A costly low-cost trial offer

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You’ve probably seen online ads with offers to let you try a product – or a service – for a very low cost, or even for free. Sometimes they’re tempting: I mean, who doesn’t want whiter teeth for a dollar plus shipping? Until the great deal turns into a rip-off. That’s what the FTC says happened in a case it announced today.

The defendants sold tooth-whitening products under various names, and hired other companies to help them market the products. These affiliate marketers created online surveys, as well as ads for free or low-cost trials – all to drive people to the product’s website. What happens next is so complicated that we created an infographic to explain it.

In short, once people ended up on the product’s website, they filled in their info, put in their credit card number, and clicked “Complete Checkout.” When people clicked this button they not only got the free trial of the one product, but were actually agreeing to monthly shipments of the product at a cost of $94.31 each month.

Next, another screen came up and people were asked to click “Complete Checkout” again. But the second screen wasn’t a confirmation screen for the trial of the product. Instead, by clicking this button people were actually agreeing to monthly shipments of a second product. So, what started as a $1.03 (plus shipping) trial of one product wound up being an unexpected two products at a very unexpected $94.31 each – for a total monthly charge of $188.96 plus shipping.

Trial offers can be tricky – and there is often a catch. If you’re tempted, do some research first, and read the terms and conditions of the offer very closely. Sometimes, however, marketers might simply try to trick you – and it can be hard to spot. Look again at the infographic…would you have known what charges were about to hit your credit card? If you use your credit card for a low-cost trial offer, be sure to check your credit card statement closely. If you see charges you didn’t authorize, contact the company and your bank immediately. And then tell us about it.

Tagged with: free trial, health, product, scam
Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Comments

So tired of those postings and scams

I got taken by a different scam for wrinkle remover miracle....cost me over $600 in the end!

Yes the same face cream I got took to the bank on fortunately my credit card company (Capital One)got my money back.

Same thing happened to me. Trial offer for $4.97 turned into $94.97. They used Joanna Gaines to rope you in. They also sell this cream under many names.
Jolique, Serafina, LeBaleux, and Regenere.
Hopefully the FTC will DO something about it!

You can help law enforcement by reporting this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I too mistakenly took advantage of this free trial product. I was then charged as well. It Is quite frustrating. I would love to know how people like Joanna Gaines and Faith Hill feel about being associated with these trials.

I was scammed by the tooth-whitening firm AND several beauty product skin care companies. I originally got a refund by my bank; they eventually recharged them to my account when shown the page that I clicked for "complete order" showing the scam "I agree" which I NEVER did.

Good day Rosario Mendez, Today I received a new warning of scam. I would like to ask you about all tempting ads on Yahoo? Everyday, when you open Yahoo news, you would see a lot of offers for such of product. Please reply,

You can report scams to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I cancelled my order so fast after they showed I ordered an extra face cream that the product shipped and nothing was charged to my account. I told them if they charged any thing on my account, I would report them. No charges so far. I hope it stays that way. Never again will I order a trial no matter what it is.

Kind of a hassle, but get a new credit card. Never use a debit card.

I tried a new cr card for the cream ad thinking it was run by costco...the card co still paid them I lost about $300. Canadian... they company that took the Money was from the uk, fl, isles of man...every one took a few dollars. I only answered because it was Costco .how do we stop this. Why are we paying taxes and no support or protection.

If you want to report a scam, please go to FTC.gov/complaint. You can provide information about the company, what it promised, and what you got. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I was scammed by a face cream and eye products using names of people we trust that says they are supporting them. They claimed a free trial BUT in 14 days charged my account $114 for a monthly subscription that I did not agree to.

Please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

Same thing going on with oils like CBD, immunity, or diffsusers offer trial for 5.95 then afterv2 weeks charge ur card 69.99 and cant get snyone on phone to cancel

Yeah, they got my Mom on CBD oil last night. She tried to call and cancel and she said they were very rude to her and said they can't cancel. she is calling the bank this morning.

This kind of scam is very common with health and beauty products. I work for a credit card company, so I'm often the one taking the call when the customer sees the unexpected charges show up. Usually there is a low priced trial with the subscription part disclosed in the terms and conditions.
Another thing to be careful of is free magazine subscriptions. It's free for the designated amount of time, but after that, they keep sending the magazines and charge your card.

I got scammed by an ad online for an organic face cream that was supposed to be a few bucks. Then they automatically shipped me another jar that cost me $89. NO FACE CREAM IS WORTH THAT! Watch out! There was no fine print, either, like they said there was. HA HA joke's on me. Not funny.

Please report your experience to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I ordered 'free' trials of face cream to pay shipping only. First company did charge me for a subscription which I was able to get credited back. The second company had identical products, different labels but same packaging. Different pricing and an additional item had to be ordered or you couldn't complete the order nor get out of it. My bank got after them and they, too, agreed to credit which they did. If I want to try something in the future I'll buy it at a store. The trial sizes weren't even enough to tell if the product was any good. They aren't selling a product they're selling a scam.

Please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.

 

The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I see this kind of ads all the time. The ads invites you try the product for 30 days, so when you agree, they tell you only pay for mailing and handling,and use the product for 30 days. They ask for your credit or debit to pay. I believe they want you to forget the 30 days, so they can bill you for the product. I really believe this is a scam. They entice you with the words "receive free".

I came VERY close to falling for the face cream scam...Thanks to a program that was held in my local library several months ago, I thought about it and looked over the "fine print", before my email or card number was entered, and the product ordered. Thank you FTC!! Lesson learned!!

I got sucked into this scam, too. The lure was a free offer (after postage and handling, paid with my credit card) for Bisou Revitalizing Ageless Moisturizer. Those subsequent clicks when I didn't know what was going on forced me into a monthly subscription for the moisturizer AND a monthly subscription for Bisou Ageless Eye Serum! Within minutes my credit card company alerted me to suspicious charges. When I realized what was going on, I got into a three-way phone call with my credit card company and the unscrupulous vendor. It became a shouting match and the vendor finally backed off and the charges were dropped. I too will never again order a trial no matter what it is. Speed in responding to credit card alerts is critical to avoiding unwanted charges!

Anytime a salesman resorts to shouting, you know he's dishonest!

People,also beware of those email scams,especially Micheal Beeson

Between 2016 and recently in 2017, i got up to 10 times of scam, i always try first and buy if I want after charged shipping. If not then I cancel and denied, most of them are located in Florida, Nevada, Virginia, N. Carolina and came from online pop up windows adv. If any one in US got hack, got scam then the first thing to do is call credit card or debit card company to make complaint first then call them up online by the record of your statement. Make sure you got order, need to check it during the first week, SCAM is their business and I also want to let everyday scam calling you are not in US, the worst part of this scam games are the connection of credit card, debit card with the scam company, because something happen, they give you another card and the card also be charged when the scam company charged you, i got these experiences from my local bank and Capitalone, ItalkBB some cosmetic and skin care company also with Amazon synchronybank in Florida.

When make a call to the scam company, I determine that is legit company or not by identify the voice of the receptionist if not American voice then that's the foreigner pickup call from other country by verify the surcharge from debit card, instead $1, the card charged $1 and $1 and the service you got is junk, like those for credit check and 6 month membership after 10 days trial.... federal has to setup a system to stop those unregister company doing business in US, when you check the website address need to check their identity by their domain in WHOIS.COM to verify where are they located, most of them no more than 2 years old and almost every one block their identity.

Almost happened to me, but with a free trial for dog training. Ready to order for $37 then read the fine print, which said $37 would be charged monthly unless I cancelled. Did not order it after all dog training should not cost you $444.

I was scammed by a free trial health producs firm AND several beauty product skin care companies. I originally got a refund by credit cards; but they eventually recharged them to my account when i called credit card they said they have prove that I signed the page that I clicked for "complete order" showing the scam "I agree" which I NEVER did. The Banker said on phone that They believe me but their is nothing they can do because I already authorized the fraudulent firm by giving my credit card information for initial trial offer. I called the scam company several times it was a internet phone lines answer machine. So i ended up shutting down my credit card and had to pay for what I did not order. very painful, felt cheated,scammed, violated and got ripped off of my hard earned money.

Please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

free trail--HYDROLOGICA SKINCARE is another skincare product that is a scam, they to say free free free and somewhere, tried to find it but I couldn't, it said you had to cancel in 14 days or you get charged $150!!!
Rip-off

I got scammed by a "just pay shipping charge of $6.95 for a watch. I gave my credit card # for the "shipping". They billed my card for $89.95 about a week later. The watch can be bought for about $19.95 many places. Beware of "just pay shipping scams like this.

One of the "free" trials offers includes a full year's supply of the product. Your free bottle is included but what many people don't understand is that you must contact the company if you don't want the rest of the product, cancel your subscription/order and return the unused products. People think the free bottle will be shipped individually for them to try it first. Nope, it will be part of a large offer. It IS free but you have to jump through a lot of hoops if you want to return the rest of the products and many don't read carefully or understand the "rules" for getting their free trial. By truly offering a free bottle, they are not scamming the public, they are counting on people not cancelling or not knowing how to return the products they don't want or forgetting to do so before the end of the trial period...like 14 or 30 days.

Trial offers can be tricky – and there is often a catch. If you’re tempted, do some research first, and read the terms and conditions of the offer very closely.

Once they get that number, bam! They're start adding to your card hoping you won't notice.

I hope the two scum bag companies that duped me about 4 years ago were included. I don't remember their names any more, but it was my first and last product "free trial" item I ever tried.

There were two teeth whitening products I ordered online free plus about $4.95 for shipping. The products I later figured out were not very effective and low quality compared to what my dentist told me to buy at the local store.

I was sure I did what I had to do to avoid buying the full priced product. The Rat Bss lied and dinged my credit card for a huge amount anyway, and my CC company and I fought them for a couple months.

I killed that Credit card just to make sure those scum companies could not charge me any more money. I didn't loose a cent, but got a nasty lesson in "free sample" that year.

At that point in time, I didn't know there was anywhere I could complain to, beyond my credit card issuer.

these are all basicly what happened to me in march by a face cream company called allure. i think they are all from the same people. i did report it to the ftc.

I try my best to avoid looking at any advertisements. Unfortunately, there is no option to quickly delete them. I would like deletion of them to be possible, because they waste space.

This is nothing new, I report two years ago these offers the various company never tell people the full price only if you ask. There nothing free just access to card numbers.

I recently reported one of these scammers to the FTC offering "free samples" of CBD oil. Many of them use the same vacant apartment in Las Vegas as a HQ address, and all shipments have multiple company names.

I've been scammed so many times I've lost count. To date, I've managed not to lose money. It's been a hassle. I've had to cancel credit cards and even a bank account. Now, if I can't get it in a store, I don't buy. I've also learned not to trust anything or anyone. So pathetic we're all targets.

Ladies, Ladies please stop wasting your $. There is nothing in the world that can buy youth, no creams, lotions..etc...It is only hype to make you think/feel better about yourself and you are losing $ too. There are products in your kitchen you can use that do the same thing, and they may not smell fancy, but it'll do.Why do you think women and not men are targeted for these creams? Think about it...women do the most shopping...and these products con women into thinking it willm ake them more attractive.Save your $ for retirement, eat healthy, exercise, don't smoke, drink and you will have a better chance to staywell when you get older. No "youth skin cream" will ever do that for you.And wrinkles will come anyways-who cares? It's no gonna matter in the long run.
find other ways to stay healthy and you'll be better off. My sage advice from one who was "taken in" by the young skin cream hype.Do research. I could've had thousands in the bank because I wasted $ on products I really couldn't afford but believed it would make me "prettier". Don't believe it and keep your money in your wallet-you are going to need it later on.

Also don't use your bank credit card when any seller wants to take automatic payments from you.Use a prepaid Visa/Mastercard to pay for items from unknown sellers, make sure you get everything in writing, cancel when trial is over(keep track of it!) and it won't be automatically renewed(that I know of)and they won't have your personal bank card!Call the company, research them online before committing, find out where they are, look at reviews,etc...Use Reputable Sellers! Don't be taken in by Impulsive shopping. Use tried and true products/companies. Too many scammers and Cons out there!!!!

Same scam, different company name. Mine was lilum, a skin cream/serum. Just had to pay shipping. Couldn't get off website until I agreed to get Eye Serum also. I received the shipment in two separate boxes. Next month I received another shipment (2 boxes). Just a packing slip with this one also-no $ involved. In July I received another shipment - still no $ mentioned -- until I checked my charge card statement and found 2 separate charges each totaling almost $200.00. I found a number to call online and received a Return number to write on my return shipment. i haven't done so yet.

I got caught by a weight loss pill free trial, just shipping and handling. After $400 charges on my Master Card---which they investigated and calls to the merchant--I lost the money because they say I hit the agree box??????? I cancelled my Master card before I received any more charges. The Merchant and Master Card did not help. They acted like it was my fault!!!! Maybe they are right. But I learned a big lesson-----costly too. So sorry for those customers who lost money and needed it for food.
What goes around comes around.

ME ALSO VERY DISAPPOINTED IN MASTER CARD THEY WERE NO HELP I CANCELLED MY CARD HOPEFULLY THEY CAN NOT STILL CHARGE ME
FROM CANADA

I realize if it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true. These companies prey on our insecurities--many people would like to look better and that is the hook. They know what you want and they make it available at what seems to be a low price. At the end of the day I do not think most of them are financially well off despite the scam tactics. They scam us and they scam themselves.

I signed up for free cell phone service thru FreedomPop. I was doing this for a low-income disabled friend, and I also purchased the unlocked cellphone to set it up on. Four months later, I noticed a charge for $9.95 was poping up on my credit card every month. I called them, and they said I had opted for the Premium add-ons at sign up. I KNOW I did not purposly check that option, as the service isn't even for me, and the premium add-ons did not add any minutes. They were pleasant, and immediately discontinued the premium add-ons and the charges stopped. This is a "legitimate" cell phone service that does work, but MANY companies hide extra charges in the fine print and/or web site design. Read every word twice before clicking <accept>, even with reputable companies for legitimate products.

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