MasterCard puts an end to the Free Trial

MasterCard announced today it was going to make some major changes in regards to those free trials.

The problems with free trials are nothing new. I can remember Seth Warkoski (the man who released the Pamela Anderson sex tape) used to brag that 1 out of every 4 people he charged doesn’t look at their bank statements. He loved to take advantage of the forgetful consumer. He would later get raided by the feds for double and sometimes triple charging clients.

And it all began when they signed up with a “free trial”. 1 out of  4 of those suckers had no idea he was banging their cards for all that money, month after month.

This was way back in around 1999. Things haven’t changed for the better since then. In fact the problem has only gotten worse and not just in porn.

Mianstream sites like make a killing selling people what they think is a single background report for a reduced price of $1.95 but in reality they get billed as much as $30 a month until the consumer figures out how to cancel their membership which isn’t always easy.

In porn, our biggest fuckup isn’t as much the free trial as it is the cross sale. We’ll say join us today and you can get a discounted membership to site B for only XX per month. Only sometimes shady website owners don’t make it obvious and now instead of one membership you have two.

But as far as the new Mastercard policy goes, website owners now have to notify in advance before the free trial expires and the client is billed. This means that website owners will no longer be able to profit from the forgetful consumer.

Here is the official statement from the Mastercard website.

No one wants to be unsatisfied with a physical product after paying for it. For some consumers, a free-trial is a great way to test out a new product and get comfortable with it before making a purchasing decision. And with so many merchants offering free trials for physical products, they’re becoming the new norm.

However, sometimes a free trial can unwittingly turn into a recurring product subscription that is difficult to cancel. These situations can be frustrating and costly for both consumers and their banks.

At Mastercard, we want every commerce engagement to be simple, safe and secure and we are introducing rules for merchants that offer free-trials to make this a hassle-free experience for their consumers. The rule change will require merchants to gain cardholder approval at the conclusion of the trial before they start billing.

To help cardholders with that decision, merchants will be required to send the cardholder – either by email or text – the transaction amount, payment date, merchant name along with explicit instructions on how to cancel a trial. For each payment thereafter, the merchant will have to send a receipt to the cardholder for each transaction by email or text message with clear instructions on how to cancel the service if the consumer so desires.

In addition, all charges that appear on the cardholder’s statement must now include the merchant website URL or the phone number of the store where the cardholder made the purchase.

Free trial offers can be a legitimate and useful way to increase sales and improve consumer satisfaction. The new rules will help in increase transparency and ensure an outstanding experience for cardholders. In addition to these changes, Mastercard cardholders are also covered by our Zero Liability policy which protects them against unauthorized purchases or charges. If a cardholder suspects that a transaction is fraudulent or unusual, we encourage them to contact the bank that issues their card for assistance and more information.

325040cookie-checkMasterCard puts an end to the Free Trial

MasterCard puts an end to the Free Trial

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