Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be wary of free trial offers online for diet pills, work at home jobs and teeth whiteners among other products and services. In this year alone, BBB has received thousands of complaints from consumers across the country who thought they were getting a free trial, but ended up losing hundreds of dollars in recurring credit or debit card charges.
Ubiquitous, deceptive online ads for “free trials” of various products and services can be found on popular sites like MSN.com, ESPN.com, and Weather.com. Often the ads link to websites of phony news outlets which, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, commonly feature the photo of a well-known French journalist—without her permission—under various names.
“Fighting deceptive free trial offers seems insurmountable at times,” said Kim States, BBB President. “Just as soon as one company is put out of business it’s replaced by another with the same model of ripping consumers off under the guise of a no-risk, free trial offer.”
One company behind these not-so-free trials is XM Brands which has an F rating with BBB. According to the nearly 2,000 complaints to the West Palm Beach BBB, the company sells roughly 40 teeth whiteners, acai diet pills and colon cleansers online. Complainants say they agreed to pay anywhere from $1.49 to $3.87 to cover shipping for the product trial but were (more…)