Do I have any rights against an automatic subscription renewal?
A year ago I signed up to Freeletics, an exercise app. Since then I have stopped using it, and, unsurprisingly, forgot about the renewal date.
There was no reminder notification sent by the company. As soon as I spotted the £75 had been taken from my account, I immediately contacted the company to cancel, but was told there were no refunds on auto renewals.
Not to be reminded that a renewal was imminent seems unfair.
JR, by email
It’s incredibly annoying to be caught out by these auto renewals, which is why I never sign up to them. Where companies insist, I cancel the next day.
As I understand it, digital downloads are covered by the Consumer Rights Act, giving buyers rights if they turn out to be faulty, etc.
However, they have their own unique category under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which means that, in most cases, buyers have to waive their right to the 14-day cooling-off period.
This is usually done by ticking a box confirming that you agree to the terms and conditions. Some firms, including the Freeletics app you bought, allow users to try them out first, and to then cancel for free until 14 days from purchase, but they don’t have to.
Freeletics has agreed to refund your £75. It says that where a subscription is bought via the App Store or Google Play App Store, reminders are sent out before the subscription is renewed.
“Should there be cases where we think a user should not have been charged for a renewal, we always do our best to make sure that a full refund is granted,” it says, although neither happened in your case.
A belated thank you to all the readers who offered to pay the £163 penalty imposed by Thameslink on a South African student for being in a first-class train carriage. CD had paid the fine just prior to publication. Guardian readers are a nice bunch.
We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions