Some things are illegal but hurt no one, while others are perfectly legal while harming vast swaths of the population. The system sometimes leaves us scratching our heads, wondering why the law lets companies get away with unscrupulous activities that cause great harm.
While scrolling through one of my favorite Reddit communities, R/askreddit, I stumbled upon a question asking users to describe legal activities that should be outlawed. Of course, the answers are geared toward scammy behavior our justice system allows big businesses to get away with, but do you think Redditors are wrong?
Here are some of the top responses of things that are perfectly legal but probably shouldn’t be.
Making it Difficult to Unsubscribe
Have you noticed that you can typically subscribe to something with the click of a button online, but unsubscribing takes a certified letter plus six hours on the phone?
Redditors think it should be just as easy to unsubscribe to something as subscribe. “It should be illegal to take longer or more effort to unsubscribe from something than to subscribe,” said one, receiving over 3000 upvotes.
Others said they hate when you jump through all the hoops to unsubscribe but still find yourself paying. “This happened to me with fubo TV!” exclaimed one Redditor. “They charged me for 2 months after I unsubscribed before I caught it.”
A Charge for Transcripts
College is already outrageously expensive, so many think additional charges for things like transcripts should be illegal.
“I applied for a job at my old alma mater,” said one user. “They made me pay a 3rd party to send them their own transcripts to prove to the school that I went to that school.”
“I was charged $15 for an official digital transcript that took a week to be delivered that I was only allowed to download once,” replied another, describing why the cost isn’t related to the price of special security paper and ink.
Sirens in Radio Commercials
We get it; sirens are attention-grabbing. Nothing makes a driver pay more attention to everything around them than hearing the blaze of sirens coming from an unknown direction.
That’s precisely why they’re so dangerous in radio commercials. “I can’t stand sirens in radio commercials, freaks me out every time while driving,” said one user.
Others said any distracting noise should be outlawed from radio airwaves. “Sirens, horn honking, tires screeching, all should not be on the radio,” stated one user. Those sounds are supposed to indicate problems on the road, telling drivers to pay closer attention, but when used for advertisements, they lose their value as essential safety indicators.
Force Clicking Ads
Some websites load ads slower than the content, so when a user goes to click a link on the website, they accidentally click the ad that just loaded instead.
“I’m not 100% sure whether this is intentional or not, but it sure does seem like it,” said one Redditor, describing the phenomena.
As a small website owner, I can guarantee that’s not intentional on my end if it happens. Sometimes things don’t load how you want despite your best efforts, and glitches happen when you’re not a software engineer but trying to maintain a website.
However, web developers from large companies have a different view.
“I’m a web developer and software engineer. I have been asked to implement this “glitch” several times on various large clients’ monetized sites,” claimed one user.
Also Read: 10 Scams We All Accept as Normal
Some Redditors can’t believe nothing has been done to make scammy robocalls illegal. However, some robocalls are, in fact, illegal.
According to the FTC, robocalls are illegal unless you’ve given written permission to the company to call you. If you receive robocalls, you should file a complaint with the FTC and make sure you are on the national do not call registry.
Unfortunately, scammers are going to scam despite the legality of their practices. Most of us no longer answer the phone if we don’t recognize the number.
Congress Owning Stocks
Members of congress can own individual stocks while passing laws that benefit the very companies they own. This form of insider trading is 100% illegal for everyone except congresspeople.
One user earned multiple awards and over 6000 upvotes by stating that “Congress being able to own stocks while passing our laws to benefit their portfolios” should be illegal.
There is currently a bill in debate preventing members of congress and their immediate family members from owning stock, but we doubt it will pass. Legal insider trading is too profitable for congresspeople.
Most users understand that congresspeople should be able to invest but would prefer their investments be held in blind trusts for the duration of their terms, so their legislation wouldn’t be motivated by profits.
Animal cruelty for profit should be illegal. Many people breed dogs in terrible conditions to sell the puppies for outrageous profits. The mothers are forced to produce litters without a break, and all animals are kept in tiny cages until they’re sent to the pet store.
One user mentioned that it actually is illegal in their area, but people illegally breed their dogs and then complain about needing a license. Unfortunately, most places don’t have the funding to go after these small, private puppy mill breeders.
Online Convienance Fees
Companies are going to get their money, one way or another. With the rise of internet banking and online bill payments, many companies have found a clever way to take even more cash from their customers: the convenience fee for paying online.
Many Redditors think this should be illegal. Why should we have to pay extra to pay in the easiest way for everyone?
Others mentioned that the “fee” helps pay for servers, cybersecurity, and other essentials that keep online transactions safe.
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Some parents go too far in exploiting their own kids for profit. Some users said parents shouldn’t be allowed to feature their children prominently in social media and Youtube.
“Parents exploiting their children online via seemingly wholesome family YouTube/TilTok channels,” should be illegal, claimed one user.
“Unlike TV (where there is a finite number of slots), anybody can launch a YouTube/TikTok channel featuring their unable-to-consent young child,” replied another.
Young kids can’t consent to the constant filming, but all too many parents don’t care, making everything about their children’s lives public information. We can only imagine how traumatized these kids will be when they grow up.
Insurance and Healthcare
The healthcare system in the US is despicable. We have to pay insurance companies vast amounts of money to be “covered” but then pay again when we need to see a doctor and fight insurance companies to get out medical bills paid.
“I pay $400 a month for health insurance for my family, and nothing is covered until we meet our $3700 deductible. Health insurance in the US is a scam,” said one user.
“Despite paying nearly $5000 dollars a year, I don’t have the guarantee that a major health issue won’t bankrupt us,” replied another.
Many agreed the system needs to be revamped, and the current model should be illegal. “The profit motive has no business being involved in healthcare,” stated one.
Civil Asset Forfetuire
Did you know that many states and localities allow police officers to seize a person’s assets regardless of whether they’ve committed a crime?
Civil asset forfeiture allows police to seize property and assets, including cars and money, if they think the asset may have been used in a crime. The police then charge the property, rather than the person, with a crime.
Because the property doesn’t have civil rights, they don’t have to follow the same legal definitions of innocent until proven guilty.
The police don’t even have to charge the person. Legal fees and the difficulty in getting the property back make it nearly impossible for some people to fight, and the police then get to keep the money and add it to their own budgets.
“You can get pulled over for no reason, and if you have a large amount of cash on you (for things like buying a used car/boat/atv or maybe you just won it at a casino), they can literally just take it and send you on your way. And no, you won’t get it back,” stated one user.
We Have the Power to Change the System
Do you agree with the Reddit thread that most of these perfectly legal activities should be illegal? We have the power to enact the change we want to see.
Write your congresspeople and tell them how outrageous some of these things are. Support candidates who come out against them. We will only see positive change in the system if we fight for it!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.