Yes if your members access is expired. If you still had members access you could upgrade yourself for free.
In other words it is standard practice in the software community whether your buying retail or online
Microsoft charges for every upgrade they have retail ever no if ands or buts
Now companies doing online software all have a members area access thing going on. There may be a few freebies out there offering free unlimited upgrades but most times you have to pay a higher price.
Lets see all of the pay forums we integrate operate the same was as us. vbulletin ubbthreads etc
This is nothing new here and is clearly stated on our order page which has said the same thing for over 6 years. It is right at the top of the page so I dont see how you missed this.