Today in local news, Los Angeles Assemblyman Mike Gatto has introduced a bill that would allow Californians to cancel their Internet or cable services online with ‘one click’. The bill, which has no official nickname but I am hereby dubbing ‘Ryan’s Law’ for reasons that will become apparent, takes the following stance:
“AB 2867 allows Californians to conveniently unsubscribe from a service with a simple click of the mouse,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “It just makes sense, that if you are able to sign up for a service online, you should also be able to cancel it the same way.”
Rapid advancements in technology grant consumers a wide variety of cable, internet and phone service products from which they may choose, and while companies make it simple to buy or upgrade services, a cancellation request is usually a prolonged ordeal where customers are sometimes pressured into extending their contracts. AB 2867 provides a convenient and consumer-friendly option for Californians to remove unwanted services without a long phone call.
Sounds great. Cancelling services online can be a pill. Just ask podcast co-host Ryan Block, cited in the Assemblyman’s bill:
In July 2014, Ryan Block, co-host of the MVP with Ryan & Peter Podcast, released an eight minute-clip of his phone call in which he attempted to disconnect his cable services over the phone. His cancellation attempts were repeatedly blocked by the telephone representative, culminating in a very frustrating 18-minute call – an experience that many consumers have encountered. These hassles have even generated a new industry, with startups offering to handle customer service issues on behalf of the consumer, for a fee.
Mr. Block is even quoted in the press release announcing the bill!
“Two years ago my wife and I called to cancel our service, and as is usually the case, that call was pretty unpleasant,” said Ryan Block. “This is why we’re so excited by Assemblyman Gatto’s bill, which would finally allow most customers to be able to cancel their service online, without having to talk to someone whose job is specifically to prevent you from canceling.”
You may recall Ryan’s epic call from last year, which our own John Biggs described as “Kafka-esque”. During the 18-minute call, he encountered a mental barrier of brobdingnagian proportions as the rep contorted the exchange into every possible psychic shape that did not involve allowing him to cancel his service and switch to something that actually worked.
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The call went, as the kids say, viral (though not on Snapchat, which was not yet hailed as our lord and Media Savior). The result is ‘Ryan’s Law’, which could have an enormous impact on the quality of life and mental health of every Californian citizen.
Not bad for Block, who was previously the Editor in Chief of the publication Engadget, which currently squats, gargoyle like, 2 floors above the chair I occupy now. After selling startup GDGT to AOL and becoming a podcaster with the ability to warp the shape of State law with the power of complaint, Block went on to found a stealth startup which obviously has nothing to do with bots.
Now, we have a new rallying cry:
“If you can sign up online, you should be able to cancel online.”
Indeed Assemblyman, indeed.