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When my Stadia free trial period was over, Google showed me what all subscriptions should look like when charging us

We are immersed in the subscription era, a fact that leads us to even some fatigue. It's really not that new considering how non-digital direct debits have worked so far, but the free trial period is more recent.

These tests, which are so appreciated, are alsoand become the worst enemies of many users who do not sign up on the day the period ends and the first month begins to be charged, quarter, semester or year. Except for the fact that there are already companies that are doing well. This is what I learned and was very grateful for in the last days of my Stadia subscription, when I received a notice that it was about to end.

Google as an example of good practice with subscriptions

Google One

Example of notice with Google One, before an annual subscription is charged.

As I was saying, I purchased a trial month of Stadia Pro on December 12 to test 'Cyberpunk 2077' in 4K on the platform. And I did not write down the date that Google passed me the first payment. But that didn't matter, because Google sent me this message six days from the collection date:

We remind you that your Stadia Pro trial period ends on January 12, 2021. On January 12, 2021, you will be automatically charged the cost of the subscription listed below, unless you cancel it. The amount of taxes is an estimate, and the final amount will be calculated on the date of collection.

As we can see, it is a fairly normal message. But in addition to the warning, there is an interesting detail, and that is that the company mentions "unless you cancel". That is, they remind us that it is an option that we may want to run right now, as I did in fact. It is appreciated.

Google One

Example of a Google One renewal notice before it is charged.

This case contrasts with other mmany subscriptions that do not remind us that they will charge the first installment, or that they never directly notify you that they are going to charge you N days before the payment is due. Since they notify us in many cases that the payment has been made, it would be good if they notified, instead, that in three days it will be charged, in case we want to cancel month by month.

This is something we would appreciate in cases like a recent one involving WIRED magazine and PayPal. Last year, I signed up for an annual subscription for 5 euros, thinking it was a one-time payment. One year later, Nobody has warned me that it was a recurring payment and that, since this price is a promotion, this year I would have to pay 29 euros, as I was billed.

In an era where many services run on subscription, we need better billing practices

Here I could have been warned WIRED, but also I would like PayPal, which was the one who made the payment, to notify days before these occur, since they have the data and manage millions of subscriptions around the world. In addition, they could warn by their application: fast and very direct.

When you cancel a subscription is when you really know the company that charged you

As examples of other companies that carry out good practices of this type, we have Nintendo with Switch Online, Fitbit Premium, Apple, and ING and Mapfre outside the digital world. In my dream model, all services with a trial period would offer it without asking me for payment details. I would be the one who, if I want to continue with them, would pay the first month at the end of the test. But customer conversion would be lower, of course, and there would be no revenue from customers who forget to cancel.

Apple and a bad practice: if you cancel before the end of the trial period, you can no longer enjoy it

Apple Trial Period

Apple also has a good practice of advising that trial periods are ending. However, since Apple Arcade launched (if not before), it has fallen into a practice that I believe can lead to a lot of unintended payments.

It is none other than forcing us to end the trial period if we cancel before the date it will be renewed. In most subscriptions, if we cancel just after signing up for the test, we can continue to use it as long as it lasts, because even if it is free, it is usually considered paid.

Apple, however, play another card. It generally gives long trial periods, but it forces us to cancel them on the last day to enjoy them in full, and of course, there may be customers who get lost and end up paying despite not wanting to renew.

If you have accidentally paid for a subscription, write or call the company, because there is a high% that they will refund the amount

In this sense, a good experience is that both Apple and others return the money if we explain that we have not canceled on time. It happened to my partner with Apple Music, and it has happened to friends with other services. In my case, the WIRED story ended well. I wrote them an email, and after a few days I had the amount in my PayPal balance.