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New App Store rule lets companies charge more for subscriptions without approval

Apple has altered the rules for App Store subscriptions, changing the way that some price increases will be handled when they renew. The company explained the new system in a message posted on its website on Monday evening.

Currently, if a recurring app or service subscription costs more than your previous payment when it comes to renewal, you have to opt in to accept the price hike in order to continue with the subscription. If you don’t give the nod to the new fee, then the subscription won’t renew.

Starting now, developers can, within certain conditions, increase the price of a subscription without the customer having to take any action, ensuring the smooth continuation of service … but quietly charging you more without your consent.

“The specific conditions for this feature are that the price increase doesn’t occur more than once per year, doesn’t exceed US$5 and 50% of the subscription price, or US$50 and 50% for an annual subscription price, and is permissible by local law,” Apple explained.

The company said that when a subscription price increases by any amount, it will continue to notify customers ahead of the renewal via email, push notification, and a message within the app. The tech giant added that it will also include information on how to view, manage, and cancel subscriptions.

In cases where a subscription price breaches the aforementioned conditions, the customer must continue to opt in to accept the higher cost and continue with the service. In other words, failure to opt in will bring the subscription to an end.

Apple said it’s implementing the new system to prevent disruption for customers who want to continue with a subscription but may forget to opt in. In that case, the customer would have to go through the steps to resubscribe — annoying, for sure. But for small price increases, Apple is now enabling subscriptions to continue without the customer having to take any action at all.

So long as the notifications of price increases are clear and easily viewable, the change shouldn’t prove too problematic for customers. However, some may see the new system as favoring developers — as well as Apple, which also makes money out of subscriptions — as some customers may now continue with paid services that they might otherwise have let go.

The best advice is to make sure you stay on top of your subscriptions, reviewing them occasionally to ensure they’re still useful, while also checking how much you’re paying for each one. You can manage your subscriptions right on your iPhone at any time.

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Trevor Mogg
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