Customers who purchased extensions from WooCommerce.com are discovering that the renewal discount of 50% has been removed. Instead, they are now paying full-price.
The WooCommerce blog and the official Twitter account do not mention anything about the price increase.
We contacted Automattic and asked if the discount was removed and if customers received prior notice of the price increase. Todd Wilkens, head of WooCommerce, provided the Tavern with the following statement:
All customers receive notification of their upcoming renewal 7 or 15 days before a charge. If anyone received an incorrect price, please contact us immediately and we will make it right. As always, we are committed to making sure WooCommerce is affordable to the widest range of people while maintaining our high level of service and support.
A customer upset by the change contacted WooCommerce’s support desk and inquired about the price increase. The support representative confirmed that the discount was removed and that customers will need to pay full-price to renew.
The customer service rep also explained that the change is due to WooCommerce moving to a straight renewal process, similar to other SaaS products. The representative concludes the ticket by saying they’re monitoring and accepting feedback about the change.
Nathan Hadsall, who makes a living using WooCommerce, is among those upset by the change. “I have been a huge WooCommerce supporter and most of my work as a developer is spent working with WooCommerce,” Hadsall said.
“However this type of approach to business is very sad. I have no problem paying for a license despite the fact that GPL software is available cheaper and legally/ethically by other means.
“I will still stick to WooCommerce since the core is fantastic and is getting better. The biggest change for me will be the plugins and code I use to extend WooCommerce functionality. I will probably start to look elsewhere.
“The biggest gripe I have is with the way WooCommerce does business. WooCommerce has never seemed to care about their customers. Slipping this pricing change in was not an honest move.”
Raising prices for renewals is a part of business and something I think many customers expect at some point. However, raising prices on subscriptions that existing customers may have set to auto-renew, without explicitly notifying them about the change, can create a negative, lasting experience.
If you purchased a subscription on WooCommerce.com and have set it to auto-renew, keep a close eye for your renewal notice.
This has huge implications to us and to our clients.
This is, as you state, “Not an honest move” on the part of WooCommerce. Unfortunately, this seems to be par for the course with this company. Having experienced similar issues in previous years we chose to stick with them but this will definitely cause us to reassess other options.
We will have to strongly reconsider our clients’ options and will be encouraging new clients to explore other ecommerce solutions.
WooCommerce does not inspire loyalty with moves like this. I am really disappointed.