My Parents moved into a retirement Village and signed up for a Telstra Mobile Dongle Plan for their Internet. After 6 months a $11.99 fee for Apple Music was added to their bill, I reread previous bills to see that is was a 6 month trial which even though it was never used, you had to opt out so now instead of enjoying their retirement they have to spend time on the phone talking to someone they can hardly understand or go to the local Telstra Shop and make a booking to be seen in 2 to 3 hrs . Most businesses I know just turn you off after the trial, probably give you friendly reminders etc but thats OK. Maybe I’m just a grouch but I’m also a Telstra Shareholder so am not impressed.
Unfortunately this is a common phenomenon where free trials are connected to automatic paid subscriptions unless one opts out. My cynical side thinks some sellers depend on those neither using nor wanting, as well as those enthusiastic about, the ‘product’ might pay for yonks and never notice.
The obvious comment is that one needs to look at the T&C for any ‘free’ trial very carefully. A more dodgy variation I have seen was the free trial tied to an initial paid subscription and the ‘free months’ were at the end of a paid period, but if you cancelled in time you got a complete refund so it was ‘free’.
Not associated with this but, when you buy new computer etc with Windows loaded it comes with microsoft office, but is only a trial, if you don’t pay for full version after 3 months it will automatically lock all your work till you either pay online or buy the same or higher version and install and register it online to unlock your data. I downloaded Open Office and it converted all data before the 3 months locked it, never did pay or buy one, but it took awhile to get microsoft to stop asking for payment to upgrade.
I would suggest that these days, most on-line stuff uses this model of automatically going from the ‘free’ to the paid subscription at the end of the trial. Sometimes the ongoing subscription fee is not even disclosed up front so it comes as a big suprise.
I use the rule that if they ask for your credit card details to sign you up for a ‘free’ trial, I don’t sign up. If it is really free they don’t that information.