On June 1, 2023, France issued a new decree to their consumer code. Now, businesses in France must include a cancel button on their website and app irrespective of how the subscription or contract was first entered (either self-serve or physically).

What are the terms of the new decree?

According to the decree, businesses must:

  1. Allow customers to terminate their agreement/contract in a few clicks.
  2. Compulsorily must have a “cancel button” on their website and app.
  3. Provide (clearly and legibly) the terms of separation (including information about payment obligations or notice period)
  4. Provide a form for customers to enter details related to their termination (termination date, customer identification, and reason for cancellation).
  5. Provide a termination notice to the customer (either on a particular address or email, as informed by the customer)

All French businesses had to comply with the revised requirements of the Consumer Code by September 1, 2023.

What does it mean for subscription businesses?

The decree aims to simplify cancellations, offer consumers more control over their contracts, and, more importantly, instate measures for the “protection of purchasing power.” It aligns with similar legislation like California’s Automatic Renewal Law and the NY Senate Bill S1475A.

Related read(s):

But if we’re honest, legislation around simplifying cancels solves a persistent issue for vendors and merchants: ‘exit friction.’

In research done in 2021, we found that the cancel button was, by far, the most preferred offboarding route for customers. Not enabling that for your customers unnecessarily penalizes their relationship with you.

Survey on showing cancel method by age

In fact, from our experiences with 6,500+ merchants across the globe, the availability of the online cancel button has very little correlation with increased cancellations. Stretching cancellations is also read as predatory and hurts the long-term prospects of returning business.

Instead, you must treat cancellations as a part of your product experience.

  1. Make offboarding as simple as you’d like your onboarding to be
  2. Try to understand why your customer is choosing to leave
  3. Identify what you can do to flip their decision
  4. Present an offer that they cannot resist
  5. Remind them of the value they would continue to get if they stuck around
  6. If they still choose to leave, clearly and legibly demonstrate the terms of separation
  7. Allow them to go, and keep the door open

In Chargebee, we’ve engineered personalized, customer-focused cancel experiences for truly global businesses headquartered in France (like Agorapulse) or offering services there (like Pret A-Manger).

Here’s how we recommend you build a compliant and effective cancel experience that influences and can turn your customers’ exit decision around –

Build a compliant and effective cancel experience

  1. Ensure the cancel button is prominent and omnichannel (i.e., available on your mobile app, website, or customer portal).
  2. Send customers to geo-targeted cancel pages. It’s more important if you operate or sell across multiple legislatures. Instead of changing the cancel experience for all your customers, you can build separate experiences (compliant with new regulations) for individual regions.

This is easy to configure in Chargebee Retention. In this case, map a ‘state residence’ field to Chargebee Retention, then create a France audience to route users to using Targeting.

Steps to build a compliant and effective cancel experience.

3. Present a cancel survey to understand customer feedback. In Chargebee Retention, you can build a custom survey, define your questions, and choose if you want the survey mandatory in the Experience Manager.

Survey Reason toggle on Chargebee Retention

To further improve customer experience, you can also engineer your cancel offers to appear as pop-ups depending on the responses collected through the cancel survey.

Since Decree No. 2023-417 warrants that you must present forms to collect contract/subscription-related information upfront, businesses should have the cancel survey appear natively on the cancel page instead of taking users to a new page/interface and minimizing the number of steps required for completion.

You can quickly solve this through the Page Editor, which helps you gain minute control over the elements that appear on your cancel page. You can select if the cancel survey appears on the same page, determine its position, and even configure the ‘entry offers’ once a user hits submit.

4. Present the ROI to reinforce your value proposition. Customers come to the cancel page with a good view of why they want to cancel, not why they signed up with you in the first place. Often, that means a few negative experiences dominate the cancel decision, while the value derived takes a back seat.

This is better managed by pre-displaying activity cards highlighting the accrued benefits of your customers’ relationship with you.

Display image of the activity card that pulls in data through a JS Snippet on the site.

The Activity Cards pull in data through a JS Snippet on the site to exhibit how much value they have already received from your product. You can also set up fallback cards shown to users with low usage.

5. Complying with the new decree requires businesses to also use the cancel page as a point of information on contract termination terms. While this should be easy to achieve as a textual customization to the cancel page, we recommend using a checkbox item to qualify active buy-ins for the customer on their cancellation and reduce future friction on charges.

In Chargebee Retention, this is easily configurable with the “Lower Nevermind” element. It’s typically positioned at the end of the cancellation page, confirming the customer fully understands the loss of canceling their account.

Even though enabling/disabling this is optional, our research also finds that making this a mandatory field increases the overall passive deflect rate.

How does the rule impact the future of cancelation experiences?

As recently as March 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also proposed to mandate the “Click to Cancel” button to make cancellation easier and reduce buyer’s remorse for customers.

If nothing else, this and France’s new Decree No. 2023-417 point to greater legislative supervision on how subscription businesses engage and retain their customers. Simple ‘bait and capture’ models will likely be penalized, not just in terms of eroding customer trust but potentially through administrative action.

Increasing government intervention also empowers customers to demand more straightforward exits in the buying process, which will also increasingly affect purchase decisions. Since this is more or less unavoidable, vendors, merchants, and businesses must also move from simple cancel flows to building engaging cancel experiences.

Focus on conveying information accurately, highlight the benefits of continuing to engage with your business, and use the cancellation point as feedback collection and influence instead of resisting it.

For technology and logistics, trust the decision of the thousands of businesses that believe in Chargebee Retention. Still not convinced, how about you try it (for free) for yourself?