Google does a lot to help protect us from a lot of things on the web. They have removed many shady apps that charge consumers huge amounts if they don’t cancel a free trial in time. In these cases, the users just uninstall the app or permit it to lapse.
Security experts have found apps including basic compasses, QR code scanners, calculators, and more that didn’t contain any malicious code. However, these companies took advantage of app trial periods to rip off users. They bank off the fact that people don’t fully understand the process of cancellation and the developers continue to bill them. Some people fail to see these for several months or more because it is often a small charge that hits their bank accounts each month.
Terms and Conditions
Based on Google’s terms and conditions, you need to cancel any premium app before uninstalling it to avert being billed later on. Most developers are very lenient and take the fact that you have removed the app from your cell phone as meaning you would like to cancel. But, not all of the developers out there are this generous and many are actually taking advantage of the situation.
That is typically not a big problem, as the usual premium Android app costs only a pocketful of change. However, these things add up over time and to the developer with many apps sold, it can amount to a lot. Those identified by web researchers billed users up to $240 if they didn’t tap ‘Cancel’ in time.
To add insult to injury, the majority of the apps in question had been extremely basic, making it even more likely that consumers would uninstall them quickly, or forget about them completely.
Don’t Be Scammed – Do the Research
We know these shady apps are out there because of a recent study by a web research company. These researches initially gave Google a list of 15 apps participating in the questionable practice and 14 of those were subsequently taken off the Play Store. These security researchers have since found many more and most of which have been downloaded millions of times. So, it’s clear that Google can’t keep up with the scams by itself.
To prevent being a victim to this type of ‘fleeceware’ scam, be skeptical of any app that requires you to provide payment information prior to starting a free trial. Also check for fine print stating precisely how much the subscription costs per year. It’s also advisable to look at recent reviews prior to installing new apps, as many people who have been tricked often leave warnings for others.