Yoga app accuses Apple of pushing subscription auto-renewals

Yoga app accuses Apple of pushing subscription auto-renewals


Down Dog's email complaint
The message sent to Down Dog by Apple.
Photo: Down Dog

Another developer is speaking out about Apple’s controlling behavior in the App Store by saying it had an app update rejected because it refused to auto-charge users for its service following a free trial.

“[Apple] can choose to steal from their customers who forget to cancel, but we won’t do the same to ours,” yoga app Down Dog wrote in a recent tweet, saying that this is a line it would not cross.

In follow-up tweets, the app-makers gave a bit more context. “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,” the creators of Down Dog note.

They say that this is “particularly bad” because Apple employs tactics like requesting that users cancel at least 24 hours before the end of a trial if they do not want to be charged. They also claim that Apple makes it difficult to find the cancellation options in its settings.

The latest App Store complaint

This latest complaint about Apple’s App Store behavior comes at an important time for Apple. Recently, email app developers Hey accused the company of behaving like “gangsters” by allegedly threatening to remove its app from the App Store if it didn’t selling its premium subscription through Apple’s platform. This would give Apple a cut of its profits.

Apple has since said that it will no longer deny developers the ability to update their apps if there are minor rule infringements such as this. Apple has also implemented new policies to allow developers to challenge decisions.

Meanwhile, Apple’s App Store control has triggered an antitrust investigation in Europe. Apple may face a similar investigation back home in the U.S. as well.

What’s your view of the way Apple runs the App Store? Is it abusing its power or should it be free to implement whatever rules it sees fit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.