Online Security

Free Trial Offer? More Like FEE Trial Offer!

You have probably seen the offers online: "Sign up for this trial offer for the latest and greatest products and services for free." Unfortunately, these free trial offers are often just the opposite – and just by accepting the product or service, you may be signing up for something that could cost you down the road.

Free trials deceive consumers daily by not explaining the fine print, thus allowing the company to charge enormous shipping fees, make it nearly impossible to cancel the trial, or cause users to incur unexpected spending.

Be careful about accepting these "special" offers, and consider the following tips.

  • Research the company online. By doing a little investigating, you’ll be able to see how credible the company is. Read some reviews and hear what others have to say.
  • Read the terms and conditions. Make sure you do not just sign off or give away your information before reading the fine print.
  • Beware of pre-checked boxes. Companies will sometimes "help" you by automatically checking boxes permitting them to sign you up for other programs or products – even if you do not want them or do not know about them.
  • Mark your calendar. By being proactive and knowing when your free trial subscription ends, you will be able to cancel the offer before it rolls into the unwanted and unfortunate not-so-free trial.
  • Know how to cancel your subscription. Make sure you know exactly how to end the free trial.
  • Read your credit and debit card statements. Frequently check your statements to know if there are any unexpected charges. If you see strange activity on your accounts, call the company to discuss the situation. If that does not work, call your card issuer and dispute the charge.

Make sure you are not flooded with secret bills and unwanted trial continuations. Be aware of the logistics behind every free trial you subscribe to, because before you know it, that free trial won’t be so free anymore.


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