South Korea has slapped an 867 million won ($743,249) fine on Google as its YouTube Premium service to charge users without proper consent after a free one-month trial violates the local telecommunications law.
The Korea Communications Commission announced Thursday the contract for YouTube Premium designed to remove all ads from videos subscribers watch is unfair and unilateral, while users are not properly notified that the free trial service will be automatically converted to a paid service, with no information about the cost, due date and payment method.
Other important notices such as service cancellation and refund policy also were not properly offered to users, the agency said.
To get a refund for their advance payment, YouTube Premium subscribers are required to cancel subscription within seven days of service under the current contract terms. But the one-month free trial can mislead users to believe that it is okay to ask for cancellation for the entire month, it added.
Unlike YouTube, music, video and other content streaming services in Korea allow users to cancel the service any time in a month and give a full refund for the period that are not used by subscribers.
YouTube Premium service allows users to enjoy ad-free videos and content downloads at 8,690 won a month including tax.
A total of 2.54 million users signed up for the free trial service, and 1.16 million of them subscribed to the paid service in the following month due to automatic conversion. About 8.9 percent of the paid service subscribers asked for a refund, according to the KCC.
By Shin Chan-ok and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]