Buyer beware: too-good-to-be true “FREE” offers
July 27, 2009 | Alliant Credit Union
Have you ever been tempted to accept a free trial for a product that offers you something you want? For instance, an item that promises to help you look your best, feel wonderful and lose excess pounds. And, remarkably, this merchandise is yours for only a nominal shipping and handling fee. Well, before you take out your credit card to sign up for it, take a hard, cautious look at the terms and conditions of sales and service - the fine print that spells out how much such a no-cost trial may eventually cost you. Each day, consumers across the country are lured by these kinds of offers. They wind up with unexpected fees and aggravating attempts to get their money back. To add insult to financial injury, most of these "gotcha" offers, though misleading or tricky, are perfectly legal. For instance, you might try a product for free. Meanwhile, you're being automatically shipped and charged for your next month's supply because you failed to cancel the arrangement within 14 days of accepting your free trial. And if you need to return an item for a credit refund, experts suggest you document the transaction by mailing it from the post office with a tracking number. To protect yourself, keep the old cliché in mind -"if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true."
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