscription habits will likely stay with them. For this reason, it makes sense for companies to marketing subscription services towards the millennial generation for the long term.

How Do Subscriptions Benefit Your Business?

One of the biggest benefits of a subscription model is more regular and predictable cash flow. For smaller businesses or new businesses, the subscription model provides an opportunity to compete with larger or better-established companies. With an understanding that young American consumers are the highest adopter of subscription services, companies should be placing marketing dollars towards that demographic today to ultimately increase company value. It’s vital, however, to have an effective infrastructure for subscription management in place.

Look for a Dedicated Subscription Management Platform

Subscription DNA’s subscription management software is ideal for small businesses, and features group enrollment tools and group communications, email marketing automation, cloud billing automation and payments, intuitive membership management, CRM and premium content and paywall management. Your customers can even log in and manage their own accounts right from your Web site.

Even small businesses just beginning to use the subscription model can quickly and easily build the type of community that keeps subscription customers engaged, interested and loyal.

Contact Subscription DNA to learn how you can market to, communicate with and support younger consumers.