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Subscription Issue and Work-Around


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While an avid supporter of IPS, Subscriptions has always been a sore spot for me.  I offer a number of varied subscriptions but didn’t realize until recently that if a member chose the “10-day Trial” (Which I have to manually add an expiration date), that member can never choose a different subscription, say Annual, unless the member upgrades within the 10-day trial! 

I reported this to IPS and was told, “This is by design”.  Questioning further, I was directed here to the “Feedback and Ideas” forum.  Searching for “Subscription”, I was presented with 587 results mostly without any response from IPS.

Some of you probably remember the Subscription Manager program written by Michael McCune.  I believe Brandon Farber later took it over?  It was excellent.  I don’t know why it was so crippled within Commerce.  In fact, the only reason I pay for Commerce is for Subscriptions.  Yes, Support Tickets are nice, but can easily be moved to PM or Email.

Okay… So what to do?  If the subscription wasn’t active (thus inactive) and the member could renew it, only it and nothing else, I chose an inactive subscriber and manually cancelled his subscription through Commerce.  That was WORSE!!!  Now he couldn’t renew that subscription or purchase anything at all.  After cancelling in Commerce, now it gave me the option to DELETE.  But THAT forced me to mark the transactions as denied or refund. No, no, no…. However, deleting it did allow the member to be able to purchase any new subscription.

My work around:  I wrote a script that deleted all EXPIRED subscriptions from the table nexus_member_subscriptions but left all transaction data in place.

I chose to share this experience and my “fix” because all of my issues have already been presented, multiple times, in this forum.  I agree with a mass of users that IPS needs to give some “love” to subscriptions and Commerce.  I have three major requests:

  1.           I don't care about “inactive” subscribers, only “active”.  Yes, a history of subscriptions would be desirable and welcome, but not at the cost of limiting the sites income stream by preventing members from subscribing.
  2.               A much more friendly end-user interface to downgrade, upgrade, or cancel a subscription.   AND truly have it removed if they cancel it.
  3.         A NON-RECURRING time-based subscription.  If it is 10-days, 30-days, or 365-days…. No matter….  It provides the benefit, reverts, and disappears.



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The first two sound really odd. None of my members have an issue subscribing or upgrading. I understand the verbiage of the “trial” one is odd but they can’t “upgrade” unless they have an existing package. 

for the “upgrade from trial” thing you can probably get a modder to create you a custom plugin to change the words on subscriptions if their trial subscription expired.

It almost sounds like the way you have subscriptions setup is causing your issue tbh. It probably boils down to your free trial. Basically you are letting people upgrade ONLY when they have an active subscription which is where your issue resides. You may want to review your settings.

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Hi @Morrigan,

I think perhaps you misunderstood the scenario, or I did not explain it clearly enough.  I have multiple subscription packages.  One of them is named "10-Day Trial".  Because it is not recurring, when I receive notice that a member has subscribed to it, I manually add an expiration date.  Otherwise it would be perpetual.

If you have multiple subscriptions packages available, then log in as any member with a expired subscription.  You will find that the member has no option other than to renew that subscription.  There are no other options.

There is no "Free Trial", no problem upgrading as long as the subscription has not expired.  Nothing wrong with my settings.   As stated, I was unaware the issue even existed until a member brought it to my attention.


Edited by SMen
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6 hours ago, Morrigan said:

No. I fully understood what you explained. But I don’t have that issue. I have members with expired subscriptions that can still go and subscribe. Also my members can upgrade/downgrade at any time.

Hey, that is absolutely wonderful for you!  Not really sure how that can be.  IPS clearly stated that it is "By Design" that when a subscription expires, the member can ONLY renew that expired subscription.... and that is the issue I am facing.


4 hours ago, bfarber said:

We actually improved Subscriptions in 4.5 to explicitly support "free trials" (and similar setups) - is there any reason you don't use this built in functionality where I believe you wouldn't be running into the issues you are having?

Thank you Brandon.  Yes, I am aware.  No problems with the Free Trial feature brought into the conversation by @Morrigan.  My issues do not involve that feature.  Simply changing from one subscription package to a different one AFTER a subscription expires.

I'm not sure why there is difficulty grasping what I have explained... but having read about 60 of the messages that looked similar to mine, there are dozens of users experiencing the same issues.


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I figured it out @bfarber

When you get a subscription you are ONLY able to renew the subscription you had before and then probably upgrade?

Basically they are saying that the end user should be able to subscribe to any available subscription regardless of past subscriptions.

To duplicate:

Have a user with an expired subscription

Go to subscriptions 

The only option they have is to “Renew Now” instead of “subscribe” to other subscriptions. In his instance the free trial is obviously not something they can renew in order to upgrade.

It’s not a good way to have it regardless because if you don’t prorate upgrades the person has to pay twice to upgrade to the correct subscription that they want. 

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1 hour ago, Paul E. said:

So, in other words, you'd like a time limited subscription (10 days/years/whatever), with no option to renew (or a limited number of renewals from 0-X).

As it stands, there are perpetual subscriptions and time limited with renewal always as an option.

Yes.  Any non-recurring subscription is presently perpetual.

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2 hours ago, Morrigan said:

@SMen and @Paul E. If you read the post that Brandon linked this is coming in 4.5.

That's not the core issue that the person is reporting here.

No, it is clearly the addition of a free trial option.... which has a renewal built in.  It does not address a time restricted subscription with no renewal.  And as you stated, not the main purpose of my post, just on the list of my wishes.


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@SMen Wondering if you can post or DM the subscription expiration script? We can move the request to a developer forum if needed.

We're stuck on 4.4.x for the moment due to the need to continue using Post Anonymously by TSP. So we cannot use 4.5 Free trial system at this time.

Currently I am using the signup form (from Guest -> Member) to place users automatically in a TRIAL group.
So in the initial TRIAL Group, users have access to the TRIAL features. After 7 days, the Group Promotions sweeps all TRIAL accounts that were created 7 days ago into the TRIAL EXPIRED group ( oh how I wish we could add features to the list of automated systems tasks! ).

The next time they log in as TRIAL EXPIRED, we can try to upsell them to a subscription.

I can't help but think there is a better way to manage these as a product/subscription (well of course there is, in 4.5!) but in 4.4.

So wondering if the script will do the trick to sweep certain accounts, and I could go back to having a regular signed-in, non-privileged member accounts.

Thanks, Mike

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3 hours ago, mcsg said:

@SMen Wondering if you can post or DM the subscription expiration script? We can move the request to a developer forum if needed.

Hi Mike,

Just using a simple MySQL Delete command....

DELETE FROM <DBNAME>.IPS_nexus_member_subscriptions
where sub_active=0

Change <DBNAME> to your database name, and assumes you are using the default prefix IPS_


Edited by SMen
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