As online learning portals and platforms gain more traction in a world that is moving towards digital options for everything, it is imperative that these platforms maintain their quality standards and offer the highest level of convenience and customer support to their users.
Among the names that have emerged in this industry, one of the most notable ones is that of Skillshare. Though a great platform otherwise for leaning and skill-building, Skillshare’s refund policies make many people hesitate before taking up a course with them.
Skillshare is an online learning platform that provides interactive educational courses on a number of topics, ranging from animation and designing to marketing and business analytics. They classify their courses in three categories which are: create, build, and thrive.
- Create has courses that consist of creating something from scratch, such as creating a website, to creating a fine art piece or a film.
- Build has courses that consist of building skills and include courses like business analytics, leadership, management, and freelancing.
- Thrive focuses on learning about lifestyle and productivity.
Skillshare does offer refunds but with some conditions. There are three conditions they apply to refunds.
- Firstly, they offer only refunds to annual premium membership payments and not to monthly payments ones.
- Secondly, if members contact them within 7 days after the charge has been processed, then only the refund will be considered.
- Lastly, there is only one refund per customer allowed.
If and when all of these conditions are fulfilled, then only refunds are offered, as stated in their refund policy.
What Type of Subscriptions?
Skillshare has two memberships available; one is free, and one is premium. The free one includes access to all free classes and projects on web and mobile applications. All you need to get a free membership is to sign up for Skillshare using any email address.
However, to get hold of all the classes, offline access, no ads to disturb, and access to their community, you need to purchase a premium membership. To get a premium membership, one needs to have a valid credit or debit card.
Annual and Monthly
For Skillshare premium subscription, there are two plans offered to individuals, and one is made for teams. The teams subscription is made for teams of 3-49 people and is tailored-made for each team, so the prices are quoted accordingly.
As for premium plans for individuals, the options available are monthly or annually. The monthly plan is for $15.00 per month, which, as the name implies, is billed monthly, and the annual plan, which is far more economical, equals to $ 8.25 and is billed annually.
There are some attractive features to getting an annual premium membership as it offers exclusive discounts on many tools available on the platform, such as 13% off on Adobe Acrobat Pro and 20% on Adobe Premier Pro and many more.
And of course, not to forget, the refunds are only applicable for these annual subscriptions.
Furthermore, Skillshare provides its premium members with a free two-month trial so to give customers a chance to experience premium membership perks first and decide if they like it.
They can continue it after 2 months by either opting for a monthly subscription or an annual one. However, before this trial, they have to sign up as a premium member by giving in their payment information so they can charge you after your two months trial is over.
They will also send you a reminder email asking you if you wish to continue your membership or not. You can always cancel your subscription any time by just visiting the payment settings tab.
So to answer the main question, yes, there is an option for getting refunds, only and only if the conditions stated above are satisfied.
There will be a money-back guarantee when you are an annual member and only if you request it within 7 days after the charge has been processed.
There is one refund per customer available, so if you have availed the option once, you can’t go for another. You can put it this way; you only have the luxury of getting dissatisfied once with them, and if you are a monthly subscriber, you do not get that even.
There are many other online learning platforms offering refunds if subscribers are not satisfied. Other similar portals such as Udemy, offer a money-back guarantee on all its eligible courses purchased on the website, valid for refunds for up to 30 days.
They state that they want to create a risk-free environment to study, and that is why they introduced the “within 30 days refund policy”.
Also, to save themselves from refund abuse, they have certain conditions such as if a member has downloaded or consumed more than half of the course, requested multiple refunds for the same course, or requested excessive refunds, then Udemy has the right to deny the refund to this member on the grounds of refund abuse.
As we can see, Udemy and other such sites do have restrictions in their refund policy, but their restrictions are there to stop refund abuse, not to disable people from being eligible to demand refunds on the grounds of dissatisfaction.
Skillshare makes asking for refunds so complicated that many would not even bother to go through such a hassle, and opt-out of using their website and courses, choosing instead to go to other players in the market.
And it is not only Udemy but many other online platforms like Coursera and Teachable that are offering a money-back policy. They are all brands working within the same industry with similar business models.
They are all giving this edge to customers, and it is acting like a warranty to their products. Moreover, this can be one good way to make customers loyal to their website only and thus help in retaining them.
As online platforms for learning are getting popular day by day and is becoming one of the fastest-growing industries because of current circumstances and convenience provided, Skillshare needs to keep up to maintain its position in the industry.
It only makes sense for there to be a more flexible exchange policy in place, as this exchange can be termed as a transaction where subscribers are paying for the product, which is skill-building and educational videos.
If they are not satisfied with it, they should be given every right to ask for a warranty or money back. As the rule of every transaction states that if a product does not fulfill the requirements it promises, a customer has every right to ask for their money back.
Moreover, when competitors like Udemy are offering a money-back guarantee in the same industry, Skillshare needs to step up and make amends to its refund policy to stay competitive.
Is the Free Trial A Bait?
The free trial can be easily termed as bait used to trap consumers for the monthly or annual subscription as they take your credit/debit card information and give you 3 days to cancel it by reminding you exactly 3 days before the trial ends.
So often, subscribers have found it hard to cancel the subscription even after the trial ends and are charged on annually or monthly basis.
Many customer reviews show they have tried to contact the company for refund of these charges; even then, they are not entertaining such refunds, and thus, many subscribers are stuck in this case.
Many even complain that after canceling the subscription, they are being charged, and there is no one to attend their complaints from the organization.
One of the interesting facts to note is that before signing up the membership, they ask you to agree to terms and conditions which state that you authorize these recurring charges to be applied automatically after a given date.
In the annual membership, one year is automatically billed, which means they add these three months in that year.
In the monthly subscription, they make monthly payments repeatedly charged until members get in contact with the website and cancel it. Once it is charged, it gets very hard to get the money back.
There is no way to verify how genuine these reviews are, but there are many such reviews on the internet for the Skillshare website.
However, the website claims that they allow their members to cancel anytime they want, and there is always a contact option available where you can contact the support team of their organization.
Usually, free trials is a technique used by many companies to get hold of the credit/debit card information, and it usually allows companies to rip off the customers by either constantly charging monthly subscription or adding some hidden charges like shipment or service charge in their bills to earn profits in the trial period.
Having said that, there are many companies who really use a free trial, not as bait but to get subscribers used to the product, and they are not involved in any fraud, i.e., charging customers after they have canceled or adding some hidden charges.
To end it all, it looks like Skillshare as a brand must work on its refund and free trial month policy to retain customers and create a good brand name in the market it is operating in.
For a refund, there should be a money-back guarantee available if customers are not satisfied, and it should be given to all members rather than only to annually billed ones, so terms and conditions need to be revised and made easy for dissatisfied consumers to reach out to the brand.
For the free trial policy, recurring charges should apply when the consumer authorize it after the free trial has ended rather than applied automatically, and the free trial period should not be billed in annual or monthly charges.
Moreover, consumers should be made aware of all the hidden charges before asking for their payment information. By this, good word of mouth and reviews will be circulated around for the brand, which will help create a strong brand image for Skillshare.