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Apple rejects yoga app because it doesn't auto-charge customers at the end of a free trial

Down Dog App
Down Dog App (Image credit: Down Dog)

What you need to know

  • Apple has rejected yoga app Down Dog's latest update.
  • That's because it offers a free trial that doesn't charge users automatically once finished.
  • Downward Dog says that this is a line it will not cross.

Yoga app Down Dog has had its latest app update rejected from the App Store because its app doesn't automatically charge users when their free trial runs out.

Down Dog took to Twitter yesterday after receiving a rejection notice from Apple which stated:

We noticed that your app offers a free trial without implementing the offer in App Store Connect. Offering free trials through App Store Connect ensures that when the free trial period is over, the user will automatically be billed (unless the user has canceled the subscription.)

Incensed, the developer took to Twitter stating:

Wow! Apple is rejecting our latest update because we refuse to auto-charge at the end of our free trial. They can choose to steal from their customers who forget to cancel, but we won't do the same to ours. THIS IS A LINE THAT WE WILL NOT CROSS.

Down Dog further noted that it had previously experimented with auto-charging trials in the past and that it had three negatives effects on its app:

  1. Fewer users trying the product
  2. A huge number of refund requests from users who forgot to cancel
  3. "Complete disbelief" from users when they were told Apple would not allow the company to issue refunds.

Down Dog notes this is "particularly bad" because finding the setting to cancel a subscription in iOS is "notoriously hard", Apple requires users to cancel at least 24 hours before the trial finishes, and its refund request site often returns an error when logging in.

It seems difficult to justify why Apple would insist on the automatic charging of customers after a trial ends, save that Apple takes a 30% cut of the revenue. The incident echoes the Hey Email fiasco from a few weeks back.

The only solace for Down Dog, is that Apple recently shifted policy to allow developers to not only appeal specific decisions but challenge App Store rules and guidelines as of this summer.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

5 Comments
  • The act of charging someone at the end of a free trial is pure Americanism, knowing many people will forget and accidentally pay when the trial runs out, and trust me there will be no refund policy. ALL free trials shouldn't take card details or take payment when the trial runs out, you simply disable the app, and ask people if they want to pay.
  • The developer needs to direct people to reportaproblem.apple.com I've literally never had a problem getting a refund for an IAP. I think the developer is just full of it and wanting attention... which they got.
  • Customers should be given the choice to be charged at the end of a free trial, what Apple's doing here is wrong.
  • Not that I am going to get the app but truthfully Apple needs to rethink this policy. It is potentially and Antitrust issue.
  • "It seems difficult to justify why Apple would insist on the automatic charging of customers after a trial ends, save that Apple takes a 30% cut of the revenue." That is exactly why Apple insists on the auto-charge. While this is really the most common action for any subscription free trial period, Disney+, HBO, CBS All Access, and most others, this is a bad time for Apple to be standing behind this policy. We just recently re-subscribed to YouTube premium, dropping our subscription via Apple and re-subscribing via YouTube directly. Saved us about 30%. Imagine that. Most services just opt to eat that 30%. Google opted to tack it on the subscription if you subscribe through Apple.