We are about to launch a 7 day paid trial. We already have the customer billing details so on the 7th date we will automatically upgrade the subscription from trial to full.

Should we send any notification prior this event? We were thinking of sending an email informing them regarding the imminent charge 3 days prior but we are still debating this subject. Is anyone willing to share any thoughts on this?

  • 1
    I think you'll be able to get better answers if you also share: A) roughly how much the payment is (I'll be furious if you don't remind me for charging $400, but less so for $4). B) Is it a recurring payment or one-off. C) Roughly how long you think it will take users to familiarise themselves with the system (ie, make a stay/cancel decision).
    – Izhaki
    Aug 26, 2012 at 22:49

3 Answers 3


If you want your users to love you, you would ask for their confirmation before charging.

If you want to run the type of website people learn to avoid, charge them without warning.

An OK middle ground is to warn them a couple of days before with an easy way to opt out.

Have a read of http://wiki.darkpatterns.org/Home

  • See also Opt in vs Opt out many people never bother to opt out, which makes this a very strong persuasive technique (for better or worse) hence it's use in many (dark) patterns
    – Ben Brocka
    Aug 27, 2012 at 14:22

email informing them regarding the imminent charge 3 days prior

This does not sound like a good idea to me from the user point of view. This is effectively reducing the trial period by the amount of advance notice of "imminent charge" (7 days - 3 days?).

If the trial period is seven days, you'd be expected to notify anytime after the trial period and obtain confirmation before applying the charges.

Also, I do not see why there should be a policy difference (@Izhaki) depending on the amount of charge. How much is too much? What are the criteria to decide the limit? The one who pays knows the pain. :)


Why not make it an option during signup for trial?

Since the trial is paid already, you have already ruled out the "unwashed masses", conversion rate from trial to full should be significant.

If the service is non-essential - ("I want to see if it fits mylife and is worth $X/month"), automatic conversion is common, but makes many avoid the trial.

If the service is essential (e.g. stores slides for my oh so important presentation), automatic termination may result in an ex-customer looking back in anger.

Now it's all up to you how big you make this, and whether it defaults to "ON".

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