Today marks a month since Disney+ launched in South Africa and it has been a fun ride. The service includes a massive lineup of TV shows and movies to enjoy anywhere (as long as you are in SA due to region locks). However, Disney+ in South Africa hasn’t gone down as well as we all hoped. It was revealed last month that the service is actually a Hotstar clone that runs off a mediocre platform that can’t even hit 4K across TV apps. Not to mention the lack of IMAX, extras and other major features missing from the app. But it doesn’t end there. Today, Disney+ is dealing with another PR nightmare as hundreds of annual subscribers were charged for monthly subscriptions due to a ‘technical’ issue on the platform.
You see, in May Disney hosted a special launch event for media, SA celebs and other locals. At the event the company celebrated the launch of the service in SA and to say thank you for attending, Disney gave everyone (and their plus 1) an annual subscription to the service. The annual subscription comes as a coupon code that once redeemed, gave you a 12-month membership.
Sadly, this membership didn’t stack so if you purchased a monthly membership on 18 May, you weren’t given this back and you didn’t have 13 months either (the 1 month purchased yourself and the 12 months gifted to you). Given that Disney+ in South Africa runs off this Hotstar disaster, it doesn’t allow members to stack their subscriptions.
In fact, if you were one of the hundreds of people given a code at the event, that annual subscription lives alongside your monthly subscription for some reason. I am not making this up – if you go into your account, it literally shows Disney+ Annual and Disney+ Monthly next to one another as if you have two subscription plans to the same service.
So instead of Disney+ automatically removing your monthly debit for your monthly subscription, the service still thinks you have it running, even if you have the 12-month membership on your account too. As a result, you’ll be charged for that month when the time comes around. This morning, I was debited R119 for my monthly subscription.
I contacted Disney+ to find out what was happening. While I was chatting to the support team, I had multiple people text me reporting the same issue. Everyone I spoke to received a code at the event and also had a monthly subscription before redeeming the code.
So if you’re reading this and redeemed an annual subscription through one of the hundreds of coupons given away by Disney in South Africa, you need to contact support asap. Unfortunately, you can’t cancel your membership yourself on the site itself so you’ll have to chat to a customer support member to help with the issue. Just tell them you want to remove the monthly subscription from your account so they don’t charge you again for it.
Make sure they do this because multiple support members kept telling me to cancel it myself by going to the ‘My Space’ on the bottom navigation panel Click on ‘Help & Settings’ Click on ‘Account Settings’ Clicking on ‘Cancel’ You will see a pop up displaying the validity of your current subscription. Click on ‘Confirm Cancellation’ – this is not available on our platform. Just goes to show what kind of circus Disney is running here.
You also need to make sure that in your account settings, you don’t see two subscription plans available as per the image above. If you see this, Disney will charge you for each one when they expire. I am not entirely sure if users that upgraded from the monthly service to the annual package are having the same issue. Just make sure you have one listed.
You can contact Disney+ support through this link. Good luck though, it took about an hour of back and for the explaining that I do not have the option to cancel it myself.