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I recently decided to upgrade my package to include a the 20 user chat room allowance. The addon shows as $10 USD per 6 months service, which is good value IMO for a hosted service.

The issue I have with this is that my main package is about to come up for renewal. on 17th May. When I queried this with support I was told:

If you upgrade now, no, it will not be prorated. You will renew at full price in 17 days. It's typically best to upgrade immediately after renewing, but if you'd like, I can manually generate a prorated invoice for you, or I can generate an invoice to allow you to renew early.

-Collin S.
Invision Power Services, Inc.

Collin's help isn't being criticised as he offered to assist with the invoices, but my point is more about the customer experience.

I think IPS need to provide more clarity about the impacts of adding additional services part way through a subscription period as it was certainly not clear to me that this was the case. It's only my extreme caution that triggered me to raise the ticket in the first place, having noticed that my licences for a given purchase now all expire at the same time.

I'd like to suggest either;

1. IPS include additional information, that is VERY noticeable, explaining to customers how they might be impacted by an upgrade part-way through their subscription period.

or

2. On the addition of an extra service or product, IPS create a new invoice that adds 6 months of the new service on and prorates the additional products accordingly.

For example, assuming I have IP.Board already at $25.00 per 6 month period and I wish to add IP.Chat to the service exactly half way through a subscription period, IPS would generate an invoice for $22.50 in respect of 6 months IP.Chat service and 3 months IP.Board support. This keeps everything inline and ensures a customer gets full access to the subscription they are requesting, without the need to request support to intervene.

I have seen this done elsewhere for other services and it works well. It would just take some clear and concise wording to ensure customers understand up front.

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IP.Chat is a bit of a strange case with the way renewals work, because it is a hosted subscription service.

With our other applications, we're not able to offer pro-rated renewals because of the way it could easily be manipulated - you "reactivate" a product for $1 with a week left in your billing cycle, download the latest version, and then deactivate it. In order to prevent users from trying to game the renewals like this, we've set it up so that, if you choose not to renew a product for it's standard cycle, when you renew it next, you're basically "catching it up" to the suite's expiration date, and as such, it does not extend the suite's renewal date, nor is it prorated. In the case of IP.Chat, typically I am able to prorate the invoice, or just renew you a week early, since IP.Chat is a hosted service. For our other products, however, we unfortunately aren't able to offer prorated renewals due to the ease of which that could be abused.

There's a much longer topic about this issue over at which should clear up any confusion and explain in further detail why renewals work the way they do.

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Hi Collin,

First of all thanks for your support with that renewal.

I think you may misunderstand my intention around prorating. I'm actually suggesting you go the other way.

You quite rightly need customers to pay, fully, for any renewal. Prorating in the traditional sense would leave IPS out of pocket. I, as a customer, require that my renewal fee result in a full six months worth of support which is what the renewal entitles me to, amongst other things.

Thus, I propose the prorating work in the opposite direction and a greater value invoice is generated.

Assume that I already have IP.Board renewed at $25.00 and that I am exactly halfway through my subscription period (just so the maths is easy). I decide I want to renew IP.Gallery at $10.00. The solution is to produce an invoice that contains the full 60 day support I require for IP.Gallery, and to "top up" the IP.Board subscription so that they both now expire at the same time. Since I am halfway through my subscription at $25.00 per 6 months, I need to pay an additional $12.50.

The total invoice cost would therefore be $22.50.

IP.Board and IP.Gallery would now both be supported to the same date, in exactly 6 months time. :smile:

As a customer I am not losing out... the money I would normally pay for a renewal is still being paid and I still get my support. I will not feel like I've paid for anything I've not had (I am sure you can see how it could be spun this way, rightly or wrongly) and IPS will be paid exactly what is due.

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