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The topic of this page is "Continuous Service", which probably sounds like a pretty good idea when it comes to your internet connection.

In this context, continuous service doesn't provide any more assurance that there won't be unscheduled interruptions in service, but just the fact that you don't have to re-order your service every month. Of course, you've probably already authorized continuous service for several things: local phone service, cable tv, water, and electricity, for instance.

You may have also signed up for a related form of marketing, the negative option plan, if you joined a book or CD club. In these plans, you're notified of a product that will be shipped and billed to you unless you tell them that you don't want it. The FTC has created some special rules that apply to this.

However, there's a new, potentially pernicious form of continuous service, that's being credited to Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline. The FTC hasn't developed any special rules for this new approach to dipping into your wallet.

Continuous Service: the New Deal

While you're probably glad that you don't have to remember to call up the electric company and renew your electricity every month, you might feel less happy about having other products and services provided every month automatically.

With your utilities, and most other forms of "continuous service", you receive a separate bill and have to send in your payment. Businesses have found that, by making the form of that bill less conspicuous, and piggy-backing the charges on some other bill, consumers are likely not to notice the charge. Some kinds of bills that they do this with are:

The pièce de resistance, however, is to overcome consumer objections to signing up for continuous service. Possible ways to do this are:

Read about people's ContinuousServiceExperiences web search for ContinuousServiceExperiences (don't forget to add your own).

Related links:

Topic ContinuousService . { Edit | Ref-By | Attach | Diffs | r1.4 | > | r1.3 | > | r1.2 | > | r1.1 }
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Revision r1.4 - 01 Jun 2001 - 20:34 by EliMantel web search for EliMantel
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