Sony and Nintendo Agree to Change Auto-Renew Subscription Practices

Posted on April 15, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Games, PlayStation with 4 Comments

Sony and Nintendo have agreed to follow Microsoft and change their auto-renew practices for gaming subscriptions in the UK. The policy changes have been pushed by the country’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has been investigating cases where inactive subscribers to PlayStation Plus or Nintendo Switch Online were still being charged indefinitely.

Following the CMA’s investigations, Sony has agreed to contact PlayStation Plus subscribers who haven’t used the service in a long time and remind them how to cancel their subscription. In case customers don’t take any action, Sony will ultimately stop charging these customers. Nintendo also decided to stop enabling automatic renewal for Nintendo Switch Online during the CMA’s investigations.

Back in January, the CMA also led Microsoft to make some important changes regarding dormant Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass accounts. The Redmond giant has agreed to contact customers with inactive memberships and remind them how to stop payments. The company said that it will also offer refunds to those customers who were on recurring 12-month subscriptions and end those contracts, and promised to be more transparent about future price increases.

“As a result of our investigations, a number of changes have been made across this sector to protect customers and help tackle concerns about auto-renewing subscriptions, the CMA said. “Companies in other sectors which offer subscriptions that auto-renew should review their practices to ensure they comply with consumer protection law.”

Tagged with , , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (4)

4 responses to “Sony and Nintendo Agree to Change Auto-Renew Subscription Practices”

  1. jdjan

    This is one of the most insidious aspects of subscriptions. Companies will happily keep charging dormant accounts that forget to cancel. I try and keep an eye on this, but my family and I have been caught out more than once for an annual renewal of something that is no longer used. I've resorted to using temporary credit cards (i.e. for some subscriptions that are more difficult to cancel than they should be (e.g. most periodicals).

    It should be an active process to renew a subscription that it dormant or inactive where the use hasn't logged in for an extended period of time. Passive renewals are basically theft.

    • jgraebner

      Agreed. I also try really hard to keep track of everything, but I have occasionally realized I was still getting charged for something that I don't use any longer. As you said, annual subscriptions are the worst as it is really easy to forget about something completely until you see a big renewal charge.

      Also, I strongly think there need to be regulations that make it mandatory to offer an easy, online cancellation process if a business allows starting a subscription online. It is ridiculous how many services still require you to call on the phone to cancel.

      • christianwilson

        "It is ridiculous how many services still require you to call on the phone to cancel."

        Yeessssss. I've gone to strange lengths to botch my payment methods just to avoid having to deal with the resistance of cancelling over the phone.

  2. dftf

    I'd also love to see an end to these "free trial" periods many companies offer... but you have to provide a debit- or credit-card number to access it, and get billed for at-least one-month if you forget to cancel a day or two before the end. If it is "free", then no payment-details should be required at-all!

Leave a Reply