You can sign up for cable and Internet service with just a few clicks: voilà, they're all up in your bank account like out-of-network ATM charges.
But when it comes time to sever this relationship, it's more difficult than your last breakup. We're talking Fatal Attraction here.
Los Angeles area state Assemblyman Mike Gatto wants it to be as easy to cancel cable and Internet as it is to sign up. So he's proposing a law.
Now if he would only extend the proposal to cover online magazine subscriptions, gym memberships and any other Internet-enabled payment agreements that leach off your bank account.
AB 2867 "would require a cable or Internet service provider that enables an individual to subscribe to its services through an Internet web site to also enable those customers to cancel their subscriptions through the Internet web site," according to the language of the proposal.
Simple as that.
Gatto was inspired, in part, by the experience of podcaster Ryan Block, who posted an eight-minute clip of his nightmarish, telephonic attempt to cut off financial relations with Comcast.
"Two years ago my wife and I called to cancel our service, and as is usually the case, that call was pretty unpleasant," he said. "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."
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It seems like we've all been there.
"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," Gatto's office said in a statement.
Way to turn lemons into lemonade. Here's hoping cable industry lobbyists don't nip this bill in the bud. Gatto:
There are times when we, as the Legislature, need to step in to protect consumers and make people’s lives a little easier. This is one of those times.