Los Angeles Times

Consumer Confidential: In 'membership economy,' automatic renewals favor businesses more than consumers

Enrique Klapp received an email the other day informing him that his subscription to Norton 360, an internet security service, had been automatically renewed for another year at a cost of $109.99.

The only problem: His subscription doesn't expire until next month. And he wasn't sure if he wanted it to continue.

Klapp's experience might seem small in the grand scheme of things. But automatic subscription renewals have become a key aspect of what's been called the "membership economy" - a commercial system based on locking people in to never-ending customer relationships.

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