Google bans apps with deceptive subscription offers from the Play Store

You shouldn't be tricked into signing up for a service you didn't want.


Google is joining Apple in requiring honesty with app subscriptions. A newly instituted Google Play policy bans apps that use deceptive language or imagery to trick you into subscriptions. Apps now have to be clear about a plan’s cost, frequency and terms, including whether or not there will be an automatic renewal. They should also outline the features you can use without a subscription, and explain how you cancel service before your free period is over.

The company has improved the Play Store’s approach to subscriptions to match. You’ll now get a email reminder before your trial or intro offer is over, as well as for any plans that last 3, 6 or 12 months. The checkout is now more transparent, and you’ll be alerted if you delete an app with an active subscription.

While Google says this is meant to give app creators “more committed subscribers” who aren’t clamoring for refunds, this is also a not-so-subtle warning to scammers and others using intentionally misleading offers. It should be harder to exploit people who forget to cancel service, not to mention pressure you into signing up for services you don’t need.