Canceling a Service and Libertarianisn

I hope I don't misunderstand what a libertarian is and confuse it with a laissez-faire capitalist, but whenever someone tries to lecture me about how businesses would fare better without regulation, I just want to tell them: try to cancel a service that you've signed up for with recurring billing.

I've just been canceling some subscriptions, and my god, do otherwise reputable businesses make it ridiculous hard to cancel. There's every motivation for them to put you off and make it hard, but jesus on a stick! There is some regulation that covers canceling recurring billing, most on a state-to-state level as I understand it, but there's nothing that requires specific procedures, so you could call cancelation unregulated.

I was trying to cancel my Sirius service, and went through the phone tree to someone who told me I had to call back and go through the tree again. I asked her if she could transfer me. She said no, she couldn't. I asked her what option it was on the tree; she said "5." I said, I went through four levels of phone tree--"5" on what level? She didn't know.

When I finally got through, I was put on hold for 10 minutes, then a person came back and said the cancellation department was unavailable, and then told me several times that my account number wasn't valid until I demanded he enter it, at which point it was magically valid. (The account number was in an email sent to me by the company.)

Yeah, businesses can just regulate themselves because their interests will always coincide with consumer's interests.

I would push for legislation that requires symmetrical cancellation: any method I use to subscribe should be available to cancel. If I have a Web account, I should be able to click and cancel at my desire. A newspaper archive service I subscribed for a month required a phone call, fax, or snail mail letter to cancel. When I tried to fax, the fax number they provided was invalid. I had to contact them to get a fax number to cancel.

This is why we have consumer-protection agencies.

(A little later) By contrast, I found a feedback form for account issues on XM Radio's site, asked them to cancel my account, and within a few hours received confirmation that they have done so.