Product Changes & Upgrade/Downgrades

Chargify offers the ability to upgrade or downgrade a Subscription in the middle of a recurring billing period. This process is especially handy when you’d like to credit a subscriber for their unused portion of their subscription purchase towards their new subscription.

There are three types of Upgrades/Downgrades:

  1. Product Changes (Non-prorated)
  2. Prorated Upgrades/Downgrades
  3. Delayed Product Changes

We’ll cover many examples in the following sections that take into example use cases for many examples. We’ll also build on the knowledge you learn in this document and illustrate advanced examples of proration.

Product Changes

Product Changes (Non-prorated)

Product changes do not trigger any prorated charges or credits. Instead, they simply change the product on the subscription, and the new amount is billed normally at the next normal billing period.

The following attributes as associated with a product change:

  • No proration is done - your customer is not charged or credited at this time
  • If you wish to have proration, then perform an upgrade/downgrade migration.
  • The selected product immediately becomes the current product listed in the Chargify API and UI
  • The current recurring period will not be affected (except in the case of a trial; see below.)
  • The new product’s charges will be assessed at the start of the next period
  • Components are unchanged and component charges will be assessed at the start of the next period.
  • Note: if the new product belongs to a different product family, component usage will no longer show in the “Components (Line-Items)” tab since components belong to a specific product family.
  • If the new product does not have delayed initial charges, any pending initial charges will not apply
  • If the subscription is moving to a product that expires, then the subscription’s expiration will be calculated from today.
  • If the subscription is moving to a product that does not expire, the subscription’s expiration date (if any) will be removed and the subscription will never expire.
  • If the subscription is trialing and is moving to a product with a longer trial, then the subscription’s trial will be extended.

Initiate Non-Prorated Product Change

To initiate a Product Change through the Admin Interface, click the Subscriptions tab and then click the ‘Change Product’ link in the Subscription options.

Alternatively, you can click the ‘Change Product’ link when viewing a Subscription.

Once you are in the Product Change page, you’ll be presented with a list of all available products. Find the product you wish to change to and then choose the Change to product option from the Actions button.

You will see a success message upon completion of the product change.

Product changes may also be made via the API by updating the product_handle on the subscription, as mentioned in the documentation on the API Update method on Subscriptions.

Components and Product Changes

If you are switching the Subscriber to a new product family, all component balances will be reset. You must re-allocate components

Coupons and Product Changes

There are two scenarios that can happen under product changes when coupons are present. For the sake of clarity, when we refer to “the coupon being restricted to the product,” this translates to the coupon is applicable to the product.

  • The new product is restricted to the coupon. In this case, the coupon will be applied.

  • The new product is not restricted to the coupon. In this case, the coupon will not be applied. However the coupon will still be added to the subscription. It may be applicable in the future if the coupons restrictions are edited to include the current product.

Coupons and Product Changes Across Product Families

A coupon can only be added to a subscription to product in the same product family. If a product change is initiated across product families, the coupon may be kept on the subscription, even if the new product is in a different family. In this case, the coupon will no longer be valid, but still a part of the subscription.

Delayed Product Changes

Delayed Product Changes schedule a product change to the next renewal. Since the change happens exactly during the renewal process, no proration is necessary. A full charge for the new product will be applied at the start of the next period.

To initiate a Delayed Product Change through the Admin Interface, click the Subscriptions tab and then click the ‘Change Product’ link in the Subscription options.

Alternatively, you can click the ‘Change Product’ link when viewing a Subscription.

Once you are in the Product Change page, you’ll be presented with a list of all available products. Find the product you wish to change to and then choose the Schedule change to next renewal option from the Actions button.

You will see a success message when your product change has been scheduled.

If you wish to cancel the delayed product change, you can do so at any time by clicking the Cancel link next to the Scheduled product change bar within the subscription header.

Setup Fees With Product Changes

When changing between products that might have a setup fee, this is a guide to when that fee will be honored or not. The following table can be read as changing from the product described in Column 1 to a product in another column.


Upgrades & Downgrades

Proration

Prorated Upgrades/Downgrades cause will have the following effects:

  • Prorated credit: A prorated credit will be created to reimburse the Customer for their current product. Note that this is not a refund; no money will be returned to the user. The credit only effects the Customer’s balance.
  • Charge: A charge for the full amount of the new product will be applied
  • Updated Period Start/End Dates: The period start date will be reset to today’s date

Note: The prorated credit is always at least 0.01 currency units (for instance, $0.01). Even if your customer only had a product for a few seconds, proration will result in a minimum charge for that time of 0.01.

Initiate Prorated Upgrade/Downgrade

To initiate an upgrade or downgrade through the Admin Interface, click the Subscriptions tab and then click the ‘Upgrade/Downgrade’ link in the Subscription options.

Alternatively, you can click the ‘Upgrade/Downgrade’ link when viewing a Subscription.

Upon clicking ‘Upgrade/Downgrade’, you will be able to view the available products, as well as the current product associated with the Subscription. To migrate to another product, press the ‘Select Product’.

You will see a success message upon completion of the upgrade or downgrade. Check the Account Transactions tab for a list of the credits/charges that were created.

Upgrades/Downgrades can also be initiated through API; see API Migrations

The “Upgrade/Downgrade” page also provides a link to the Non-prorated Product Change page, in case that’s what you want to do instead.

Upgrade/Downgrade Example

If you have a subscriber who has purchased a monthly plan for $100 and they are downgraded to a $50/month plan, the following will occur:

Before downgrading to the new product:

  • A prorated-credit of the unused amount of the subscription will be applied for the current product.
  • Any leftover dollar amount will be added as a credit to the subscription.
  • The pro-rated credit for prior period charges will include any component charges from that period

After downgrading to the new product:

  • A charge for the full amount of the new product will be applied
  • A charge for the full amount of all on/off and quantity-based component charges will be applied.
  • All metered components will be reset to zero.
  • The period start date will be reset to today’s date
  • If you are switching to a product within a new product family, all components will be rest to zero.

As you can see in the examples above, we see that the total revenue for the subscription has not changed. However, there is credit applied in amount of $49.87.

In our example, we downgraded the subscription within minutes after the purchase. Thus, only $0.13 of the subscription purchase has actually been consumed.

Chargify calculates the amount of the credit applied to a subscription via the following equation:

(Time left of recurring period / Recurring period) * Cost of recurring period

Now, as we look toward the transaction tab, we see some very useful information that helps illustrate more detail about the upgrade/downgrade:

  • Notice the red box around the adjustment applied to the subscription in the amount of $-99.87. This is the amount of the subscription that is unused and is denoted as a credit.
  • Afterwards, the full price for the subscription in the amount of $50.00 is added as a charge to the subscription. This is noted next to the red arrow.
  • The remaining balance left of $49.87

Components

In this example, we’ll use the same example as above. To restate, the subscriber has purchased a $100/month subscription and is downgrading to a $50/month subscription.

Additionally, the following purchases have been applied to the subscription:

  • 100 Metered Components, at a total of $100.00
  • 100 Quantity-based Components, at a total of $100.00.
  • 1 On/Off Component at a total of $35.00

The total component-based charges are equal to $235.00, with the total revenue @ $335.00. This is due to the fact that the revenue includes the total cost of the $100 product.

As we downgrade them to the $50/month plan, here’s what will occur:

  • Notice the red box around the adjustment in the amount of $234.73. This is the amount of the subscription that is unused and is denoted as a credit.
  • Notice that the credit amount does not include any costs that were pre-paid as a result of purchased metered components.
  • Afterwards, the full price for the subscription in the amount of $50.00 is added as a charge to the subscription. This is noted next to the first red arrow.
  • The quantity-based components ($100) and the On/Off component ($35.00 cancellation fee) are added as new charges to the subscription.
  • The remaining balance left of $49.73

Below is an example of the the newly downgraded subscription:

  • The “Next Billing” amount is comprised of the new product cost, on/off components, and quantity-based components.
  • The “Next Billing” date is set to follow the recurring period of the new product.

Components & Product Family Change

We’ll use the same component configuration as above. However, this time as we downgrade the subscription, we’ll downgrade them to a product outside their current product family.

  • The prorated credit is applied as an adjustment for the unused portion of the product, the on/off components and the quantity-based component.
  • This prorated credit totals -$234.97.
  • The charge for the new product at a cost of $50.00 is applied
  • The remaining balance is -$184.97

Note: As expected, what’s not included in this proration credit is the cost for the metered-components. Additionally, note that no components are applied. Components will need to be re-allocated as subscriptions move across product family lines.

Below is an example of the the newly downgraded subscription:

  • The “Next Billing” amount is comprised of the new product only.
  • The “Next Billing” date is set to follow the recurring period of the new product.

Coupons and Upgrade/Downgrades

When you upgrade / downgrade a subscription, you have the option to include any coupon(s) that are currently applied to the subscription with the migration. Depending on the rules of your coupon setup, this will affect how the coupon(s) will be applied to the subscription.

Un-checking the “Include Coupons” checkbox will prevent coupon(s) from applying to any amount due for the migration. It will not remove the coupon(s) from the subscription, and the coupon(s) may be applied to future renewals. See the subscription coupons documentation for more information on adding and removing coupons from a subscription.

Coupon Restrictions During Upgrade/Downgrade

During an upgrade/downgrade, you must take into consideration if the current coupon is restricted (applicable) to the product. Another way of stating this is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the the current coupon restricted to the current product?

  • Is the coupon be restricted to the next product?
    • The coupon will be applied.
  • Is the coupon not restricted to the next product?
    • The coupon will not be applied.
  • Would I like to have the current coupon restricted to the next product?
    • The coupon will be applied if the coupon is restricted to the next product.

In any of these cases, you must consider the coupon restrictions for the product.

Upgrade/Downgrade with Coupons Across Product Families

A coupon can only be added to a subscription to product in the same product family, however if a upgrade/downgrade is initiated, the coupon may be kept on the subscription, even if the new product is in a different family. In this case, the coupon will no longer be valid, but still a part of the subscription.

Statements

When a subscriber’s payment method is the automatic method and you upgrade/downgrade a subscriber’s product, the following will occur:

Statement #1

  1. Statement #1 shows the original charges/payments for the signup of the product.
  2. The statement is closed after the upgrade/downgrade action is initiated.

Statement #2

  1. The first line item, credit, shows the credit for the unused portion of the product.
  2. The second line item, recurring, shows the cost for the product the subscriber has been upgraded/downgraded to in your Site.
  3. The total is the difference between the two line items.
  4. Since the subscription is on the automatic payment method, the card on file will be charged immediately.
  5. This results with a payment, shown by the red arrow, processed against the card on file.

Invoices

When a subscriber’s payment method is the invoice method and you upgrade/downgrade a subscriber’s product, the following will occur:

  1. The current open invoice will have a prorated credit applied (if applicable) for the unused portion of the current product.
  2. This recent credit will be immediately applied to the current open invoice.
  3. The amount due on the invoice will be for the portion of the product that the subscriber used.
  4. A new invoice will be generated for the product the subscriber upgraded/downgraded to within Chargify.
  5. An invoice for the new product will be generated.

Let’s take a look at the examples below for clarity:

Invoice #1

The following invoice shows the following two line items:

  • Charge for $50.00: Denotes initial product the subscriber signed up for within your Site.
  • Credit for $-49.98: Specifies the credit for the unused portion of the product.
  • Amount due for $0.02: Amount the subscriber owes for the portion of the product they used during the billing period.

Invoice #2

The second invoice is for the new product charges.

Subscription Summary

As we look to the subscription summary, we can see the remainder due on invoice #1, plus invoice #2. This results in a total amount due of $100.02.