Ever get a bill in the mail or online from a service you thought was just a one-time deal? You're not alone.

  WA State AG says 59% of residents 'dinged' by these charges

The WA State Attorney General's office released information Monday, October 10th, revealing that 6 in 10 residents who were surveyed say they've been hit with surprise charges.

 The study, conducted in June-July of 2022, surveyed  1,207 respondents about whether they had been subjected to bills or charges they believed they did not sign up for. The study was done statewide.

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AG Bob Ferguson says many residents have unintentionally enrolled in service or subscription plans they thought were one-time only. Those respondents said they had unintentionally enrolled while making what they thought was a one-time purchase. Of those persons, the study broke it down even further (source: AG report)

  • "A majority (51%) cited a pre-checked box as the reason they unintentionally enrolled. 37% did not remember if a pre-checked box was present. 12% reported that a pre-checked box was not present.
  • 63% reported that they unintentionally enrolled in a subscription more than once.  
  • 2.75% reported that they did not cancel the subscription because it was “too difficult to cancel.” 

According to the study, if you expand that percentage of persons who did not cancel because it was too difficult vs. the population of WA state, that would mean probably close to 100K residents are struck with unwanted subscriptions. The report also indicates that 70% of the respondents said that "pre-checked" enrollment boxes should be prohibited.  A pre-checked box requires a buyer to un-check it to avoid being signed up for a subscription.

According to AG Ferguson, this pre-checked box and other issues show that merchandisers are constantly changing their tactics in an effort to confuse consumers:

"This survey reveals that corporations are deceiving Washingtonians into paying for unwanted subscriptions – and consumers want this practice to end."

If you do find yourself in this or any other kind of business dispute situation, you can reach out to the Attorney General's office by clicking here.


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