You might think this was outlawed in Canada after Rogers Cable tried to get customers to pay for new specialty TV channels in 1995, unless they said they didn’t want them. There was a huge uproar and Rogers backed down.
In fact, the federal government never passed a law to get rid of this marketing practice. So, federally-regulated banks and telecom firms can sign you up for products and services you didn’t ask for and keep billing you for them.
Are you still paying for credit card balance insurance or telephone calling features that were supposed to be free for a few months? If you don’t say no, you’re on the hook. The onus is on you to opt out.
The Ontario government did pass a law in August 2005 to outlaw negative option billing, but it applies only to contracts signed after that date. Suppose you have a long-standing furnace protection plan or fixed-price natural gas plan. Unless you take specific action to get out when the contract expires, the company will roll it over for another year.
Health and fitness clubs may also indulge in this practice. They insist that you pay with automatic debits from a credit card or bank account, so they can keep deducting your payments long after your contract is up.
Pay attention to your bills and don’t let marketers “opt you in” by your inaction.