Think Twice Before Signing Up for That “Free” Trial

February 21, 2014

If you’re interested in a certain product or service, you might jump at the chance to participate in a trial and try it for free. You might think you have nothing to lose plus you can figure out if you actually want to buy the good. These trial products range from kitchen gadgets to weight loss supplements. However all free trials have one thing in common: eventually they end. And when they do and the company has your credit card information on file, you might find yourself roped into paying for products you don’t want or need.

Some companies use free trials to sign you up for many other products that come with a monthly charge until you cancel. However, dishonest businesses have several tricks up their sleeve to make it extremely difficult to cancel whatever offer(s) you signed up for. They will hide the terms and conditions of these offers, use pre-checked sign-up boxes you might not even notice, automatically renew your subscription, enroll you in some type of club and employ strict return and cancellation conditions that make it near impossible to stop the charges.

If you are interested in participating in a free trial follow these tips to avoid any hidden tricks:

-Research the company online to see what other people are saying about the service and its free trials. Also, remember to check to find businesses you can trust and make sure you double check which company is behind the offer.

-Look carefully at the terms and conditions in order to know what you are agreeing to before you sign up.

-Watch out for pre-checked boxes because this may allow the company to continue to send you more products – only this time you’ll have to pay for them.

-Mark on your calendar the day when the free trial ends because in many cases if you don’t cancel your trial by this date, you may start receiving other items.

-Check your credit and debit card statements for any unauthorized charges from the company. If you see charges you didn’t agree to, contact the company directly to sort out the situation. If that doesn’t work, call your credit card company to dispute the charge.

If you’ve been wrongly charged for a free trial offer, report it to the FTC. You also can contact your local consumer protection agency, and file a complaint with Better Business Bureau.

For more important information regarding free trials, click here.