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Never get caught out by ‘free subscriptions’ again with this app!

6th August 2019

This app could save you from spending many pounds on unwanted subscription services that you have been automatically opted into after a free trial.

Free trials always sound like a good idea but with the majority of companies asking for your card details to gain the trial, users are often automatically enrolled in a paid subscription if they fail to cancel it manually, which is easy to do as most will know.

Certain companies are fairly lenient when it comes to users ‘forgetting’, for example, Amazon regularly refunds users the fee if they flag it up and haven’t used the paid service but many will continue to charge you until you realise your mistake.

DoNotPay is an app that was founded 4 years ago by 22-year-old British Entrepreneur, Joshua Browder with an aim to help people fight legal battles such as appealing parking tickets and suing people. The app is free to use and has been mentioned in many articles, for example, The Wall Street Journal stated that "A chatbot called DoNotPay has saved motorists millions in parking fines."

Onto the next venture, the app has now come up with a genius idea to stop users getting involved in multiple unwanted paid subscriptions. The way the app does this is by creating a “fake” credit-card for you with false credentials such as a name and email address and you can use this card and identity to sign up to free trials that require a card signup. After the free trial ends the card will decline the charge and incidentally end your trial, you can also receive a push email to your actual email address to remind you that it is coming to an end so you can decide whether you wish to keep it running by replacing the card with your real one and real credentials.

The app is backed by a network of community banks which enables them to generate the credit cards, however, the banks aren’t entirely aware of how their cards are being used and therefore the company has kept hush about which banks are involved.

With this in mind, the whole idea does sound kind of sceptical and also borderline illegal seen as the banks are unaware. After some research and talking with financial experts, a writer from WIRED found that most said that they in fact didn’t think there was anything illegal about the service as no actual monetary payments are being made through the cards. For the user themselves, the cards are taken out by DoNotPay and therefore have no connection with the user, meaning if something were to go wrong and the card was charged, it would be on DoNotPay’s account.

No one is sure how long the app is going to survive for as it may come crumbling down if the banks and subscription service providers catch on to it, however, Browder isn’t too worried about it and he said; “I'm confident that this is at least going to go on for a few months.” But he does hope that it doesn’t get shut down full-stop.

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