Free trial offers
by Steve Baker, Baker Fraud Report
We are deluged with ads for various pills and potions to lose weight, improve memory, help with arthritis or back pain, eliminate wrinkles, or improve sex. These are in our newspapers, on the radio, and are prominent as links on the websites we visit every day. Sometimes these even appear in our email. What do far too many of these have in common? They advertise free trial offers with “no risk.” You simply have to put in your credit card to pay a couple of dollars for shipping and handling, and then, they claim, you can easily cancel if you’re not convinced that the product is great. What’s not to like? But millions of people have been ripped off by these frauds, finding that it is difficult or impossible to avoid being charged at least $100 or so. So let’s spread the word and help our friends and families from being ripped off.
This article does not focus on whether the products work or the deceptive claims that that are made to trick victims into placing an order. Instead it tells you what you need to know about how “free trials” work and how to avoid being ripped off by them.
Lessons About Free Trial Offers
- These are not free samples.
- The initial cost is often not just a few dollars for shipping costs. Victims usually end up having to pay for some pills up front and hope for a refund if they return them.
- The companies don’t really provide sufficient time to try the products and see if they work before the “trial period” ends. In at least one of the cases the FTC has done even returning the product the day it was received in the mail was not soon enough to cancel under their hidden terms.
- Companies make it hard to return the products by requiring victims to get RMA numbers, returning empty bottles, etc.
- Often the companies will keep shipping – and charging for – additional products until the victim can finally make them end.
- These companies count on victims giving up, absorbing the loss, and not complaining to law enforcers or the BBB.