Some customers of Disney+ in the UK (and Europe) have faced unexpected difficulties in renewing their subscription this week.
- Update: We’ve added Disney’s response below
While normally this would be a small temporary nuisance – in this case, the issue could have ended up increasing the subscription cost for some customers (though Disney has since promised to honour the legacy pricing for the affected customers).
As expected, until the issue was resolved, many have taken to social media to voice their concerns.
Disney’s popular streaming service, Disney+, launched in the UK one year ago, on March 24, 2020 (several months after its US launch).
In that time, it has managed to acquire more than 100 million subscribers around the world, and an estimated 3 million in the UK, according to a recent report.
When Disney+ launched in the UK last year, many people opted for the annual subscription, which was £59.99 for a full year, instead of £5.99/month if you paid monthly.
Last month, however, Disney Plus’ price in the UK has increased and is now £7.99/month or £79.90/year.
The price increase was attributed to the launch of Star, the Disney+ category aimed at more mature audiences. Star brought with it hundreds of additional films and TV shows, but with the added subscription cost.
However, customers who had an active subscription before February 23, 2021, can continue to pay the old price until August 23, 2021. For monthly subscribers, the price will simply go up from £5.99 to £7.99 in August.
Annual subscribers who are due to renew their subscription before August 23, 2021 (and had an active subscription before February 23), will also pay the lower annual price (£59.99). Then, any annual renewals after August 23, will be billed at the new, higher price.
Notice, however, the “active subscription” part: if existing subscribers cancel their membership at any point after February 23, then signing back up would be at the new, higher price point.
This week, with Disney+ celebrating one year in the UK (and several other countries), it was time for many subscribers to renew their annual subscription.
According to complaints on social media, while some didn’t get any reminders, others have received e-mails telling them that their renewal is due, but “as you’re an existing annual subscriber, for your next renewal you will pay the current standard price of £59.99 for another 12 months.”
Furthermore, the email said: “You don’t have to do a thing. Your Disney+ annual subscription will renew automatically for 59.99 on 24 March, 2021.”
And that’s where the trouble started: some annual subscriptions did not auto-renew, either because of expiring payment methods, lack of funds, or other reasons (and since the previous billing was 12 months ago – it stands to reason some people would forget to update or check their payment methods).
But once those annual subscriptions were cancelled, against some customers’ wishes – they discovered they were now being asked to pay the higher subscription cost.
@DisneyPlusHelp I received an email stating that my disney plus was due for automatic renewal at last year's price £59.99
I logged on today to see you have cancelled my subscription and now want to charge the price £79.99
Can you help?
The live chat wasn't helpful pic.twitter.com/2Z7H9GLxOJ
— Gaz (@gareth_vader) March 24, 2021
As expected, many have taken to Twitter:
My useless stress moment of the day was when I was supposed to have the discounted disney+ renewal rate and because of billing mishap I’ve had to use my credit card and now it’s billed me the normal new fare. So 1) credit card use, 2) higher fare. pic.twitter.com/p9tas9HTU3
— Frenchie 🇫🇷 (@frenchtom34) March 25, 2021
With many customers facing this issue, Disney Plus’ support channels soon became crowded:
As many others auto renew has failed.
Can’t get through on phone. 1hr 30m wait for chat and then dropped. Been waiting anther 80mins still no agent.
What is the problem and what are you doing to make sure UK customers renew at £59.99? @disney_uk @Disney pic.twitter.com/13BNZVGpxV
— SBaggins (@ukSJS) March 24, 2021
Yesterday, Disney+ addressed the issue on their official Twitter account, stating they will be in touch with customers with additional information:
We’re aware that some Disney+ subscriptions have expired due to outdated or incorrect payment information. We will be in touch with customers via email with additional information. Thank you for your patience 💙
— Disney+ UK (@DisneyPlusUK) March 25, 2021
Today, Disney also released the following statement:
Apologies for the longer than normal waiting times on live chat and phones. We’re aware that some Disney+ subscriptions have expired due to payment issues.
This issue has now been resolved and we apologise for any inconvenience. We will be in touch with customers via email with additional information. Thanks for your patience!
We now understand that the customers who had renewal payment issues will still be able to renew at the old price, once they hear from Disney+ (or contact customer service).