Google tightens Play Store rules to stop Android app subscription scams
Google has announced a series of new policies to make Android’s in-app subscriptions more transparent to users. Starting June 16th, apps will have to be clear about the terms of their paid subscriptions and free trials. They will need to provide a transparent way for users to cancel them. In addition, the Google Play Store is also providing more information to users directly, notifying them when free trials end or when long-term paid subscriptions are about to renew.
The aim of the new subscription policies is to cut down on misleading subscriptions and so-called “fleeceware,”. In this, apps are unclear about the terms of their subscriptions and offer free trials in the hopes of tricking users out of their money.
Many of the new policies focus on transparency. For example, Google says that developers will need to make it clear if a subscription is required to access all of their app’s functionality in order to stop people from thinking they have to sign up just to access basic features. They’ll also need to offer more information about the terms and conditions of any free trials.
On Google’s side, it’s also introducing new features to provide more information to users about app subscriptions directly. Most notably, users will now be emailed before a free trial or introductory pricing is about to end or when a longer-term (three, six or twelve-month) subscription is due to automatically renew. Google will also remind people that uninstalling an app won’t automatically cancel its subscription.
The measures are Google’s latest attempt to crack down on deceptive apps in its Play Store.