A new app that automatically cancels subscriptions at the end of the free trial period has launched in the UK.
The app, called Free Trial Surfing was developed by Josh Browder, who once developed an algorithm to fight unfair parking fines. The app is not linked to a customer’s bank account or credit card, but Browder says it is in partnership with a major bank.
Browder said 10,000 people had signed up to try Free Trial Surfing since its launch six weeks ago in the US, where UK-born Browder now lives. The two most common subscriptions the service has been used for are porn sites and Netflix, he said.
“The idea for this product came when I realised I was being charged for a $21.99 gym membership from over a year ago that I was never using,” Browder commented. “In fact, I had completely forgotten that I had signed up for a free trial in the first place. Constantly trying to keep track of when a ‘free trial’ period ends is annoying and time-consuming.”
The app works by giving customers a virtual credit card number and invented name, which they can use to sign up for a service. The card is actually registered to Browder’s firm, Do Not Pay. The app can also forward emails between the service provider and the virtual card so that the customer’s own email address is secure.