Every day, hundreds of men and women around the world are getting scammed by falling for the Free Trial Scams that litter the internet.
These free trials are often advertised on social media and various websites.
The owners of these scams prey on people’s desire to get a great deal online.
In this article, I’ll discuss the ins and outs of these free trial scams along with how they work and the best way to avoid them.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is A Free Trial Offer?
- 2 How Do People Fall For Free Trial Scams?
- 3 What’s The Difference Between A Free Trial And A Risk-Free Trial?
- 4 How Much Can These Free Trial Scams Charge Your Credit Card?
- 5 Is It Not Possible To Cancel The Trial And Get A Refund?
- 6 How To Avoid Falling For These Free Trial Scams?
- 7 Final Word On Free Trial Scams:
What Is A Free Trial Offer?
What would you say if I offered you a product (say a weight-loss supplement) to try out if you ordered online?
And what would you say if I told you that this is a free trial offer and absolutely free?
For most people, they would jump at the chance to try out a product for free, even if they were only half-interested in it.
Why Is It A Scam?
Well, a free trial scam occurs when the promoter cons you into being charged money for the supposed ‘free trial.’
In this type of scam, you end up being fooled into paying hundreds of dollars for a product you thought was only going to cost a few dollars (if not free).
How Do People Fall For Free Trial Scams?
It’s often the flashy websites and big promises of instant results that convince people to give online deals a try.
Plus, the trials costing little to no money is the icing on the top for most people.
Another reason for people falling for these scams is due to the fake celebrity endorsements. The claims made in the adverts and websites suggest that celebrities support, recommend, and endorse these products.
However, none of these scams are endorsed by any celebrity.
What’s The Difference Between A Free Trial And A Risk-Free Trial?
are now also promoted as ‘Risk-Free Trial Offers.’ However, there is no difference between the two.
The only reason the promoters of these scams are using ‘Risk-Free’ instead of ‘Free’ is because of legal reasons.
Since these offers end up charging you for the product, they are not technically free.
So, claiming that this is a free trial would be a lie and risk the promoter being fined by the Federal Trade Commission.
However, if the term ‘risk-free’ is used and the promoters provide a way for you to get a refund, the whole thing becomes legal.
So, there is no difference between a free trial and a risk-free trial. They are both scams you should avoid falling for.
How Much Can These Free Trial Scams Charge Your Credit Card?
When you click to sign up for a free trial product online, you are often redirected to the checkout page.
At this checkout page, you are told of the price you will have to pay at the time of signing up. This is usually just a few dollars.
The trial comes with a trial period (usually 14 days).
In addition, the terms and conditions indicate that if you don’t cancel your trial offer within that time, you will be charged for the product you have received.
This is often around $80-$250, a far cry from the promised under-$10 shipping charge.
In addition, hidden in the fine print is that signing up for the trial offer also enrolls you into their membership program.
This membership program is also called the auto-subscription plan for some products. Either way, the basic principle behind this program doesn’t change.
With the auto-subscription program, you accept that you will be sent a new bottle of the product every 30 days. And of course, you will be charged for this bottle as well.
Is It Not Possible To Cancel The Trial And Get A Refund?
According to the T&C, it is possible to cancel the trial subscription and initiate a refund.
However, the phone number they provide is known to be busy, disconnected, or connected to a rude/aggressive/uncooperative customer service person.
Additionally, you can’t just return the product and ask for a refund either. To get your refund, you first need to get the RMA number from the customer service.
After doing that, you need to send the product to their returns address along with the RMA number. And all this needs to be done before the 14-day trial period ends.
In addition, that 14-day trial period begins on the same day you sign up for the free trial scam.
So, by the time you get the RMA number and send it back, the trial period is probably already lapsed, leaving you with a new charge on your credit card.
How To Avoid Falling For These Free Trial Scams?
Research The Company:
Find out if the company/sellers are legit and if there are complaints about their products and services being a scam. Check how long the company has been around and its ratings on BBB. Also, check to find out if the company provides the product or they are only promoters.
Read The Terms And Conditions Properly:
Read the fine print to find out about the Trial period, Price per bottle, Shipping Charges, Currency, Recurring charges, Membership subscriptions, Refund policy, Cancelation procedure, etc. If you can’t understand a term or phrase, use Google to find out the meanings.
Keep An Eye On Pre-Checked Boxes:
Often times, checkboxes that add on other products are filled in when you get to checkout. Uncheck these boxes to avoid signing up for unnecessary services or products. These choices are legally binding, and you will have to pay for the products if you fill in the checkboxes.
Remember Your Trial Period Limit:
If you get the trial offer, ensure that you are aware of the trial period. If you have any intentions of returning the product or asking for a refund, remember that you can only do so before the trial period expires.
Read Your Credit Card Statements:
Check your CC statement to make sure you aren’t charged extra or for a product you didn’t order. Some people have found to be charged multiple times for the same product.
Final Word On Free Trial Scams:
There are free trials out there that are genuine. However, the scams that have infested the internet make it difficult to make out if an offer is a scam or a great deal.
Even so, if you just go by the principle of ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t,’ you should be fine.
You should also let your bank know that you have been scammed and to prevent additional charges from that particular company.