‘Free Trial Offer’ Fraud on the Rise

Consumers should be wary when it comes to free trial offers.

Many free trial offers come with fine print buried on the order page, or via a link, that gives consumers only a short period of time to receive, evaluate and return the product to avoid being charged. Tyler Russell of the Better Business Bureau claimed a lot of the time that fee or charge can be $100 or more.

Said Russell, “In addition, the same information may state that by accepting the offer you signed up for monthly shipments of the products and such fees will be charged to your credit card.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, complaints about free trial scams have doubled from 2015 to 2017, and most scams target women.

“72 percent of victims were female because a lot of these free trails involve skin care products geared towards women.” explained Russell, “Many celebrity endorsements in these ads are actually fake. Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Mike Rowe, Tim Allen, Sally Field just to name a few.”

If you think you’ve been a victim of a free trial offer fraud, complain to that company directly. If that’s not possible or successful, call the customer service number on the back of your credit card and complain to your bank. You can also submit a complaint at bbb.org.

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