Have you ever been the victim of a "free trial offer"? This is where a company offers you a sample of their product or service for a limited period of time.
Not long ago, I had to cancel my credit card and have another one re-issued because I became a victim of the free trial offer. I heard about a particular product on the radio targeted for baby boomer women and decided to try it out. All I had to do, they said, was give them my credt card number to cover the nominal cost of shipping and handling. I was also advised to call them within 30 days if I was no longer interested in receiving additional product. No problem, I thought.
After trying the product, I decided I wasn't interested...but guess what? I got busy---lost track of the 30-day trial period and failed to notify the company. As a result, I received more product the following month and a nice $49.95 added to my credit card. I immediately called the company to cancel and returned the product unopened. The following month I didn't receive any more product but another charge for $49.95 showed up on my credit card bill. I called the company again. I was told they had not received the product I returned to them and it takes awhile for the cancellation process to go through. My bank advised me to cancel the card.
When signing up for these trial periods, make sure you know the following information:
1) You should be aware that by accepting a free trial offer, you might be agreeing to buy additional products and services, if you do not cancel within a specified period of time.
2) Consumers don’t realize that by providing their card number, they may effectively be signing a contract allowing the merchant to automatically bill them for further merchandise and other things like shipping at the regular price after the trial period is over.
3) Reading the fine print is key to staying clear of trial offer traps. More often than not, if you’re not interested, it’s your responsibility to cancel the product or service to avoid any further charges from the merchant after the prescribed trial date.
4) If you have a problem with a trial offer, try to resolve it with the seller first. If you are dissatisfied with the response, contact the Better Business Bureau Federal Trade Commission or your local consumer protection agency.