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Keep compliant with rules on subscription services

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WITH PREDICTABLE revenue streams, it is understandable why a subscription business is attractive. Recent years have seen the launch of innovations such as monthly recipe boxes, coffee pods or health products, with numerous digital apps adding to established subscription services such as magazines.

As yet, there is no prescribed ‘subscription law’ but this area of business could be the focus of more regulation in the future.

“Now is a good time to audit your terms and conditions to ensure that your business is compliant and protecting your consumers as it should,” says Tom Bodkin pictured, a commercial solicitor with law firm Borneo Martell Turner Coulston in Northampton. “Taking some pre-emptive steps now will ensure you are ready for any regulatory changes and will put you one step ahead of your competitors.”

The government is currently looking into tightening up laws around subscription models with a focus on protecting consumers. The aim is to capture as wide a range of subscription businesses as possible and introduce changes to three key areas:

  • Pre-contract. There is expected to be more specific requirements that businesses will need to make consumers aware of before any contract is entered into. This will extend to making auto-renewals more of a choice.
  • Renewal In addition to more prescriptive changes requiring businesses to connect with the consumer before any renewal, the government is looking at putting the onus on business owners to monitor and be pre-emptive in cancelling inactive subscriptions.
  • Cancellation The focus is on making the process as simple as possible for consumers, with the onus on the business owner to take steps to be compliant.

While rthese changes are not yet law and the proposals could change further, it highlights the key considerations and steps a business can take to make your subscription model more consumer friendly.

How we can help

Getting your subscription business set up correctly, or to keep it running properly, requires compliance across a span of legal issues. Borneo Martell Turner Coulston has a strong team of experts in its commercial team who provide comprehensive advice to help you navigate an area of law that is coming under more and more scrutiny.

For an informal discussion, contact Tom Bodkin in the corporate and commercial team on 01604 622101 or email .  Borneo Martell has offices in Northampton and Kettering.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

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