Auto-renewal

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This originally came up in another thread but it might be of interest to potential DDI subscribers (I know it was to me ;)):

You must click the box for "auto-renewal" before your subscription can be confirmed (there is no other option given). This means you will automatically be re-subscribed at the end of each billing period . . . unless you cancel the auto-renewal. This is from the DDI FAQ:

How do I turn off stop auto-renew on my subscription?

To stop auto-renew, you will need to fill out a form to contact our billing specialists.

First, make sure that you are logged into the Wizards of the Coast website. Once you have logged in, click here to open the form. You will need to provide your first name, last name, and the last five digits of the credit card used when you purchased your D&D Insider subscription.

In the subject and message fields please indicate that you want to stop the auto-renew feature of your subscription. You should recieve a response within two days of submitting the request.


For customers who want to purchase the three-month or year subscription, auto-renewal shouldn't be too much hassle. They only need to cancel the auto-renew once every few months or every year.

What about customers who only want to buy the single month subscription however, the more occasional subscriber? Will we need to fill out a form each and every time? Is there a simpler, more direct way to handle this? As it is now, there's human interaction to consider and cancellation isn't instantaneous (or guaranteed if human error enters into the equation).

I'd really like to purchase a subscription but I'm uncomfortable with the way this is set up currently. If auto-renewal has to be a part of the deal (like it or not), please consider making cancellation instantaneous, no delay, and no human interaction. Better yet, have an option for it to be avoided altogether. If this can be achieved, I'll be quick to reconsider purchasing a subscription.

[Edit] Here's some more info on auto-renewal (from the FAQ) that may be of interest:

What is auto-renewal and how does it affect my Dungeons & Dragons Insider subscription?

Auto-renewal allows you to sign up for a subscription plan that works for you, and then easily maintain that subscription through each billing period.. This means if you sign up for a month subscription of Dungeons & Dragons Insider, one month from the date that you started your subscription, your credit card will be charged for another month and your subscription will automatically be renewed. This will happen until you decide to turn off your auto-renew.

Auto-renewal Terms and Conditions
By checking the box (when making a D&D Insider order) and providing your credit or debit card billing information, you agree that your product subscription will automatically renew for successive renewal terms, and you expressly authorize and permit Digital River, Inc. (“DR”) to bill each product subscription renewal fee to the credit or debit card you have provided, until you cancel the automatic renewal and billing of your product subscription or DR discontinues the automatic renewal and billing option.

You have complete control over your product subscription and may cancel your auto-renewal at any time. Your order confirmation and confirmation email will include instructions for how to cancel automatic renewal and billing of your subscription. If you discontinue or do not select automatic renewal and billing of your subscription, you must manually renew your subscription to prevent interruption of service. If you do not agree to these terms and conditions, do not check the box, provide your credit or debit card information, or complete this sale.


Notice that there is no way to not select auto-renewal at sign-up (at least not yet); you must select the box before your order is confirmed (no other option is given).

Note you have "complete control over your product subscription and may cancel your auto-renewal at any time". It should also be noted however, that cancelation isn't instantaneous and requires human interaction (there's a chance of human error, at least in my mind).

What is your policy for stopping auto-renewal?

When auto-renew is stopped on monthly subscriptions, they will not be renewed the following month. Annual auto-renew subscriptions that are stopped will not be renewed for another year. Subscribers will continue receiving service for which they have paid.

Stopping auto-renew will not refund any payment that has already been made. It simply makes it so you will not be charged or automatically renewed when your current subscription ends.
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They are losing me with this. I will NOT sign up for a product that takes 10 seconds to take your money and an hour of your work to stop payment. What a crock.
Coercive autorenewal is an unethical business practice.
Coercive autorenewal is an unethical business practice.

Do you mean having it set to autorenew unless you state otherwise?? That's not unethical as long as it is clearly stated, which it appears to be in this case. In addition, having subscriptions be set to auto-renew unless the consumer does otherwise is a pretty standard business practice.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Do you mean having it set to autorenew unless you state otherwise?? That's not unethical as long as it is clearly stated, which it appears to be in this case. In addition, having subscriptions be set to auto-renew unless the consumer does otherwise is a pretty standard business practice.

Some are reporting that if they do not select auto renew, they are not allowed to complete the purchase. That is if you want to buy one month without auto renew the sale will not be processed.

I have not tested this so I do not know if this occurs to everyone that signed up or just some.
Plans are always subject to change.
I absolutely refuse to buy any product that coerces autorenewals.

The intention of autorenewals is to steal money. From people who forget, dont fully understand, or cant face the hassle of trying to stop monetary payments. It is extortion. Especially, in the situation of WotC, where many minors use their parent's credit card to purchase D&D items, it is unethical.

Autorenewal can be an option at the time of purchase for the few who find it a convenience, but it cant be a requirement for the many who must prioritize payments for food and shelter, over D&D.

For myself, I simply dont trust companies that use such tactics, and I wont have my hands tied by them.

Right now Im still in a state of denial. I cant believe that WotC would resort to this kind of tactic. I expect them to correct this "oversight" as soon as possible. If they really do continue to force coercive autorenewals, it will disgust me.
PS,

There were problems with the early phases of the SRD, that many people also felt were unethical. In the end, WotC did the right thing and, IMO, came up with a workable solution.
I don't find auto-renew to be a problem, we've had it since Ultima Online at least. But we always knew we could stop the payments at the precise time of our choosing.

The problem I have with this system is the lack of automatic cancellation facilities with no human intervention.

Auto-renew demands auto-cancel. We found that out the hard way with AOL.
I should have an opt out of auto renewal button. It should not require intervention. I'm not a fan of auto renewal, but it is part of the reality we live in. Frankly, as much as I believe in the free market, if opt in was always required for stuff like this and other things (active opt in, not passive - see the credit card industry....), I'd be happier.

This won't keep me out, but it is just one more thing to add to the stack of things I'm not thrilled about....
You can turn off auto-renewal after the purchase. It's a hassle you shouldn't need to go through, but they aren't "coercing" anything.
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
I will not subscribe unless they make Auto-renewal an option. I have had too many problems canceling subscriptions.
I will not subscribe unless they make Auto-renewal an option. I have had too many problems canceling subscriptions.

It is an option.

It is just not an option when signing up for the service.

But it is optional.
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
I'm on the border between either getting or not getting a subscription.

This may be only a little factor, but it is enough to make me say, "I don't need this sort of hassle," before I just move on.

I'm not going to select anything saying that I want to auto-renew. I don't care that I can say, "just kidding," ten minutes later.

I have a choice whether to give you money or not. If I don't feel 100% safe giving you my credit card number, I'm not going to give it to you.

If you I feel you are going to make me do more work to avoid you stealing my money, then I'm not going to give my number to you.

I deserve to feel safe with giving my number to respectable companies, WotC doesn't get special treatment.
I'm on the border between either getting or not getting a subscription.

This may be only a little factor, but it is enough to make me say, "I don't need this sort of hassle," before I just move on.

I'm not going to select anything saying that I want to auto-renew. I don't care that I can say, "just kidding," ten minutes later.

I have a choice whether to give you money or not. If I don't feel 100% safe giving you my credit card number, I'm not going to give it to you.

If you I feel you are going to make me do more work to avoid you stealing my money, then I'm not going to give my number to you.

I deserve to feel safe with giving my number to respectable companies, WotC doesn't get special treatment.

Fair to say, but the emphasis should be on the hassle.
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
Fair to say, but the emphasis should be on the hassle.

True, but I think they already know the reasons they should take it away and which are the best reasons.

I'm just noting that this issue is a deal-breaker for me, although I guess I didn't need half that text to say that.
Sorry, but I don't see how it's either sneaky or unethical to default to auto-renewal, when it's clearly stated. If you've ever played World of Warcraft, or other MMO, they do the same thing (although apparently cancelling is easier). I simply don't like having to go through hoops to cancel auto-renewal, partially because of my memories of working under AOL and hearing the customer's horror stories of their cancellation system.
Auto renew is a reality that we have all been living with since the beginning on subscription services (online anyway). I would feel much better about this if it was an opt in service rather than an opt out service. Not sure how easy it will be to opt out and until I can see some examples of people who actually have a subscription doing so, I will remain skeptical.
IMAGE(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y239/SoulCatcher78/techdevil78.jpg)
It is an option.

It is just not an option when signing up for the service.

But it is optional.

the problem is it is a ridiculously convoluted way to do it. There is absolutely no reason to do it this way except to be able to do 2 things which are regularly done in this situation

1) make it so hard to cancel many will not bother with it and you will get to keep collecting the money far longer than you should

2) Be able to delay the cancellation for an indefinite amount of time to continue extracting money far longer than you should.

Note that it never says you will get a response within 2 days it says You should receive a response within two days of submitting the request. So I decide to cancel mid month and they don't get around to it until the next month. Also note this Stopping auto-renew will not refund any payment that has already been made. It simply makes it so you will not be charged or automatically renewed when your current subscription ends. In said case they would get to keep my money.

Wizards Has already lost way more customer confidence since the debut of D&DI than they can afford to. This doesn't help
I dont have a problem with auto renewal if there is an automated opt out ability. I dont really trust WOTC acting in time to a cancellation request. Nothing else in DDi has really been on time.
my biggest problem is enforcing auto-renewal for 1 or 3 month subscriptions.
obviously, the one who wants to subscribe is not sure whether he wants to do it for longer or just test it out, so he wants to get a better feeling before paying for the whole thing.

so: what is the reasoning behind forcing auto-renewal on 1 month subscriptions? can only be argued with getting more money...
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
my biggest problem is enforcing auto-renewal for 1 or 3 month subscriptions.
obviously, the one who wants to subscribe is not sure whether he wants to do it for longer or just test it out, so he wants to get a better feeling before paying for the whole thing.

so: what is the reasoning behind forcing auto-renewal on 1 month subscriptions? can only be argued with getting more money...

See, this is why I keep replying.

It's not "enforced". It's just "enforced on signup".

It's a hassle. And that might be a deal breaker for some. I think that's perfectly legitimate.

There is a difference between "enforced" and "no option to disable on signup".
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
People are citing Ultima Online and World of Warcraft as subscriptions with auto renewal. I've played both for a long time. If I want to cancel either, it takes me less than 10 seconds. there is nothing to fill out, I hit a button that says cancel. An orc comes up and says 'please dont cancel' I say sorry orc, and I click cancel and he says 'feel free to come back any time, you will be able to continue playing until your time is up and you will not be charged'

That is a system not only can I live with, but I applaud. I wouldnt give a company 2 nickles for a system that someone has to get back to ME before I can cancel.. and it takes 2 days. D&Di has been a joke from the beginning. They didnt launch with anything. 6 months down the road, theres still nothing worth paying for just more jokes and a slap on the face that says you have to pay for your laugh. And NOW they're pulling out all the dirty tricks that have been around for as long as dirty companies have

What. a. crock.
Fodigg. I dont know why you keep replying. I dont get why you can't see the point is NOT being a hassle. its not a hassle. Its a scam. NOT being able to cancel your account instantly is NOT a hassle its a dirty damn trick so please keep your brown nosing to yourself. No offence personally but you are not getting the point that everyone is clearly laying in front of you.
See, this is why I keep replying.

It's not "enforced". It's just "enforced on signup".

It's a hassle. And that might be a deal breaker for some. I think that's perfectly legitimate.

There is a difference between "enforced" and "no option to disable on signup".

I think most of us are in fact agreeing about all this, just in slightly different ways. Viva la interneta!
please keep your brown nosing to yourself. No offence personally

Comedy classic.

If your true concern is that the cancel option is a hassle, then that's a different issue than the auto-renewal. It's related certainly, but it's something else.

And it's not a "scam" to have poor customer service.

I'm not denying that this is an issue that should be resolved, and have stated that it's a problem. I don't see how it's "brown nosing" to correct misinformation.
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
My concern is that i would be FORCED to auto renew.... and not able to cancel that instantly

It is NOT poor customer service. How about this then... you tell me why they don't have an auto cancel button. Honestly. Tell me the reasons YOU think they decided to not have one
My concern is that i would be FORCED to auto renew.... and not able to cancel that instantly

That is how they are providing poor customer service.

It is NOT poor customer service.

You like it then?

How about this then... you tell me why they don't have an auto cancel button. Honestly. Tell me the reasons YOU think they decided to not have one

Because they are WotC, this is the first time they are trying this, and they didn't think it through.

They. Screwed. Up.

That doesn't make it a "scam".
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
Please refrain from personal attacks and flaming, these are violations of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: http://forums.gleemax.com/community_coc.php. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively.
My concern is that i would be FORCED to auto renew.... and not able to cancel that instantly

It is NOT poor customer service. How about this then... you tell me why they don't have an auto cancel button. Honestly. Tell me the reasons YOU think they decided to not have one

Perhaps Grey's Law applies here: "Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."
Perhaps Grey's Law applies here: "Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

I've never heard that line. That does seem to be the issue though.
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
Puts on VCL hat

Lets all take a couple of deep breaths and try to lower the hostility a litle bit, shall we.

Takes off VCL Hat

The discussion on whether the method of Auto renewal cancellation chosen by WotC may have very little to do with WotC and a lot to do with how Digital River operates. In any case, is it more inconveniant that having it simply automatically cancel the subscription, yes. But before we start boiling the pitch and readying the feathers, lets see if we can't get some info from WotC/DR on why this particular method was chosen.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
It's not "enforced". It's just "enforced on signup".

and the difference is ...?

always enforced would mean you could never quit, which is something i believe illegitimate in all democratic nations of the world. enforcing on signup is the same as not giving that option at all.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
Im not about to buy that 'their first time' malarky. Poor customer service, to me, was not being here for the people on launch day who so stupidly thought D&Di was going to be here. poor customer service was not have any answers or showing any care to the people who felt they had been shafted.

Dirty tricks to get the most dollars they can is not poor customer service. It was EAs first online game (UO) it was blizzards first online game (wow) you know, theres a million companies who dont 'screw up' their first shot out of the gate. Theres someone who made a CONSCIOUS decision to have this system instead of a simple one and if you can't at least agree with me on that then I guess you wont see the faults in any company you like

WOTC is a horrible company and I wish someone else was handling these games I hold and have held so dear to me for 25 + years
info from WotC/DR on why this particular method was chosen.

here's another big laugh. Nothing like that is ever going to happen. my hostility is towards this company not any of the posters in this thread. I am the voice of 10 thousand ticked off customers who don't come to these boards
Then you should definitely check out some alternatives. Troll Lord's Castles & Crusades is quite excellent, and hearkens back to the spirit of OD&D and AD&D, as does HackMaster. Warhammer FRP is darker and deadlier, but still has that "classic" fantasy atmosphere. Rolemaster is not for the faint of math, but it too has a great world to explore.

If the state of D&D is making you so unhappy, I promise you there are solutions to be found elsewhere. And this isn't a 'like it or get out' thing, there's just so much out there it's pointless getting angry about any particular system. Especially a brand new one.
Here's the thing about that. I run a dual video game/hobby shop store and we carry and play D&D and run LFR usually twice a week. D&D is a hard game to avoid.
Consider giving one of those other systems a trial run, just a one-shot or two. You might be surprised. Can't hurt, in the long run.

Castles & Crusades has free quickplay rules at their site: http://www.trolllord.com/cnc/ccqs.html
and the difference is ...?

always enforced would mean you could never quit, which is something i believe illegitimate in all democratic nations of the world. enforcing on signup is the same as not giving that option at all.

The difference I was specifically thinking of is that you're either auto-renewing or you're locked out of content immediately. Meaning you'd have to wait until the last minute and then cancel otherwise you'd miss the content you paid for.

Yes that would be heinous and more than a little illegal, but that's what people were saying.

You might think point out that this is not the case is redundant, but I think clarity is a worthy goal.
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
The difference I was specifically thinking of is that you're either auto-renewing or you're locked out of content immediately. Meaning you'd have to wait until the last minute and then cancel otherwise you'd miss the content you paid for.

well, without auto-renewal, WOTC could send emails to their customers, where they remind them of the ending of their subscription. works fine with other digital content.

there's no need to charge the credit card before the new month/months will start, as transactions can be pushed in the future if the company wants it that way (see amazon, they ask for your credit card and charge 6 months later when they deliver)

and, obviously, there's no need to turn off the content if auto-renewal is turned off. also, if people forget to re-subscribe immediately, they could be offered to continue from their last subscription end date, which would probably make a whole lot of sense.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
if people forget to re-subscribe immediately, they could be offered to continue from their last subscription end date, which would probably make a whole lot of sense.

That would be a great service but that might not be one that digital river is offering to WotC.
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
That would be a great service but that might not be one that digital river is offering to WotC.

dr is just the company that gets your creditcard number, and sends how much you paid to wotc. everything else is done by wotc.

so if they wanted to have such or any other system in place, it falls to their management to decide, and their developers to implement.

DR does not in any case, have something to do with your accounts, expiration dates, renewal cycles, payment methods etc. these are all decisions by wotc management.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
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