I saw the free trial comms but didnt read anywhere that I was being opted in and being charged for the product.
To be clear here, I use CHIP as a set and forget option. I rarely go into the the app these days as the autosaves is all I needed.
I saw the free trial comms but didnt read anywhere that I was being opted in and being charged for the product.
I agree with both sides. Chip need to be careful putting people onto a premium product without being clear that it would recur.
I however immediately downgraded my trial so as not to stay in chipX. Most other companies use a similar sign up to a trial and for it continue so I saw this coming.
I invested in Chip, and loved it at the start, like OP said, a bit here and a bit there, then I had hundreds saved. It’s too complicated, and the having to opt out requires constant attention, which isn’t what I need for my piddly couple of pounds here and there savings. I took my money out, and I have it in a Starling “space” to keep it separate, and I’ll add to that when I can. Saving isn’t about interest rates for me, it’s about hiding money from myself! Interest would be a bonus. Can’t we just have an option for plain old regular Chip back?
E-mail rec’d on the 4th July reads as follows:
As one of our more long term savers we’re rewarding you with a 28 day taste of ChipX at no extra cost.
So, this month we’ll give you ChipX membership at the same price as your ChipAI membership. Your taster begins today and you can opt out at any time.
We know you’re going to love ChipX. We’ve designed it so you can get serious about your money, without needing to put in serious effort.
I certainly didn’t read this as “your subscription to ChipX will continue after the trial”. I guess it could be read either way I suppose but I interpreted to be “you can opt out of the trial at any time”. Personally I think Chip should have been more explicit to the fact that we would start to be charged for ChipX at the end of the trial.
I have been wondering about the burn rate too.
I have not analysed and do not question the figures in your note. However, whatever those numbers are, they are not what I expected (when I made a series of substantial cash investments) or want now.
It’s become overly complicated, with multiple offers and consequent confusion. I have little idea now of what is on offer for customers. I see lots of other challengers which will be moving customers away.
I would have thought that a continuing, simple, focussed one shot message, such as Chip started with, would be better.
Provided that the 129 employees are all indeed adding value and that the increase in volume and scale and potential profit (or at least less loss) then proceed.
One marker for me would be successful location of a commercial investor with lots and lots of cash - and soon.
I don’t agree. I have received many emails from several different staffers at Chip. I have given up reading them, because they seem to me to muddle a clear offer. I just don’t have time.
Its a little like reading down seventy pages into the standard T&Cs for every piece of software - Hitch Hikers guide rules.
I think there are a lot of good points on this thread but think it is important to focus on a key point that alarms me.
Chip management decided to opt users automatically into a financial product that comes with a fee without seeking “explicit” consent from the users.
If I consider it from their point of view to show balance - they want to maximise exposure of the Chip X features to customers so offer a free trial and hope that many of those customers will like what they see and remain subscribers for the higher charge. What probably should have happened is, after the 28 day trial, users should have been put back down to whatever plan they had previously chosen and not been charged any money.
However, this is not what has happened. Users have been charged the £3 per 28 days as though they have selected the product themselves.
Firstly this is in breach of FCA rules, don’t take my word for it, read the first line of this article on the FCA website:
The approach taken feels unethical, almost bordering on the charges banks and other financial organisations tried to introduce on Payment Protection Insurance and look what happened there.
Are Chip management effectively banking (no pun intended) that people won’t realise and not claim the money back? Could there be any fallout where the FCA revoke’s Chip’s license? I cannot comment on whether or not that would happen but the point needs to be raised.
One of Chip’s original USPs was that people can save money without realising. That implies in itself that even people who have the app aren’t monitoring it to see how much they are saving or charges that may apply. Does anyone properly go through their SPAM email folder and identifies emails to read? What if the communication that CHIP had sent went into there? The whole point is that if you are going to charge a user, you need to get explicit consent from them that they understand what they are signing up to.
It infuriates me when Chip management say, we sent communication several times. How much correspondence has been sent over the last 2 years about charges. I remember the app starting out at £1, then £1.50, then different products launching at different costs, then Chip X… Yes there has been a lot of messaging (and I choose my word carefully there), communication requires a two way exchange, an acknowledgement per se and I don’t think Chip understands that. This is why consent is needed whether it be an updated screen going through the key points and getting users to tick to confirm the understand and accept the terms of the contract. One sided messaging does not meet this requirement under the FCA or GDPR.
Surely the best thing to do (investor hat on) is to refund everyone who was charged and apologise.
Whilst I admire what @actlatham and Simon have built in terms of a product and the success it has had, I think investors are treated badly. How many times has an investor raised sensible questions that investors should be told e.g. how many active users are there vs people who have downloaded the app, only for Chip management to say they can’t tell us that due to sensitivity or just ignoring questions raised. I am still waiting for my questions to be answered by @actlatham that I posted six months ago on 25th February (https://community.getchip.uk/t/investor-update-2021/4816/49?u=w2h1982) which you said you would “get back to me and we’re not ignoring you”. Funny that, feels very much like being ignored
I did the same as you. I stopped my autosaves & opted to lump sum at the end of the month.
Guess what! A few weeks ago at chipx launch, I suddenly had my auto saves reinstated without my knowledge or authorisation. I found out from one of the emails that get sent informing me that I’ve saved some money? This is the second time this has happened too. I’ve given up complaining as you get the same old bullshit about the system going belly up & they will look into it. And I’m passed caring now as it supposed to be a set up & forget system just like the complaints process I’m guessing?
I didn’t realise I had been signed up to Chip X, I ignored all the emails as there were far too many trying to sell me a product I am not yet ready for.
When I saw the £3 taken, I messaged chip via the web app and asked why it had happened.
They immediately refunded me the extra and downgraded me from Chip X.
I am considering Chip X but at my pace, not at theirs.
I have to say that there has been plenty of emails about ChipX coming, well before the free trial starting. This gave ample time to read and digest all of the information, as well as the videos Chip has created to explain what they are aiming for. It has felt spammy at times, but at least I was informed and prepared.
What’s bugging me about Chip at the moment is the aggressiveness of the automatic savings. I have payday put away turned on, but there’s been another three saves since then of around £20-30 each. So after all of my direct debits go out, I’m need to withdraw back out of Chip+1 to cover the rest of the month. Withdrawal from Chip+1 takes 3 days too, not 2 hours like the old e-wallet used to. I’ve temporarily stopped automatically savings at the moment.
Normally when a company offers a free or reduced cost trial at the outset, the customer had signed up at the outset with the knowledge that they will be charged full whack after the trial is over. If you opt all users in without asking them, they have not given their consent to be charged after the trial period.
It’s asking for trouble IMO as you’ll get a flurry of compaints/bad reviews once people realise they’ve been charged, and these will keep coming as not everyone will realise straight away and will be repeatedly charged before noticing.
A free trial is a good thing. Giving it to all customers automatically is also fine, but if you’re doing it that way, I think you need to either have the customer opt in at the end of the trial or - if they do not opt in - shift them back to their original setting after the trial is over.
One of the great things about Chip for me is that I can link up my bank account and then forget about it. If I need to start worrying about being automatically signed up for things and then charged, it removes one of Chip’s key selling points which is saving without feeling it.
There is a lot to get through! Let’s start with the confusion on Chip’s product offerings and payment plans. In the Chip app if you go to ‘profile’ and then click on ‘your plan’ and then ‘change or view plans’ you should be able to easily view our different plans in terms of pricing and product offerings. In this you will be able to see that Chip Lite is free.
In the last year Chip has offered more products and with that naturally comes some confusion, particularly from our long standing users who joined chip for simple auto saving. It’s worth noting that these new products like our 1.25% bonus Chip +1 account, do bring in a lot of new customers. We understand there is a need to balance bringing in new users without losing faith from our old guard. We fundamentally still offer the same auto saving feature that we did when Chip started out. The difference is there is a variety of offerings now.
As a marketing team there are ongoing conversations on how we can avoid this kind of confusion in the future. Going forward we are confident that the new products we offer will be clearly communicated as to what they are and as to what plan they will be on.
In terms of Chip’s finances we are working on an H2 report which will be available at the end of the month as I explained in my shareholder monthly newsletter last week.
The move from E-Wallet to an FSCS protected account does in no way impact our auto saving feature, if that was the USP for you before we switched these accounts it should still be your USP now.
Now in terms of upgrading to ChipX. First of all everything was in line with the FCA, we have a very experienced Chief Compliance Officer here at Chip. We have not breached any FCA rules.
Based on the anticipation for the ChipX features, any user on the ChipAI plan was awarded with a free trial at no extra cost with communications alerting those affected being sent to their emails. If this was not for you, we do sincerely apologise - please reach out to our customer success team so we can amend this for you.
What you are going to want to do in regard to your aggressive auto savings is turn down your ‘Auto save level’. If you click on profile and then ‘Auto-save settings’ you should then see that you can adjust the level at which you save. 1 being the lowest amount and 5 being the highest.
I will do that. It is set to 3 at the moment. It used to be fine, taking smaller amounts more regularly. Now the amounts are quite substantial, I don’t think the AI recognises the fact that I have three weeks until I get paid again!
Is your account fully connected? If not then Chip takes educated guesses at amounts……
Thanks for the response Fred.
I’m happy to hear that everything was in line with FCA rules though I don’t think you’ve really answered the crux of the concerns in this thread which related to everyone on the ChipX trial having their subscription to the product continued at the end of the trial. I still don’t think this was the correct approach - surely this was something that Chip should have required members to opt in to at the end of the trial?
I’d echo the concerns raised by @w2h1982 and wonder if a clarification e-mail should be sent to users confirming that their trial of ChipX has ended and they are now on the plan permanently, with the £3/mo cost?
First of all, thanks for the response Fred, but did you actually read this thing you wrote before posting it? Do you honestly think this is something that’s ‘easily done’ by someone whose main motivation in joining Chip in the first place was to put away a little money each month without thinking about it?
I hate the political tone of the responses from Chip in this thread. You moved me onto a plan that’s taking more money than I’ve explicitly given you permission for TWICE in the last couple of years. Admit this is WRONG: I don’t know about it being illegal but it is definitely sneaky. I don’t want to have to micro manage my Chip account to make sure I’m not getting charged for more than I’ve given my consent for. It’s WRONG.
Ugh- sorry- you can tell I’m getting impatient and angry. I also hate all this stuff about ‘it was clearly communicated’ in emails. I don’t want anything to be communicated to me about moving me into a higher charging price plan without me EXPLICITLY asking to be charged that much. Ever. That is WRONG.
So- change your policy. It is not right to keep moving people into higher price bands. I wonder what Martin from MSE will say about it? Will he say it was clearly communicated, it’s an exciting time, loads of possibilities, the sky’s the limit, it’s been so popular with many users blah blah blah? Or would he call it out as being sneaky, underhand, corporate jargon hiding the fact that you’re taking more money from me than I’ve ever given consent for?
Seriously- can you address that, or will that get lost in more politician’s talk, avoiding admitting you’re wrong and just getting it fixed?
I am sorry but I cannot take your word for this that Chip did not break FCA rules.
I provided a link to their own website, which says: “Money can only be taken from your account if you’ve authorised the transaction.”
Maybe you can get you Chief Compliance Officer to explain how, moving people to an account on a free trial basis without their consent, and then charging them for the use of that service when the free trial ends is in compliance with the above statement? At what stage did the user / customer authorise the transaction?
It is also important to be clear, just sending a couple of emails to a user is NOT communication. Communication requires you to get consent i.e. a response agreeing to those new terms. If you don’t get a response then there is no “acceptance” of the changes in the contract. In the Law, if you want to change a contract i.e. what someone signed up to when using the app, you need to get both parties agreement to change that initial contact and the terms within it. Otherwise, I could say, “Guess what Fred, you owe me £1000 for a holiday I booked for you, I emailed you about it 6 months ago. I did not get a reply from you but took your silence to mean you agreed”.
I agree but would just caveat that by saying that most banks etc when they change their terms, to reduce the interest rate for example, will send an email with the new terms and say that “you can close your account before the above change takes effect, if you don’t then you agree to the new terms”.
This seems to be accepted as a legit way to alter the terms.
The alternative to this would be to close the accounts unless the customer actively accepted the new terms by reticking a box or something.
However, in the original terms the customer did actively agree to, there will be something that says something like:
So the customer agreed to the implied consent at the outset.
I am not saying that moving people onto a higher charged product is the same thing as reducing an interest rate (I don’t think it is), just that there doesn’t necessarily need to be the two-way thing if the customer initially agreed to a one-way notification and then doing nothing being treated as consent.
I think moving people from Chip AI to Chip X is like moving someone to a completely new account for which there will be different terms and conditions that need to be agreed to, explicitly. It isn’t just changing the amount being charged for Chip AI, it is a completely different product.
A free trial upgrade for a month seems fine, but if you then want to charge for the new product you need to get the customer’s agreement to the new terms.
Hi Ben, all I would say is there is a big difference between reducing interest rate and moving you to a few paying product without your consent. But accept the point