Auto-Renew Clarity: New Xiaomi App Store Policy

Auto-Renewal Policies in Mobile Apps

Let’s start with a question for everyone: Have you ever been puzzled by sudden automatic renewal deductions along with people around you? How did you deal with it after automatic renewal? Did you compromise and continue using it or did you seek a refund?

I don’t know when it started, but various apps that the editor frequently uses began launching paid VIP services. And at some point, these apps started introducing automatic renewal services too.

Automatic Renewal in Apps

Those who have used automatic renewal should understand that it not only eliminates the need to renew manually each month but also offers lower prices compared to individual monthly payments. Most appealingly, the official information also states that you can stop the renewal anytime.

For users like the editor, who enjoy content on different music and video apps but find it expensive to subscribe to each one separately, this is really attractive.


Editor's Experience with Auto-Renewal

After a month, when it’s time for automatic renewal, the editor, who often switches to other similar apps, tends to forget about their existing automatic renewal subscriptions. Without any reminders, the renewal happens automatically. Upon receiving the deduction notification, the editor quickly checks the ongoing automatic renewal subscriptions, cancels the unwanted ones, and reluctantly continues using the already renewed ones. This leads to a habit of occasionally checking WeChat Wallet and Alipay to see what projects are still ongoing under automatic renewal.

Many users may relate to the editor’s experience. This experience with monthly automatic renewal alone can be forgettable, so if it were annual renewals, chances are higher for forgetfulness. It’s common to hear colleagues exclaim, “Wait, how did they deduct my money?” “When did I set up automatic renewal?” or “Forget it, let’s just continue using it.”

New Xiaomi App Store Policy

Yesterday, Xiaomi officially implemented the “New Auto-Renewal Feature Standards” in the Xiaomi App Store announced on March 13th, primarily focusing on not defaulting to automatic renewals and not forcing bundled service activations.

New Xiaomi App Store Policy

The specific clauses are as follows:

  1. If the app offers services through automatic renewal or subscription, it must seek the user’s consent. Users must confirm a second time before proceeding; default checkboxes or mandatory bundled activations are not allowed.

  2. Before users activate the service, they must be clearly and prominently informed about the service details, charges, and payment methods.

  3. The app must explicitly display and explain the methods to cancel automatic renewals in the renewal agreement. During the automatic renewal period, the app should provide convenient ways for users to unsubscribe at any time.

  4. The renewal agreement must clearly indicate that users should be reminded five days before renewal via significant means like SMS or push notifications regarding the service details and charges.

In simple terms, before automatic renewals start, the project’s details and the methods to stop automatic renewals need to be clearly and straightforwardly explained, with users needing to confirm twice before processing. Five days before renewal, users should be clearly informed through noticeable means about the upcoming service details and charges.

Analysis shows that after the implementation of these new standards, users are less likely to continue with renewals due to forgetfulness or not knowing the cancellation methods.

Now, some might wonder: If they are not Xiaomi users, will apps on their phones adjust their auto-renewal functions following such standards?

Non-Xiaomi Apps Implementing Changes

The answer is clear — yes, because the adjustments in the Xiaomi App Store align with the “Consumer Rights Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China Implementation Regulations” released on March 15, 2024.

Chapter II, Article 10 states that if an operator provides services through automatic extensions or renewals, they should prominently alert consumers before service acceptance and before automatic extensions or renewals take place.

In other words, according to national requirements, regardless of the manufacturer or platform, any app providing automatic renewal services must prominently remind users before renewal. The effective date of this regulation is July 1, 2024. This means that after July 1 this year, all apps must make adjustments according to the requirements, so there’s no need to worry.

Consumer Protection Law

Recently, the editor and colleagues have already noticed that many apps are sending reminders a few days before auto-renewal along with providing information on how to unsubscribe.

Updated Auto-Renewal Practices

For consumers like the editor and other users, carefully reading the instructions during purchases and understanding post-sales service is crucial to protecting their rights. Interested individuals can refer to the “Consumer Rights Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China Implementation Regulations,” released on March 15 this year. Those curious about subsequent adjustments in related apps can also stay tuned.

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