Thursday, July 2, 2020

App Store Requires Opting Out After Trial Subscription

Down Dog (Reddit, Hacker News):

Apple is rejecting our latest update because we refuse to auto-charge at the end of our free trial. They can choose to steal from their customers who forget to cancel, but we won’t do the same to ours. […]

We’ve experimented with auto-charging trials in the past and they lead to (1) fewer users trying the product (2) a huge number of refund requests by users who forget to cancel and (3) complete disbelief from those users when we explain that Apple won’t allow us to issue refunds.

It’s particularly bad because (1) cancelling a subscription is notoriously hard to find in Apple’s settings (2) Apple requires users to cancel at least 24 hours before the trial is over and (3) their site for requesting a refund often returns an error after logging in!

Nathan Lawrence:

Apple shouldn’t require devs to auto-charge after trials, but this rule exists for a reason: Free trials have historically been a real danger zone and misleading area for online services.

Apple’s system can be just as misleading and messy, but this isn’t just a power grab.


I think auto renewing subscriptions after free trials are generally pretty lousy UX, but Apple isn’t actually against not having those. Apple is against building your own skunkworks setup to make that happen.

Ken Case:

For those who aren’t already aware of this: every one of our @OmniGroup apps has the option to start a free two-week trial which doesn’t automatically convert into any sort of purchase.

I’m so confused about what the rule actually is.

Juli Clover:

Apple is introducing a new in-app purchase server notification system that lets developers know when a customer requests and receives a refund for an in-app purchase, allowing the developer to take an appropriate action, such as revoking the purchased item.

Developers are not involved in Apple’s refund process, which is handled by the company. Prior to now, when a user requested and received a refund for an in-app purchase, developers were not notified about the refund, leading to situations where customers could get a refund for a purchase and keep the in-app purchase.


3 Comments RSS · Twitter

[…] Apple’s Subscription Requirements Continue to Be Confusing for Third-Party Developers […]

Is it still possible to sign up for a trial then immediately cancel it, and the trial still automatically continues until the end? Or is it access to the trial revoked right away? I would hope it's the former. The latter is reprehensible.

Yosef Y Kanner

@Ben G, yes. You can cancel right away and then use it until the end of the Trial Period. Except for your free year of Apple TV+. That gets cancelled right away.

Another thing of note, is that I recently noticed that Apple updated their website. Works much better now, less errors upon sign in.

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