Users of online subscriptions will be protected from sudden debiting of money

Users of online subscriptions will be protected from sudden debiting of money

Anton Nemkin
© Alexander Kryazhev/RIA Novosti

Telecom operators and digital services will be required to remind users that they have a paid subscription, at least a day before the next write-off of funds. The corresponding bill is planned to be submitted to Parliament in the spring session. This was told to “Parliamentskaya Gazeta” by its developer, a member of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications Anton Nemkin.

Notifications won’t escape your eyes

– Anton Igorevich, the development of the bill began in 2022. You have already said that at the stage of discussion it had to be adjusted taking into account the requests of the business. Can you tell me what those adjustments were?

– We suggested, for example, notifying users one day before debiting funds and immediately in the same message indicate a link to disable a paid subscription. Because you yourself, I think, have noticed: in order to subscribe to some services, there are no problems, but in order to unsubscribe, sometimes you need to make ten clicks, or even more. Businesses expressed their concerns to us about this. According to them, the constant recommendation to users to refuse paid services will lead to a reduction in the customer base. They can be understood: indeed, there are those who deliberately use gaps in the legislation in order to extract more money from users, and there are those who, perhaps, do not know about them or use them unintentionally. In this situation, it is better to try to somehow soften the requirements, to bring them to a form that would suit everyone, than to accidentally punish one guilty and nine innocents. Therefore, in the new version of the law, instead of a reference to a refusal, it is proposed to place a link to a detailed text, which will describe all the terms of the subscription: the amount of regular payments, their frequency, and so on.

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– The same telecom operators use different channels to communicate with users. For example, notifications you insist on may be sent through chatbots or apps where not everyone will see them. Is this included in the bill?

– Now our main task is to build a model. Carefully analyze how the work with the user is built at a particular company, through which channels notifications are sent, which mechanisms are involved in subscribing, debiting funds and closing it. You are absolutely right – some companies may well try to send these notifications, which we prescribe, somehow hide, disguise, transfer to applications or chat bots so that they somehow get past the user. So we will define a universal and, most importantly, a single channel of communication for all in order to make it as open, accessible and visual as possible. What it will be – sms, push notifications, something else, I can’t say yet.

Don’t support cheaters

– The number of “sleeping customers” – those who once signed up for a subscription, and then simply forgot about it, according to various sources and for different companies, is estimated at 10-15 percent. These are tens of millions of rubles. When companies lose them, will they try to compensate by raising the price of their services for other users?

– You see, several points of view are possible at once on any situation. We, deputies, are obliged first of all to represent the interests of citizens. And these interests are clearly violated as a result of the activities of private companies. If someone, by some incomprehensible and not quite consistent with the law, increased his revenue by 200-300 million rubles, should we take care that he does not lose this money in any case? I think not, because our compatriots are losing them. In addition, I did not hear such forecasts or concerns from the companies themselves when we discussed the bill with them. So I don’t think people have anything to worry about.

– When, in your opinion, the bill can be adopted?

– I believe that in the near future we will make all the necessary adjustments and the law will be adopted in the spring session.


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