Have you been free-trial scammed?
You will be no stranger to free-sample Ads! With Internet Advertisement booming in recently years, we come across them every day whenever we are searching for an answer on Google or peeping at our friends’ update on social media. In most cases, the free-trial advertisements appear in promotion campaigns for skincare products or weight-losing products (giving such a clear picture of what people care most). Are these free-trial or free-sample products really free as they claim to be? How can you be scammed by free things?
First, take a look at what the pioneers who have ordered those free products have to say.
Delivered for 8 weeks? Huh, maybe it’s the bad weather. You know how public service can be easily and seriously affected by natural things. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding, but keep reading –
Why do they keep saying something about multiple extra charges after having paid the shipping fee for the free sample? If you dig deeper on the Internet, you will find many similar reviews and experiences about being extra charged unknowingly after signing up for the sample products in these ads. There are even discussions about these free-trial traps on Facebook.
Are free-sample products really free?
Technically, yes, they are free. You only need to pay shipping (usually under $5) to get the sample product.
How can you be scammed by free things?
The tricky part is that, what you really sign up for isn’t free at all. To get the free sample, you need to input not only your name and address so that the advertiser can send you the product, but also your credit card information to pay for the shipment. There will be terms and conditions hiding in your check-out page, notifying that by default, you will be signing up for a monthly subscription of this product along with the free sample, and the subscription fee will be charged automatically if you didn’t call to cancel before the trial period (usually 2 weeks) ends.
See where the terms and conditions hide –
How typical terms and conditions look like –
On one hand, these ads trick you into believing that you will only pay a few dollars to get amazing sample products. While on the other hand, they slide into terms and conditions explaining what will actually happen to avoid any legal issues. Quite cunning and deceptive, right?
Wrap up the free-trial formula—
- What you sign up for:
free sample product + monthly subscription of the retail product
- What and when you will pay:
You pay about $5 of shipping fee for the free sample you ordered; then about $90 for the retail product when your trial period ends, which normally is 2 weeks; then $90 every month until you find out and take further measures.
What measures to take?
When all you expect is the free sample products, never the subscription –
First thing first, cancel the subscription as per the terms and conditions, if you can retrieve the order page of the free-trial product. If you can’t – which is the more common case — look for the bank statement of your credit card and find the phone number next to the company name that receives the subscription fee (usually around $90). Call the company to cancel the subscription.
Get back your money 100%. You can first try calling the company to refund every penny you have paid unknowingly for the subscription. Chances are that they will offer a big discount for continued subscription or just part refund for what you have paid. Don’t compromise, and make it clear that you will file further complaints to the related government offices if they refuse a full refund. At the same time, explain the whole situation to your bank and request they cancel the transactions for you, if you have trouble getting a refund from the seller company. Many consumers falling for this kind of trap have reclaimed their money in this way, so just pick up the phone and defend yourself.
The following video could help you get a refund too:
Click the above video to learn how to get a refund from trial offers that lead to an auto-ship subscription.
How to avoid at the first place?
Pay special attention to free sample offers displayed like the above banner, in which fast effect is promised with promotion line “pay only shipping and handling” or similar wording. Keep in mind – offers like this often end up costing you more than you bargained. It’s never just the free sample.
If you indeed want to have a try of the free samples, then know better and find out exactly what the deal is. As mentioned before, locate the terms and conditions and read – what product you will receive from the seller, how much you will pay and when and how you can cancel if you are not satisfied with the product.
So, to sum it up, free sample offers would often lead to auto subscription of the product, which would result in the monthly charge appearing in your credit card statement. In ordering this kind of product, always get to know the whole deal by checking the terms and conditions. If you have been enrolled and charged unknowingly, you can still cancel and be refunded. Be the rational and informed consumer.