Richmond, VA- While browsing online consumers come across hundreds of products online every day. Companies can advertise free trials or samples to entice a consumer to visit their website or try their product. This can be a legitimate marketing tool for a company to increase immediate website traffic and long-term sales production. However, when does that sample go from free and clear to a consumer’s nightmare? While a legitimate company might use a free trial to bring in long term consumers scam companies will use the enticement of a free trial to get a consumer to place an order to gain their personal information and charge them repeatedly with a confusing or nearly impossible cancelation policy. “It is important when signing up for any sample or trial to read the fine-print of the advertisement,” says Olivia Smith, Communications Manager for BBBCV. “The first red flag to look out for is do you have to enter in any payment information, and if you do, do the terms clearing state what happens with that information once the trial ends.” Another red flag to look out for is whether you must pay for shipping and handling. If you are paying for shipping and handling what happens with your payment information once the trial ended? It’s important to locate and understand the cancellation policy before you order the trial. Any trial that has a cancelation window should also clearly label the amount that will be charged if you do not cancel in the cancelation timeframe. Make sure you can reach the company by phone, email, or mail before filling out any forms with your personal banking information. These free samples often having shipping and handling costs, scammers will use that payment information and charge undisclosed fees or take that information and use it in other ways. BBBs across the country have seen complaints and consumer reviews alleging a company has sent a free trial but when it was not canceled in a certain timeframe the consumer was billed continuously. Consumer also allege these scam companies do not list accurate contact information and some don’t list any at all. This makes it nearly impossible for a consumer to contact the company to stop the charges.A cancellation policy for a free trial should be easy to find and even easier to understand, if it isn’t or is a very short time frame this is something to consider before completing your trial sign up. If you feel you have been scammed by a false advertising claim or a product you ordered was not delivered as advertised, you can contact your local BBB at bbb.org.Smith is the Communications Manager for BBB serving Central Virginia and can be reached at email@example.com for additional comment.About BBB: BBB serving Central Virginia serves Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg, as well as 42 surrounding counties from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest, and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of BBB include business profiles, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, consumer and business education, and charity review.