Be careful with ‘Free Trials’ offers

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This post is inspired and requested by a friend, who recently claimed he got conned, as he may put it.  It was yesterday when he called me up, inquiring about how he was suddenly charged RM409.99 for a premium service he never subscribed.

I asked him about the app which charged him such an elaborate amount of money, and made some investigation.

The app was Tune In Radio, and it offers a one year premium service at RM409.99 after much digging.  To be honest, I found it rather weird that the app doesn’t show how much their premium service cost, until you actually decide to go premium.

Tunein radio looks very promising and professional

I may be wrong about this, but my checks on the website also revealed no payment plans. – In fact, using the service on the web browser is free, and I only knew about the premium service if I decided to go premium, and even then, I didn’t know how much it would cost.

That said, the only way to know how much they would charge for the premium service is by clicking ‘Start your free trial’ as you can see below.

The subscription offer by tunein app

A 30 days FREE trial offer as seen above sounds very tempting and most of us would assume that if we once the free trial ends, we would not be charged, and that a warning would prompt us if we wanted to pay for the premium service.

With that in mind, one would be quick to click on the ‘subscribe’ button as you can see below, despite seeing the RM409.99 price tag because you know, our hearts already bunga-bunga excited want to test something awesome.

 

The pricing is only noted when you want to authorize payment. The word ‘FREE’ can be confusing.

However, note that, clicking the ‘subscribe’ button means two things, which is that you are agreeing to subscribe to the services once the trial ends, and that you are likely going to have a lot of difficulty trying to cancel your subscription once you have been charged.

Such method isn’t exclusive to TuneIn Radio, as a lot of subscription based services, especially those offering ‘Free trials’ do the same, causing unsuspecting customers to unintentionally subscribe to their service, only to realize so when they check their credit card statements.

In the Play Store’s terms and conditions, it is also legal to charge for subscription without prior warning, as you can see below, the terms clearly states that “If you don’t cancel, you will be automatically billed for the subscription at the end of the trial period.

Excerpts from Google Terms.

A friend of mine unfortunately, was one of those victims, and while I note he is angry, there’s little he can do.

So this blog post is to create an awareness such ‘cheeky’ methods do exist, and one should be really careful before clicking the ‘free trial’ button.

Jangan cakap abang tak payung. 

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