“Free” skin cream trials trick people into pricey subscriptions

A Puerto-Rican company is luring people into a subscription trap by offering them free skin creams.

The company went for a traditional marketing approach, offering their products for just a shipping and handling fee of $4.99.

Eager to try the new skin cream for free, many people signed up for the deal. Of course, there was a catch – they had to cancel their trial within two weeks. However, according to the Federal Trade Commission, this wasn’t made clear and most people didn’t know they were going to be charged for the “free” product later.

“The company would charge them more than $90 for the cream. And enroll them in monthly subscriptions. And canceling wasn’t easy,” the FTC said.

The company is obliged to turn over nearly a million dollars in assets to the FTC and the affected customers will get partial refunds.

Have you ever been tempted by a “free trial” offer? Before you accept, make sure that you:

  • Search for the company online. Look up the name with the words “scam” or “complaint” and see what other people are saying about the free trial offers.
  • Look for information on how you can cancel future shipments or services. If you don't want the product or service anymore, how do you cancel? If the process isn’t clear, don’t sign up.
  • Watch for pre-checked boxes. Some might give the company permission to keep charging you. Uncheck the box if you don’t agree with what it says.

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