Negative Option Marketing/Subscription Service

The phrase “negative option marketing” refers to a category of commercial transactions in which sellers interpret a customer’s failure to take an affirmative action, either to reject an offer or cancel an agreement, as assent to be charged for goods or services.  A popular form of negative option marketing is a trial offer structured as a free-to-pay or nominal fee-to-pay conversion plan, wherein consumers receive a good or service for free (or at a nominal price) for an introductory period. They only incur a charge or pay a greater amount if they do not take affirmative action to cancel, reject, or return the good or service before the end of the trial period.

Oath generally will not accept advertising from companies that utilize negative option pricing plans.

Oath will accept, at our sole discretion, advertising from companies utilizing a negative option pricing plan if the advertiser complies with the following guidelines:

  • Discloses material terms of an offer, including a description of the goods or services being offered and their price, in an understandable manner, without making them unnecessarily long or inconsistent;
  • Makes all disclosures clear and conspicuous by placing them directly adjacent to the negative option offer indicating their importance and relevance, and by using easy-to-read fonts and colors;
  • Discloses the offer’s material terms before obtaining consumers’ billing information;
  • Obtains consumers’ express, informed consent to be billed by, for example, having them click “I Agree” and without relying on pre-checked boxes;
  • Provides simple cancellation mechanisms and honors cancellation requests (i.e., has a reliable customer service operation); and
  • Is in good standing with any of the various business ratings organizations (e.g., Better Business Bureau (BBB)).