Porn Membership Websites Face New Troubles in California

Porn Membership Websites Face New Troubles in California

You ever joined a website only to find yourselves having to jump through hoops to try and cancel the subscription?

A new law that went into effect on July 1st is about to make your life a whole lot easier but that’s not good news for some online porn websites.

The legislation,  California Senate Bill No. 313, covers “any business that makes an automatic renewal or continuous service offer to a consumer in this state,” which includes a lot of things including meal services, subscription boxes, even streaming services. But most notably also memberships to pornographic websites – really anything where you subscribe online.

The new law stipulates that if you subscribe online you are also allowed to cancel it online. In other words, you can no longer be forced to call a customer service phone number to stop the service, a task that is usually much more frustrating and time-consuming than signing up in the first place.

The bill also deals with trial memberships, which is especially relevant to porn because most porn membership sites offer an initial trial membership of some kind. The bill requires more transparency in how companies present these promotional offers.

For example, if they lure in users with a free trial, then they also need to include a “clear and conspicuous explanation” in the offer of how much customers will be charged after the trial ends or if the pricing will change. It also needs to tell you how to cancel (and actually allow you to do so) before you are charged.

If you sign up for a subscription at a promotional or discounted price that is only valid for a certain amount of time, the company must get your consent again before charging your debit or credit card when the price returns to its normal rate.

Some industry insiders say this bill basically kills the cross-sale market, but some argue that practice has been dying off now for a while anyway. Cross-sales, for those that don’t know, are those special offers you get when you join website a, offering you a special deal of some kind if you also accept a membership to website b.

California wants website operators and most importantly, billing companies to make these offers more clear and transparent. They seem to want there to be no room for confusion in the consumer’s mind what they are signing up for.

Only time will tell how this will play out in the adult industry and what changes it may force us all to make.

 

3 Replies to “Porn Membership Websites Face New Troubles in California”

  1. Karmafan

    Sounds like a great law for consumers and bad law for shady companies.

    Now they need to pass laws to put the motherfucking robocall companies out of business. They are like a modern day plague on consumers.

  2. Mike South

    In my not so humble opinion this is past due….and I’m glad to see it didn’t target adult but all companies that do recurring billing. and I’m with KarmaFan now lets rein in the robocalling

  3. spawn777

    I feel like most of the bigger companies already met this criteria (online cancellation – albeit through the billing companies). The only read part of this with teeth might be the 2nd consent rule, especially if it is required between the trial period and the actual subscription.

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