How NOT TO design you UI for recurring payments
When you pay for SaaS the last thing you want is not to be able to cancel auto-renewal for your subscription. Even the best service will lead to frustration when you discover an unwanted transaction in your statement.
Majesctic.com managed to make it even worse than just not providing this option. For some reason they’ve decided that misleading customers is a great idea. They have placed a button “Cancel Future Billings” in “My Subscription” section that is cancelling something very different than future payments.
What you see on the next screen after clicking “Cancel Future Billings” is actually a big surprise:
The text says: “Cancelling Your Subscription? By cancelling your subscription you will lose the advantages of your Majestic subscription and any reports stored on your account.”. So if you proceed, you will loose your active subscription that you had paid for.
And I have 2 questions to Majestic team:
1) Is it really necessary to mislead people?
Do you realize that there are a lot of people who read “Cancel Future Billings” and don’t pay a lot of attention to the following text (that usually in this case says something like “Be aware that after expiration our service will no longer be available for you unless you buy another subscription!”).
Is it something like “OK, we don’t have this option, but let’s place a button with a fake call-to-action and link it to something else!“. And it better be something like closing account, right?
2) Is it hard to add option to cancel auto-renewal?
I struggle taking care of my personal finances. And I bet I’m not the only one. I add to calendar all recurring payments’ due dates to control the spendings. But sometimes you just forget and you always have a risk of getting some payments that you didn’t want or wasn’t aware of. Is it a part of your business model?
Moreover, it’s applicable to enterprise customers too. For example, at the company that work with there are thousands of payments conducted every month. Some of them are labeled as “One time payments” and the others as “Recurring payment“. If an employee receives approval for 3 months of Majestic Silver plan, he/she places a payment request for this subscription with the label “One time payment”.
In case with Majestic.com the accountant will be unable to do this. The only option is to leave this payment as a recurring and make sure you cancel it exactly when it expires BUT before it prolongs. And if in the company there are dozens of such subscriptions, it becomes quite impossible to control the them. And as always it leads to unwanted payments or… early cancellations.
Majestic.com managed to surprise me even twice! The first shock was that you can’t cancel auto-renewal and should keep in mind your future billing date.
But what happens if you accidentally cancel your account while was thinking that you were “cancelling future payments”?
Right, you loose all the remaining days/weeks/months of you subscription. But this wasn’t what you wanted to do, was it? OK, OK, calm down! You can always ask a customer care agent to re-enable your account or add those lost days to your subscriptions! An adequate companies will do that (moreover, they wouldn’t trick you in such situation initially). But guess what? Not at Majestic.com!
This is what happened to our company with a Majestic Silver plan that was available till the 10-th of November. On the 29-th of October our accountant accidentally canceled active account while thinking that she was cancelling future payments. Around that time there was received an approval to purchase the Majestic Silver subscription for another 3 months. And our accountant purchased it right away as the SEO departmant was left without this tool.
We have contacted customer care and they twice rejected to compensate as 15 days that were lost.
Shame on you, Majestic! This is so cheap!
So, is auto-renewal a bad thing?
No. Of course the option of auto-renewal is useful by itself and should be available, but it’s necessary to only provide it when accompanied with the following:
- During the process of purchasing a customer should be able to choose or refuse from auto-renewal.
- At any time after a payment was made a customer should be able to find the status of auto-renewal option either in transactional email, or in personal account.
- A customer should be able to change the status of auto-renewal without contacting support team.