Free trial offers may sound good, but too often there are catches, clauses, and fine print that can end up costing consumers money and aggravation, the Missouri based Consumer Fraud Task Force warns.
Companies making these offers are trying to market items ranging from books to magazines to cosmetic products. Consumers who accept these offers may be agreeing to purchase additional products and services if they do not cancel within a certain time frame.
In print offers, these terms may appear in fine print or as a footnote at the bottom of a page or on the back of the offer. In an e-mail, the details may be contained on a separate page that is easily skipped between the front page and the purchase page, if it is listed at all.
For example, you may have to contact the company to cancel during the trial period to avoid receiving additional goods or services or to avoid paying full price for what you already have received. If you do not cancel, you may be agreeing to let the company enroll you in a membership, subscription or service contract, and charge the fees to your credit card. While the offer may be free at first, many offers require that you pay for shipping and handling, which may allow sellers to obtain your credit card information.
In addition, it may be difficult to reach a live person to cancel a free trial offer. Consumers should (more…)