Online shoppers thought they were signing up for a free trial on a celebrity endorsed beauty product. Instead, they ended up with products they didn’t want and handed over more cash than they planned.
How it works:
The BBB Scam Tracker has received reports of Washington residents who were tricked into paying for “free trial” products. The customers report agreeing to pay for shipping and handling, but when their merchandise arrived it lacked an invoice or contact number for returning the products. Shortly after delivery, customers were shocked to discover they were charged for the items. While this scam has been reported across the country, at least two Washington residents have been affected in the past few months.
Some of these beauty products included skincare and anti-wrinkling creams. Often times these deals claim the products are endorsed by television celebrity doctors such as Dr. Mehmet Oz and “The Doctors” [VC1] host Dr. Travis Stork. BBB Northwest reached out to the “The Dr. Oz Show” about this type of scam. They responded with a list of trusted sponsors, none of which involved the skin care products reported as scams on Scam Tracker. Fake endorsements are so widespread it caused “The Doctors” to air a segment dedicated solely to this alarming issue.
Remember, when companies offer something for free, there’s usually a catch. Keep these tips in mind before signing up for any free trial offers.
- Do your research. Look the company up online to see what other customers are saying about their service and products.
- Read the fine print. Take a close look at the terms and conditions. Look for hidden fees that could add up to more than you are willing to pay.
- Circle the date. Make a calendar reminder for when the free trial ends so you can be sure to cancel on time. Many times the advertisement says “30 Day Free Trial,” but you might only have 14 days to cancel.
Watch your accounts. Be sure to keep track of your bank and credit card statements. Look for any charges you don’t recognize so you can contact your financial institution immediately.