By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Have you ever signed up for a freebie offer and later realized that “free” sometimes comes with strings attached? While free trial offers are a great way to test out a product without fully committing, 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan says you have to be sure to check out the offer carefully.
If it’s free, why not try it out? Whether it’s a new hair product or an online streaming video service, lots of businesses use free trial offers to try to hook you on their brand and get your money. But while trial offers can be a convenient way to see if you like a product, some businesses make it tough to cancel your subscription.
The Federal Trade Commission has these tips to help you avoid paying more than you bargained for:
– Research the company online and check out customer reviews
– Locate terms and conditions. If you can’t find them, don’t sign up.
– Look for who’s behind the offer. Is the pop-up from a different company?
– Watch out for pre-checked boxes. The default might have you paying up even after your trial expires.
– Mark your calendar with the time limit on the offer.
While I’m not a big fan of free trial offers, if you do decide to take advantage of one, be sure to keep copies of all the paperwork. If the offer is online be sure to save each screen shot that details what you’re getting yourself into. Finally, watch your credit and debit card statements carefully to make sure you’re not being charged without knowing it.
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