Back in September, Apple announced a new bundling of their subscription services, named Apple One. It has multiple tiers, with different prices and with different services included. And, for many, it will offer either money off what you may already pay, or more for your existing buck.
As a result, when it was launched at the end of October, I was one of the many who signed up. I went for the Family package, offering Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade and 200GB iCloud storage (for all the family) for £19.99 a month. I already had a small iCloud storage subscription, as well as Apple Music, so my Apple One subscription replaced both of these.
On top of all this, Apple One provides your first month free, allowing you to try it for a few weeks.
What’s the issue?
Last night, something unexpected happened – I was charged, by Apple, for a month’s Apple Music subscription at £14.99. I got in contact with them and they explained why this had happened. And it’s something that I suspect is going to catch other people out as well.
First, let’s rewind and head back to Apple’s own Apple One promotional page. Scroll down and you’ll see this…
That wording is important – “any services you haven’t already tried”. Follow that asterisk to the small-print and it’s more specific…
* The Apple One free trial includes only services that you are not currently using through a free trial or a subscription. Plan automatically renews after trial until cancelled. Restrictions and other terms apply.
Why has this happened?
Because I’d already had Apple Music and taken advantage of its free trial, it’s not part of the first month of Apple One. As a result, I’ve been charged the normal value for it. If I’d had a number of subscriptions, all of which I’d had trials for previously then I could still be charged for all of them, far greater than the value of the Apple One subscription that I’d signed up for.
Apple has confirmed this, in a communication with me…
You will continue to be charged for the individual services until your Apple One membership becomes a paid subscription, even if the total cost exceeds the value of the Apple One subscription.
However, they do also add that a prorated refund will automatically be issued for any unused portion of the individually subscribed services – so, if your subscriptions occur less than a month before the free portion of Apple One finishes, you’ll get money back for the overlap between your existing subscriptions and Apple One.
Why is this a problem?
Just to be clear, this is in their T&Cs, but I suspect most people won’t be expecting it. Or think this is fair. And, personally, I find it confusing.
Right now, I’m being charged for subscriptions that I actually don’t have any more – my record shows only Apple One for a value of £19.99. But I’ve been charged for Apple Music at £14.99 and, as I say, if I had more subscriptions, I could be charged much more than the £19.99 total.
It’s not as if the one month free trial is particularly generous. Wouldn’t it have been so much easier for Apple to have just allowed you to have another trial? The amount of time I’ve spent on Apple’s support trying to sort this out has already exceeded anything they would have lost through giving me that full trial. And I suspect I’m not the only person who will be querying this.
Often the simplest solution is seen as the best – and for good reason.
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