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Recurring Subscription madness..members getting billed without re-subscribing

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  • Recurring Subscription madness..members getting billed without re-subscribing

    I have a subscription for my VBulletin board that offers upgraded access for $20.00 year. My members have been complaining that at the end of their subscription, PayPal has been automatically taking $20.00 from their accounts and renews their subscription for a year. Can someone tell me what I have to do to get this to work correctly? I read through some of the threads here that had a similar problem, and all suggested it was a PayPal issue, and suggested for subscriber to go to their PayPal accounts, access their profile, and access recurring payments. Then cancel any recurring billing plans from my site.

    I've had subscribers who have been automatically rebilled check that and no link to my site is there at all. PayPal has been useless.

    This is how I want it to work...

    1.Member clicks on subscription button
    2. Member pays $20 via PayPal
    3. Member enjoys upgraded access for # year
    4. At the end of the year, the member is sent a message saying his
    membership is due and if he doesn't renew by XXX, his subscription will
    be cancelled
    5. If member doesn't renew by XXX, their subscription is cancelled

    Can these subscriptions get munged up? I have about 95 subscribers..should I create a fresh subscription, then maybe mass email my subscribers informaing them of the problem and let them know I will be moving them over to the new subscription?

  • #2
    If you go to Subscription Manager > Edit Subscription, do you have a checkmark in the Recurring box next to the subscription cost at the bottom of the page? From the help popup:
    Recurring Payments
    This only applies to PayPal payments.

    You can choose to have the payment recur until the user cancels the subscription.

    Once enabled you cannot change the price of this subscription as existing users costs will not update, however you can cancel all of their subscriptions through the PayPal interface and force them to sign up again.

    Please don't PM or VM me for support - I only help out in the threads.
    vBulletin Manual & vBulletin 4.0 Code Documentation (API)
    Want help modifying your vbulletin forum? Head on over to vbulletin.org
    If I post CSS and you don't know where it goes, throw it into the additional.css template.

    W3Schools <- awesome site for html/css help

    Comment


    • #3
      Recurring, by definition, means that the user will be rebilled by PayPal until they stop it. As Lynne says you can disable recurring billing but what you're describing happening to your users is exactly the way recurring billing should work.

      Here is the page on PP that tells people how to cancel recurring billing

      https://www.paypal.com/helpcenter/ma...tionTab&bn_r=o

      How do I cancel a recurring payment, subscription, or automatic billing agreement I have with a merchant?
      Log in to your PayPal account.
      Click Profile at the top of the page.
      Click My Preapproved Payments in the Financial Information column.
      Click View the Agreement next to the merchant agreement you want to cancel.
      Click Cancel or Cancel automatic billing and follow the instructions.
      Community manager at Thailand Friends

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Lynne,

        Thanks for the quick reply. It's driving me crazy. I just can't find where PayPal is getting that this subscription should be recurring. I double-checked your suggestion and it is unchecked. If it were checked at one time and I had unchecked it, PayPal would keep it as a recurring subscription because I assume VBulletin would not communicate that change to PayPal correct?

        Bill, as I mentioned, I've had members who have had this recurring billing issue do something similar to what you suggest. Go to PayPal -> Profile -> Recurring Payments -> then disable any Recurring Payments that come from my site. None of my recurring payments problem members had any links to my site. Bill I will have my test helper check the "Preapproved Payments" link.

        As an experiment, I created a test subscription on my site and have enlisted the help of a volunteer member to test this with me. I Paypalled him $20 and told him to keep the remainder when we are done I charged 1 dollar for 7 days. So if I wanted the subscription to cancel after 3 days (would like VBulletin to email user that his subscription is close to being cancelled, and cancel it if they don't resubscribe) how would I set this up? I'm looking at the subscription button creation page on PayPal:

        Merchant Services -> Create Buttons -> Subscribe

        I'm getting confused by what I should be entering for "Billing Amount Each Cycle", "Billing Cycle", and "After How Many Cycles Should Billing Stop". There has to be a combination here that does what I want.


        Originally posted by Lynne View Post
        If you go to Subscription Manager > Edit Subscription, do you have a checkmark in the Recurring box next to the subscription cost at the bottom of the page? From the help popup:

        Comment


        • #5
          Consider dropping recurring subscriptions completely. They cause me awful trouble as people don't understand it's between paypal and them. I've had a lot of people coming to the end of their subscriptions thing they are being nice and subscribing again only to be charged again a few days later because they didn't realise they had a recurring subscription.

          On a plus note, I have some subscribers now subscribed until 2013

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd really like to do this, but I want the user to be prodded at the end of the 1 year subscription period to re-subscribe. If they don't want to, that is fine. I just want them to be given the option and if they do not act, then the subscription should go away along with the special access. I just can't believe something so simple is so difficult to implement. Really is it that difficult?

            I also don't want PayPal to do it automatically without their OK. I've had several good forum members become irate because they thought I had accessed their accounts without their knowledge by assuming once they subscribed, they would always be subscribers. I don't blame them, I would feel exactly the same way. Now I have lost them as subscribers.


            Originally posted by punchbowl View Post
            Consider dropping recurring subscriptions completely. They cause me awful trouble as people don't understand it's between paypal and them. I've had a lot of people coming to the end of their subscriptions thing they are being nice and subscribing again only to be charged again a few days later because they didn't realise they had a recurring subscription.

            On a plus note, I have some subscribers now subscribed until 2013

            Comment


            • #7
              Paypal doesn't do it without their ok. The problem is people set up recurring subscriptions then forget if they are or are not recurring. I point them towards the area in paypal. Here's something typical I get:

              Originally Posted by Subscriber
              Mine has renewed on it's own. I don't remember setting it up as a recurring payment. It's also not marked as one in my usercp.

              I'm not bothered because I was going to renew anyway, just find it strange.


              The subscription is with paypal.

              you can check your subscriptions here:
              https://www.paypal.com/

              or .co.uk

              Quote:
              How do I cancel a recurring payment, subscription, or automatic billing agreement I have with a merchant?


              Question : Answer :
              1. Log in to your PayPal account.
              2. Click Profile at the top of the page.
              3. Click My Preapproved Payments in the Financial Information column.
              4. Click View the Agreement next to the merchant agreement you want to cancel.
              5. Click Cancel or Cancel automatic billing and follow the instructions.


              Cheers
              People also always think they have to sign up for paypal to subscribe and I have to explain that one multiple times.

              Really it's not a fault of vb - although the system could certainly be improved.

              Comment


              • #8
                I have a recurring payment set up for my site paypal account and I just followed the links you posted about how to see it (and thus cancel it if I wanted), and guess what? It doesn't show up! I know I have one, cuz the 15th of every month they get my money.

                I can go to see my transactions and find the recurring payment, click on Details, then click on the top where it says "See related *link here*" and then at the bottom it says "Cancel Subscription" I find that rather odd.

                Please don't PM or VM me for support - I only help out in the threads.
                vBulletin Manual & vBulletin 4.0 Code Documentation (API)
                Want help modifying your vbulletin forum? Head on over to vbulletin.org
                If I post CSS and you don't know where it goes, throw it into the additional.css template.

                W3Schools <- awesome site for html/css help

                Comment


                • #9
                  Probably I was at .co.uk Lynne. It's way confusing anyway. Paypal hate you posting links to any where but their homepage too which makes it worse.

                  It would be far better if we dropped recurring subscriptions through paypal completely. It's actually unnecessary as if a subscriber pays for a year then after 6 months pays for another year then vb does a good job in just adding the additional time on top of existing subscription and extending it..

                  Are there any noticing conditions we can use re subscriptions btw?

                  It'd be so much better if subscribers got a notice at set periods as the subscription was expiring. I could drop the paypal confusion with subscriptions completely then. PAypal also forces people to register with them to set up recurring subs so it's another level of complexity. I'd prefer to use them solely a payment processor. I get "but I don't have a paypal account!" messages every year and I have to explain it all again to them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have never used subscriptions on my site, so I don't know what sort of mods are available. You may want to take a look over at vb.org and see if there is something like what you want.

                    Please don't PM or VM me for support - I only help out in the threads.
                    vBulletin Manual & vBulletin 4.0 Code Documentation (API)
                    Want help modifying your vbulletin forum? Head on over to vbulletin.org
                    If I post CSS and you don't know where it goes, throw it into the additional.css template.

                    W3Schools <- awesome site for html/css help

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks, not interested in installing any mods. This still doesn't solve the problem. If I buy a magazine subscription, I don't expect the subscription to go on forever until I die or my money runs out. The service should get cancelled after the period I pay for is up and I don't buy it again. I'm completely baffled by this and why it seems so alien to so many. If I were on another forum and I paid $20 per year and the site decided to "re-up" me, I'd be furious. I wouldn't be the type to giggle and clap my hands and say "oh well, heee heee I was going to do it anyways"..I'd threaten legal action. I've had a few members get just that furious, and I agree 100% with them.

                      I had my test member check all links for a recurring reference to my site...couldn't find a thing. NOW, I have to have him contact PayPal and have them cancel it. Great. If the subscriptions feature in VBulletin will not allow you to provide a daily,weekly,monthly,yearly non-recurring subscription, then why provide switches for them all over the place in the VBulletin backend?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Are you saying it sets them as recurring subscriptions even if you're not selling a recurring subscription?

                        I have both and I think the system needs improvements BUT I'm not sure I've had the same issue. Trouble, confusion, yes! Erroneous subscriptions - Maybe.

                        Are you getting the you have a new subscriber emails from paypal?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          EXACTLY. I think the subscription might somehow be corrupt. It's NOT supposed to be a recurring subscription and I do not have it configured that way. I had a few members complain (some loudly) and I figured it was probably a case of someone getting a switch confused and I never blamed them. Instead I politely apologized, blamed it on PayPal, and offered a 100% refund.

                          I was concerned so I started sending a followup email to all my new subscribers, where I expresses thanks for them for subscribing, but joking that I had been having problems with PayPal and its recurring payments and I asked "so if you didn't subscribe, and PayPal decided to subscribe you, please contact me". So I have been getting some emails saying that PayPal had billed them.

                          So, I decided I'd put together a test subscription. I edited my existing subscription to be $1 for 1 day. I had my tester buy the subscription. Sure enough, he's getting billed (and I'm refunding) the dollar every day. Yes, I received the new subscription email.

                          So, I wanted to start fresh. I have 90+ members under the old subscription, but I don't care if I have to cancel each one under the old subscription and enter each one by one into a yearly, non-recurring subscription. I want the aggravation to them to be a minimum.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Keep an eye on subscriptions in paypal - you should get notices of them. You can cancel them from there. Well I can in my paypal. There may be regional differences.

                            I'd open a ticket here too. Maybe they can check out the issue a bit more. I know I have had paid subscriptions that didn't recur and were through paypal so it could well be some corruption.

                            Also If your members pay via cc and don't actually log into or register at pay pay then pay pal cannot start any subscription. Really vb should handle subscriptions and renewals not paypal. We don't need anyone automatically and silently charging anyone for anything. Just make it easy for subscribers to buy a set period of happiness! [And nag them a bit as their happy time is coming to an end]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would open a ticket but I'm using VBulletin 3.8.7.

                              Yes, what you are suggesting would be great.

                              OK, no problem solved. So I guess I'm off on my own...again..

                              Comment

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