Scholars Draft Model Law Protecting Consumers in the Subscription Economy

June 11, 2024

The Center congratulates our friends and partners Professors Kaitlin Caruso of the University of Maine School of Law and Prentiss Cox of the University of Minnesota Law School for publishing a novel comparative analysis of laws governing the "subscription economy." Their forthcoming article "Silence as Consumer Consent: Global Regulation of Negative Option Contracts," to be published in the American University Law Review, is now available on SSRN. Professors Caruso and Cox presented an earlier version of this paper at our 2024 Consumer Law Scholars Conference.

Subscription-based services with automatic renewals have exploded in recent years, and they often trap consumers in agreements that are easy to sign up for but seemingly impossible to cancel. (The Federal Trade Commission is finalizing a regulation on this very issue here in the United States.) Professors Caruso and Cox have surveyed the emerging international landscape of laws regulating so-called "negative option contracts"--the type of legal contract used by subscription services that, once signed by a consumer, continue until the consumer actively opts to cancel it--and they propose a model law that would afford greater substantive protections for consumers. Check their article out here!