As noted by The Verge, MasterCard has added a few phrases to its original post that denote the stipulations. "No one wants to be unsatisfied with a physical product after paying for it," says MasterCard's blog post. "For some consumers, a free-trial is a great way to test out a new product and get comfortable with it before making a purchasing decision. And with so many merchants offering free trials for physical products, they're becoming the new norm." The bold phrases are the new wording MasterCard has since added to the original post.
When you think of free trials, digital subscriptions might be the first to come to mind. Many companies like Netflix, music streaming services and other entertainment-related outlets offer consumers free trials ahead of a monthly commitment. And while there are physical products out there that can be subscribed to -- such as skincare products, razors and regular vitamin deliveries, to name a few -- those might be less likely to immediately come to mind than say, Netflix or Spotify. Further, when physical products are concerned, the products themselves serve as a reminder about the subscription whereas digital services can more easily be forgotten or overlooked. Therefore, it seems that MasterCard's original announcement was a bit disingenuous, if not outright deceptive.
A MasterCard spokesperson told The Verge that physical products are what have drawn the most complaints from its customers. The company plans to add a footnote to its blog post clarifying its changes and what the feature really entails, according to The Verge. But as of writing, no such footnote had been added.