FTC says "click to subscribe, call to cancel" is illegal

Have you ever tried to cancel a SiriusFM subscription? You have to call them on the phone and beg a skilled retention specialist. That's if you can even talk to someone on the phone. I once tried for weeks to cancel my SiriusFM subscription but I could never reach a live person to help me. I'd get placed on hold for 45 minutes and the phone line would go dead. I finally paid a service that specialized in canceling SiriusFM subscriptions to do it for me.

Comcast is the same way — remember when former editor-in-chief of Engadget Ryan Block tried to cancel his Comcast service and the retention specialist gave him such a hard time that Block recorded the last 8 minutes of the infuriating call? (My blood boiled relistening to this recording.)

If you live in California, the execrable "click to subscribe, call to cancel" practice has been banned since 2018. And now, the FTC has declared it to be illegal in all 50 states.

One company that still doesn't want to play by the rules is The New York Times. Sarah Scire of NiemanLab writes:

When I checked — more than a week after the FTC announced it planned to crack down on companies who don't make it easy to cancel — The New York Times still requires me to talk to someone to unsubscribe, either by starting a live chat or by picking up the phone. (Update: The New York Times says digital news-only subscribers can now cancel via their "Account" page. If you receive a print edition or subscribe to the news product and Cooking or Games or Wirecutter, the live chat or phone call remain your only options.)