Free trial ads are everywhere; online, in the newspaper and on TV infomercials. It sounds like a great deal; just pay shipping and handling and the company will send you beauty creams, diet bills, even exercise DVDs, but what does free really mean?
It’s a complaint Bill TV has heard about for years. Consumers sending in their shipping and handling fees, testing the product, discovering they dislike it only to find out they have been signed up for memberships or monthly fees.
“I just thought this might be something different that could help me out,” Meli Derricott tells KSL-TV about an anti-aging cream. Derricott found out the hard way that her trial period was going to be anything but free.
Three weeks after signing up for the “free trial” she found two more bottles waiting for her in the mailbox and because she didn’t ship it back fast enough she was responsible for paying full price. Full price on these bottles were $50 each, a long way from free and her “free trial” signed her up for two bottles every eight weeks.
“I’m paying for something I don’t want, paying for something that I thought as for free, and it’s kind of ridiculous, “she says.
The Federal Trade Commission agrees with her. They report that in 2011, nearly two million Americans were duped by a buyer’s club membership. The membership terms are included in the fine print, a section many consumers aren’t looking at before they click “submit payment.”
Taking a few minutes to scan the fine print can tell you a lot about what you’re signing up for. Also, doing an online search for reviews on the product could also provide helpful insight.