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Know what lies beneath product promises and offers

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Searching online for products to enhance your looks or health will yield tons of results — especially ads. As you look through those results, pay close attention to the product claims and sales offers. Some marketers mislead people about what their product does, who uses it, and how much it’ll cost you.

For instance, a group operating as Tarr, Inc. settled FTC allegations that it ran a deceptive internet marketing campaign to sell weight-loss, muscle-building and wrinkle-reducing products. The FTC says Tarr used phony news stories and magazine reports, phony celebrity endorsements and customer testimonials, false claims, and sham “free trials” to sell the products. People agreed to pay the shipping costs for the trials, but Tarr allegedly didn’t make it clear that it would charge consumers for the trials and automatically enroll them in a subscription program unless they cancelled within a couple of weeks. In all, consumers paid about $180 million over five years for products that the FTC claims Tarr sold through deceptive marketing.

Avoid getting scammed by deceptive product offers:

  • Read the fine print for a “low cost” or “free” trial offer. Look for terms such as enrollment in an ongoing subscription. This often means automatic debits or charges to your accounts. If you don’t understand the terms of the offer, don't sign up.
  • Watch for pre-checked boxes, which the company may claim gives it permission to keep billing you after the trial. Be sure to set a reminder of when the free trial period is over to avoid getting billed if you no longer want the product.
  • Learn how to spot phony news sites. These actually are elaborate ads created by marketers to look like news sites.
  • Be skeptical about products that promise miraculous results. And just because a celebrity or a believable-looking “customer” appears to be praising the product doesn’t mean it’s trustworthy.


Tell the FTC if you experience a deceptive product offer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


I ordered something called DermaBellis that was sapose to get rid of tags The cost for 3 bottles $120.00 and it ended up being Tea Tree Oil. You can hardly get your money back from these people. Needless to say I wasn't able to send the product back for a refund after finding out it was Tea Trea Oil due to it was pass my 30 days.

thanks Federal Trade commission FOR THE HEADS UP i agree with kellyN so many Scams out there, Like you said (FTC) Read the Find print or make them prove it Be Well Rest Well :)

This is not a scam u scammed me I only want what is mine and what my dad earned dodging bullets for an bunch of people who r self consumed I want to make our country strong and full of success and if America is carding the way I am we will be ok but as long as we got god any thing is possible and life will be gold

If they say “free” but want you credit card number, chances are it’s a subscription deal.
Also be wary of “free” magazine subscriptions since after that free year expires, they’ll keep sending the magazines and will charge you for it.

Noted Thanks

Any deal that sounds goo good to be true is "fake so don't waste your money. I have been involved in too many of them and just wasted my money. Too many scams.

I was scammed by pump N dump scammers such as victor mills or so he said from penny pros for over $250.00 for euri. Then scammed by alex or so they said from from the street over $250.00 for XLIT. Then again over $450.00 for CLOW. IM MAD AS HELL IS THE FTC going to do anything about getting my money back ?

You can report this to the FTC at 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.

This is for whoever replied to my being scammed by PUMP & DUMP stock scam. I’ve complained to the FTC by emails, also by forwarding the emails I received from the scammers. I’ve not sent them over 100 email complaints being scammed nor have I emailed them less than 25 about my complaint ~ with NO REPLY. I think we need an FTC to check on FTC.

Signed with Karma Royal Bali timeshare, finance with crown finance services s.l. Information given on signing up in May 2017 was incorrect upon using free week November 2017. We have been mislead with contact of receiving points to stay at resorts then maintenance fee advice please as we are going to bank to stop payments.

Is Greatway Financial offering IRP legitimate ?

Sears Home warranty, Sears said If I paid $39.99 a monthly and a $60.00 service call fee that they would repair or replace my appliance if I had a problem. I paid my monthly fee of $39.99 for 10 months I had a problem with my dishwasher. Sears repairman came out he did not repair or replace my dishwasher. 3 months later all I am getting is a run around

You could contact your state Attorney General and explain the situation.

You can also report this to the FTC at 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.

Excellent, do keep it up FDC

Keith says, I'm almost done with my contract and I need my pay cheque cashed! I dropped my wallet in the ocean with my ID in it, so I need help getting my money. I will send you the name of the Bank and have my boss make the cheque made to you and me, they will tell you what you have to do. I reached out to the bank and have copies!

I was promised a $1000 on a Visa card, Amazon or Walmart card -- told I had on it, and had only to answer a few questions. 1/2 hour later I was till answering a survey about how much money I had, whether I rented or owned, how many cars, what type, etc etc -- when I decided I smelt something fishy and signed off. Do they have all my information? It was something called National Consumer Group

It is a scam, delete it .

I use reloadable gift cards instead of my debit or credit card so they can't auto renewal.

Wow. What a great idea. I never thought of that. Thanks for the info.

I got messages,from us stating I got face book prize of 6000/_USD,and I have to pay 1100or or1590usd,to get the prize,there are scammers rushing us to pay and they willnsaipy customs asking more money they will try to extract as much money as possible but you won't see the winning check there must be some regulatory authority to stop this,isn't it ?

Social networks such as facebook and pinterest are massive advertising billboards, including numerous other marketplaces. Ask questions and do research before buying and don't let the 'free' anything fool you. The so-called free item is typically worked in somewhere.

Also, please be adamant about cancelling the offer after your "free trial." It's been my experience that they (the salespeople) will literally try and talk you out of cancelling. I was forced to threaten to have my Credit Union stop payments because a site selling the "Acadia" Berry supplement, several years ago, refused to let me cancel after my free trial period ended. I purposedly marked my calendar for the expiration date and called the company. It was like pulling teeth. Nevertheless, they finally relented and cancelled my subsription. I learned from that experience.

Only use credit cards for questionable offers. Any funny stuff can be disputed and not paid until cleared up. Also make note of so-called trial period. Save emails.

Hi, I ordered watch from Sears website since November 17 until now I have not receive it, and when I checked my shipment it’s shows delivered, I contacted them and they said they’re going to check because they have 3rd party handling it, what a mess, who I can trust?

You may want to contact the website customer service again, or ask to talk with a supervisor. If you paid for the watch with your credit card, but you didn't get the watch, you could contact your credit card company to dispute the charge. This FTC article explains how to dispute a credit card charge.

Try calling your credit card company and they can help you if it is within 30 days. Also if you have a complain write to the BBB.

I purchased Forskolin as a "just pay for shipping" trial and canceled it before the 30 days because of course it didn't work, however, I then received a charge for 69.95 on my charge and when I called I was told it was for the "free" bottle. HUGE SCAM!

Advertisements with the fine print barely readable, commercials that tell you if you order within the next 10 minutes and you see a countdown clock on the screen, any ad where you hear the words, But Wait!, ads like Omaha Steaks is airing saying you get $250 worth of meat for just $49, common sense alone with tell you to stay away from them!! Once I got into it with Omaha Steaks about why they are buying beef at 62 cents a pound on the hoof, and turning around and selling it for $25 a pound! After going back and forth they finally said the higher price is due to their packaging. Oh really? Also. those commercials saying that you can get a second item free, just pay a separate processing fee. Did you know that this processing fee actually covers the price of the item and you just bought for three times the price because you wanted two? In my house, when TV stations take a commercial break, I hit the mute button. I wish people would realize no one selling a product is giving you as much as, or more, than you are paying for it.

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