Twitch Slammed Over Refund Policy That 'Encourages Viewers To Troll Streamers'
A divisive Twitch feature has been axed by the streaming service, with complaints it's been added as a way to encourage subscribers to get a shoutout. There have been continued complaints that some viewers are only subscribing to channels to get a shoutout, then are quickly refunding their subscriptions as a way to troll creators. Twitch is accused of allowing trolls to exploit the subscription service just for the clout.
Considering Twitch streamers make a living from subscribers and ads, there's a growing trend of them shouting out to newcomers to thank them for their custom. It's commonplace that every time someone subscribes to a channel, the creator will give them a little thank you during a stream. Although it's a wholesome way for streamers to acknowledge the support of others, there's apparently a dark underbelly that uses a loophole to mock streamers.
What's wrong with the Twitch refund policy?
Cancelling subscriptions is all well and good, and let's be honest, it's easy to press the six months subscription button instead of three months. However, the latest addition to the refund procedure included the option to admit you just wanted a shoutout. Over on Twitter, Twitch was slammed for feeding the trolls and encouraging others to do the same. Twitch user @TalesofTiny called out the streaming giant for legitimising this kind of potential trolling.
It didn't take long for the issue to boil over, with Twitch quickly confirming it will remove the shoutout option as a reason for cancelling your subscription. On March 10, Twitch clarified where it stands on the issue and explained, "Hi Tiny, thanks for kicking off the conversation. This limited refund window was originally introduced to protect against accidental purchases. These cancellation reasons were added in 2018 to capture why viewers are seeking refunds. Note - gift subs cannot be refunded this way.
"This info is used to improve the subscription experience for creators and subscribers. We did not intend to make it seem like we are encouraging this behavior, and based on community feedback, we are removing the “shoutout” option".
Although the situation was brought to a close before it went too far, some are baffled why Twitch would include this kind of option in the first place. Elsewhere, some called for a complete overhaul of how subscription refunds work. Twitter user @Novaleesi said, "Twitch’s refund policy is so harmful to smaller streamers. Automatic refunds? No chance to challenge it? No notification? No protection? Just money quietly taken out of my pocket? Twitch can afford to eat the refund cost, and/or hire a team to investigate the claims".
Another critic said, "Stop letting twitch make a bad environment for streamers. That is how we have gotten to how bad youtube is we all shrugged it off like 'meh they will fix it later'", while a third concluded, "Honestly subs should be non-refundable. You have to go through a confirmation process to sub so I don't see how this feature is useful if it's intention is to prevent accidents. Esp since trolls can sub so they can bypass sub only mode and help others get passed that too".
Not everyone was against Twitch though. One supporter said, "Being able to un-sub in the first 10 minutes for a refund has been a thing since forever and auto bans if you abuse it. It's really not that deep. Also as a small PSA to viewers, streamers never see the reason you un-sub to a streamer". Thankfully, Twitch nipped this one in the bud before it got too far. Still, it has raised some interesting questions about the subscription refund policy works.
Images via Twitch | Pixabay