I purchased the insurance cover online, without having to use any phone/landline.

It's now close to expiration, and there's auto-renewal which I have no option to disable. In order to cancel the renewal, I'm forced to call the call center.

One would ask, so what's the problem with this approach?

  1. What if I do not own any mobile/landline device/number?
  2. What if I do not have enough time to wait 30 minutes in the phone queue?
  3. I am forced to effectively "work" for the insurance company by wasting my own time & money.

Is there any consumer protection law stating that if I purchase a service by means A, i should be able to cancel by using at least the same methods (eg: online)?

Update 1:

Jurisdiction: England, United Kingdom.

  • 2
    3 certainly is no problem: you also "work" for a shop if you go through it to pack your own wares into your cart. – Trish Jan 3 at 19:38
  • @Trish There is a difference in your case I came to the shop to procure something, hence I expect to helpmyself. With the insurance auto-renewal, i'm forcefully sold a product without agreeing and then also forced to work for free by having to call. – Cristian E. Jan 3 at 19:44
  • 1
    you had agreed to the auto renewal in your initial contract. – Trish Jan 3 at 19:45
  • What is the relevant jurisdiction? Laws similar to what you describe may exist in some jurisdictions, but I don't think there's a single, universal rule about this. – Kevin Jan 3 at 19:46
  • 1
    @Kevin I nearly said EU, but i just forgot that its England, UK #brexit. – Cristian E. Jan 3 at 19:47

Such a right would only exist if the legislature has created it by some act. Insurance is excluded under the class of covered contracts under The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (see schedule 2), and The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. The only restriction on automatical renewal clauses under Consumer Rights Act 2015 is that the deadline for objecting to renewal cannot be unreasonably early (schedule 2, unfair terms); and in general, the terms may not be vague. Since there is no law restricting a contract from requiring written notice, or telephone notice, or whatever they demand, then it comes down to what the contract says. If it says "you must call", then you must call.

  • 2
    The schedules to the CRA list things that are likely or automatically unfair, but don't preclude other terms being declared unfair as well. – GS - Apologise to Monica Jan 4 at 11:26

First, an answer to the literal question: no there is no law dictating that cancellation must be possible via the same method.

However, I suspect you are really interested in a subtly different question, which is whether you have an alternative. You almost certainly do, which is to write to the company at their registered office (you should be able to find this on their website, but if not you can look them up at Companies House - https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-a-company) stating that you do not want auto-renewal. Be explicit about anything relevant, such as policy number and dates. You don't say why you feel there is no other way to prevent renewal. Is it because your contract explicitly states that the only way is by phone, or simply that the online site provides no mechanism to di it? If they state it explicitly, they may try to enforce that, but I would be surprised if a court upheld it in the face of written instructions. Ensure you leave plenty time between posting your letter and the renewal date. Use first class post (because this is legally presumed to have arrived unless the other side can provide evidence to the contrary), keep a copy, and write down in a note to yourself when and where you posted it as you do it. Anything you write down (on paper!) in this fashion ("contemporaneous notes") a court will find very persuasive (this is because if you produce your note, it means that either you're a liar and a forger, or what is in the note is true, whereas if you just swear to something there's also the possibility that you are mistaken).

And, of course, it's often not enough to have a legal right as the difficulty enforcing it may make it not worthwhile.

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