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“Free” trials can cost you

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The best things in life are free … or are they? Not when a “free” trial ends up costing you money. That’s what happened to many people who signed up for “free” samples from NutraClick, according to the FTC’s latest case.

NutraClick sells nutritional supplements and beauty products including Force Factor, Peak Life, ProBioSlim, SomnaPure, VolcaNO, and Stages of Beauty. You can find their products online or in stores like Walgreens, Walmart, GNC and CVS. Their ads offer free samples. But if you signed up for free samples, NutraClick didn’t clearly tell you that you were also enrolling in a monthly membership program for nutritional supplements, costing $30 to $80 per month.

Where did NutraClick go wrong? The FTC says it didn’t clearly explain the terms of its free offers. Instead, NutraClick automatically charged people every month unless they called the company to cancel their membership.

Under a settlement between the FTC and NutraClick, the company must clearly tell you that ordering free samples automatically enrolls you in a monthly payment plan. Plus, the company must make clear how much you will be charged, the length of the trial period, and the way you can stop the recurring charges. NutraClick also must pay $350,000.

Considering other free offers? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Do your research. See what other people are saying about the free trials and the company. Search the name of the company and “complaint” or “review.” 
  • Look at the terms and conditions. If you can’t find them, or can’t understand them, don’t sign up.
  • Find out how to cancel. Look for information on what to do if you don’t want the product anymore. Do you still have to pay?  Do you have a limited time to cancel?
  • Mark your calendar. Your free trial offer probably has a time limit. Once it passes without you cancelling, you may owe money.
  • Read your credit and debit account statements. That way, you’ll know right away if you’re being charged for something you didn’t order.

 Want to know more? Check out our guidance on “Free” Trial Offers. And if you’ve been wrongly charged for a free trial offer, report it to the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness


I bought an Amazon Fire tablet that came with a 30 free trial of Amazon Prime. I took my credit card information off my account because I didn’t trust them and they tried to bill me $99 to “renew” my Prime account for the next year three times during the 30 days. I shop on eBay now whenever I can.

I just got stung by one of those a couple months ago. A company called Ombia Derma. They not only were not clear on the subscription, they gave you much less than the claimed time to cancel as they started the counting from day of order and took forever to ship the product. Charges were made only days after products were received. I luckily caught it on my account right away so I cancel but it cost me that first month. Not so free. And, unfortunately the product didn't work for me as claimed.

True brilliance teeth whitening system got me for 24.95 it was suppose to be free yea right

You can report this to  the Federal Trade Commission  your state Attorney General’s office.

The information you supply to the FTC will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

This happened to me: I signed up to get a free sample of "Extend" salmon oil for my dog. I received the product (loved it, in fact), was planning on ordering it again, and then another box came. And then a third. When I checked my credit card statement, I saw that I was being charged $70 per bottle of the stuff! I emailed the company, complained about the "automatic" subscription, and figured it was an expensive lesson.

I got bitten by Nutriclick. They use ads with celebrities. I bought a trial offer and next thing you know they sent me an email saying i was being shipped another item as part of the program. I cancelled it. The prices on their items are jacked up, way more expensive than if you bought similar products in the store.

I got a fee trail just shipping

separate companies debited $200 from my account. Failed to accelerate trial. No more pills either. HEALYHSVCS Arizona Green tea weight loss. X Also debited another 93.65 under the name Shinebr Scottsdale USA Beware Miranda Lambert endorsed them!!

I'm going thru the same thing they just took $99.99 I never sing up to what ever their charging me if u have the number or the website can u please let me know so I can try calling them. I tried searching them but nothing I got the shinebr Scottsdale az

A few years ago, I fell for 2 teeth whitening system scams. They were both free trials, just pay for shipping and handling. I didn't see anything on the web sites saying I was automatically signing up for the whole package deal, but they billed me anyway.

Fortunately, I'm in the habit of checking over my financial accounts on the Internet a couple times a week, saw the unauthorized charges, and contacted my credit card issuer to stop both of them in their tracks. Their products were both terrible.

Later, I asked my dentist for recommendations, and she told my I can get teeth whitening strips from most stores that sell pharmacy stuff. The strips at my local store work great and are cheaper than the scammer versions.

I ordered free trial sample of Nu Youth Anti Aging Cream some time ago and have been receiving a pot every month since then and being charged a lot of money. I no longer wish to receive any more pots but cannot find anywhere on the web site or on the pot itself to contact the company

Look for the charge on your credit card statement. There should be a phone number listed by the merchant's name. Call and speak with Customer Service. You may be able to cancel all further shipments, but in my experience will have a lot of trouble getting a refund.

I tried an anti-aging skin care product called Radiant Revive trial and was shocked by how much it cost: $99. I canceled, but it was too late. They sent me another box, which I returned unopened, but they still billed me AGAIN. When I called, they said I hadn't canceled soon enough. They wouldn't accept the box either so I suppose I'll see it again. It really is far more than I would ever have paid, had I known.

Sirius is one of the worst offenders going. It is a nightmare to try and cancel trial memberships once they have your credit card.

Fortunately, they get sued in class action suits from time to time. Obviously they can afford to break the law.

I am so upset. Another scam, so clearly billed as a free trial, pay for shipping only, now have TWO charges (the product I requested and another that I didn't) for $89 a piece. Called the company and she says I 'agreed' to rejecting the 300 day supply within 15 days, or I would be billed the full amount and a subscription would start. Please Do Not Fall for this shows endorsement by Ellen and Oprah. Credit card company is trying to help.

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