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Women aged 50 to 64 most at risk from subscription traps

Women aged 50 to 64 are most at risk from subscription traps offering health and beauty related products, according to the latest subscription trap survey by Citizens Advice.

Subscription traps are used for a wide variety of goods and services, but most of the problems are encountered with health and beauty products such as slimming pills and products as well as face and skin creams.

Subscription traps are where consumers are misled into subscribing to goods and services mainly advertised online via social media or pop-up ads. Consumers are usually enticed into subscribing by the offer of a free trial, a reduced rate trial or sample goods where they only have to pay for postage and packing by debit or credit card. The consumer's card details are used to take recurring payments for a subscription using a continuous payment authority or CPA. The terms and conditions of the offer often don’t make this clear and bury key information in lengthy or unclear terms and conditions.

The survey also highlights that as many as 2 million consumers in Great Britain have had a request to cancel a CPA for subscription declined by either the company or their bank/card provider.

One of the most surprising aspects of the survey’s findings is over 16.8 million consumers in Great Britain signed up to a subscription service using a CPA, between June 2015 and June 2016, but awareness of how to cancel a CPA remains low, and only 1 in 5 GB adults knows the difference between a CPA and direct debit.

Clearly a lot more work needs to be done to raise awareness of the problem of subscription traps among consumers. You can read more about the work being done to prevent consumers falling foul of the subscription trap problem here.

You can read the Locked in survey report here.