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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

OMG! This sounds like what a friend is getting caught up in. Her husband just found out that she bought two products --a skin cream and an eye serum and he saw that she was charged $88 and $89 for these products. She has been scammed before and she is secretive about her spending. I am sick at my stomach seeing similar comments. I have tried to research it to see who she bought it from, but it's very elusive. The credit card was charged these two prices by a name called "sarahsr". I cannot find anything on this "company"!

This happened to me through amazon...Ive always trusted amazon so I didn't think anything of it...I answered questions about amazon to get a free gift. I chose lucineux eye cream and face cream, I paid shipping. I looked in my bank account today and have two charges for 89.00!! I call them to see what's up...I also have two 5$ shipping fees and a 45$ charge because they said I also ordered a online beauty tip book! They were planning on charging me every month for all three items!!! They know they're tricking you. They offered to give me 30% back if I didn't report them to the BBB. Wow..I learned an expensive lesson today.
NEVER AGAIN.

I did not sign up for any subscription and i did mot two products i want to cancel and i full refund

I got sucked into this as well. They used Robin McGraw to suck people. I check my bank every day. I saw the charges, called the bank and stopped payment on them. The charges were still in pending status. I called the company. They offered me a deal to stay. $80 bucks to stay. Nope and I said good bye. Be careful people!

THIS just happened to me. Ordered 1 charged for 2. Did not know it was a charge for free samples. Who can I call? I am a senior and they took almost $200 from my SSI

I ordered a trial size of bellacova, and received it a few days ago. I have yet to open it. I was out of the country for 3 weeks, and my mail was held at the post office. Called the company, to make sure I did not receive another shipment, and was informed I had already been charged for another shipment. Talked to a not very friendly lady, who informed me, it was my fault, and the trial period was 14 days. I will dispute this charge, since I never tried the product, and did not agree to further shipments.

Luckily I smelt a rat immediatly I'd signed off on the wrinkle cream, supposedly shown on Shark Tank; and phoned bank. Transaction hadn't gone through. My credit account was cancelled at their suggestion, so it won't go through. I'll be without credit card for about a week, but small price to pay for my stupidity.

I got taken by product as well. I thought I was getting a free trial but when I got a second jar which I had not ordered I checked my credit card and found a $98.00 charge. By the way the shipping slip didn't have any $ amount listed. When I called they told me I had the option to cancel but had not responded. After reading your notice I see where I went wrong. I did get the second page which I clicked because I thought the 1st one had not gone through. At no time was there any info about if I didn't want the product to cancel within 14 days and there was no info on the cost of the product.

I read the reviews after I purchased the "trial offer". I called to cancel my Rush Remedy trial so I wouldn't be charged almost $190.00. They assured me it was cancelled. This company continually tries to bill my debit card. It got so annoying that I had to close my checking account and open a new account. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, SHOULD YOU BUY FROM THIS COMPANY!!!

I fell for a scam for free sample of wrinkle cream and ryer serum for shipping and handling at 4.95 each...it was advertised as Dr Phil's wife cream...next thing I know my credit card is calling me frraud alerts for 94. Charges...they did not pay and had to freeze my card. Beware.it was called miracle ritual.horrible stuff.

Happened to me as well to the tune of $600! I got the dumb product, tried to send it back and it came back with no known address! I googled the address from the box and it's an abandoned home! No shipping label, as they claimed to my card company and I can't even find the website that they told Discover they have to cancel! My card company won't or can't provide the methods they contacted this company but says they're nothing they can do! How is this not fraud???? No website, no contact information and no way to cancel a subscription I supposedly agreed upon....How can you cancel if there's no way to find them...but this is not fraud according to my card company-No help! What can I do???

I was absolutely lied to. I signed up for a relatively inexpensive product and somehow got on an ongoing shipment plan. I would like to take further action as I am now out over $700. Please help with the appropriate action that I can take.

Well, I ordered the FREE Miracle Ritual cream, Sept. 16, 2019, thinking it was from Robin McGraw. It advertised for shipping and handling fee only of $4.95. I put my bank card info in and hit checkout, we'll another fee of $4.95 was charged for the eye serum. I didn't order. Totalling $9.90. I called the company, they insist I ordered the serum. No argument and said Ok, they got me this time. I was never told it was a trial, never by the repr. I received the 2small bottles weeks later. A few weeks later another charge of $98.87 was taken from my account. I called my bank, filed a complaint, called BBB, filed a complain in my state of NC, they also referred me to BBB in Bolder, CO, filed a complaint and then filed a complaint with my NC Dept. Of Justice. Finally, they responded, apologize and sent me a full refund. My bank refunded my money first. They are a scam. Oh, also I filed a complaint on Dr. Phil McGraw website too.

I got scammed to, I'm ashamed to say. They keep trying to bill me and I've "opted out." Thinking about getting a lawyer.

I was also scammed. They sent me a trial offer that only cost like 6 dollars to get sent and the next month and for several months I got charged RMD Health EyeSerum.com USD 89.28 as well as RMD Health.SkinCream USD 90.29...and this was a free trial?????
It is a scam

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