QVprod wrote: ↑
07 Nov 2021
That aside, if you choose to subscribe to something for a lower rate knowing
that the rate will change the next month, it's on that person to keep track of their own finances. We're all adults, or at least I'd assume most people with credit/debit cards are. There are even tools to help manage these things if one needs help.
I did the Netflix trial several times before committing to it, as they kept offering it again. Sure it was free, but it still required card info. I didn't blame Netflix the one or two times I forgot to cancel. It's not like we're talking about hidden fees. Not speaking for or against the model, but it's pretty normal for subscription services to do this.
As much as it is everyone's responsibility to ensure they don't leave their doors open and whatnot, we are all of limited capability to do so. There's a reason why something like 48-62% of people who sign up for "free trials" forgot to cancel or didn't realise.
It's part of my job to know why this happens and to prevent it (when desired). However, many companies seek to deceive unsuspecting victims into making an unintended purchase/subscription and are happy to fight against a refund, even if they requested it within minutes of being charged for a 1-year subscription.
There is an extraordinary imbalance in knowledge and power here. You as an individual, no matter how hard you try, will never be able to protect yourself from every form of manipulation.
It could be stealth bank charges that make use of obscure rules of law and technicalities that can lead to you incurring exorbitant amounts of charges you will never be able to afford or pay. Just a few generations ago, the trick was company towns
that were nigh impossible to escape!!!
The fields are fairly well-established, and we've known since the 70s/80s how fragile human cognition is and easy it is to manipulate. Many of those practices are used by marketing and media companies to manipulate us in ways that were unimaginable barely 100 years ago.
When it comes to "free trials" that are really subscriptions, it's often used as an underhand tactic to trick people into making an unintended purchase, and is a practice that should always be frowned upon.
Rand Europe: 'Examining misleading online free trials and subscription traps experienced by European consumers' wrote:Background
: Misleading 'free' trial or test offers that subsequently trap consumers into subscriptions to purchase the test product or services are a persistent malpractice affecting many online consumers across Europe.
For the digital products, where subscription information was very large and quite clearly marked, only about 42 to 45 per cent of respondents noticed the fee (and they reported that around 54 per cent of others would notice the fee information).
I do like how RS did this, however, as charging $1/mo puts consumers on a higher alert to that the fact they are subscribing is more explicit. There were a few threads asking about this with the 333 promo.
They could improve it a little by allowing users to cancel the subscription after the trial. Not doing so greatly increases the likelihood of a few unintended purchases. Their decision to not do so signals to me that they might want unintended purchases.
Regardless of how "adult" or responsible a person is, any company that seeks to trick people into making unintended purchases should be frowned upon.