On 17 January, Mastercard announced a new feature that claimed to block merchants for automatically charging users after a free trial had expired.
Merchants, the announcement said, will have to gain the cardholder’s approval at the end of a trial before billing them for a paid subscription.
This was met with positive responses from consumers, who said they welcomed the move – particularly as a protection when signing up for trials of online services.
However, the card company has since adjusted its announcement to specify that the trials covered are for a physical product, such as “a skincare or healthcare product.”
In its initial press release, which has since been labeled by publications like Engadget and The Verge as “misleading,” Mastercard simply referred to “free trials.”
When people think of “free trials,” digital subscriptions are one of the first that come to mind.
Speaking to The Verge, a Mastercard spokesperson said that “physical products are what have drawn the most complaints from its customers”.