CA’s New Consumer Protection Law—Should You Care?

California’s legislature passed a new online cancellation law, California Senate Bill 313. This bill effects not only California companies, but may affect many companies located outside of California with customers residing in California. The text of the bill explicitly states that “any business that makes an automatic renewal or continuous service offer to a consumer in this state” shall be subject to this law. It’s plain and simple. If a customer subscribes to a service online, the business must allow the customer (in California) to cancel the subscription online. 

This is a big deal for software companies and subscription packaged goods like Dollar Shave Club. If your company has California customers and you offer a subscription service that is purchased online, you now have to revise your website and/or app to allow for cancellation in a user’s settings or account page. Failure to comply could leave your company subject to pretty stringent liability. The text of the bill explicitly states “a violation of these provisions is subject to enforcement by any available civil remedies, except for specified activities exempt from these requirements.”

ANY AVAILABLE CIVIL REMEDY. Just let the broadness of that phrase sink in. California’s Senate is making sure its residents are receiving strong consumer protections. I know what you’re thinking: “How is a business owner in Texas supposed to know this California law?” You’re not, but we are. That’s why I’m publishing this blog post. 

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