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"Free trials" cost Americans a fortune



Nothing in life is free, right? But companies continue to market attempts as such to quarrel with curious customers.

It seems simple enough, but these free trial versions usually mean entering a credit or debit card number in exchange for a service. This comes in handy if you actually like the service and plan to use it again in the future, but a number of Americans get caught and lose money to automatically renew your subscription when these attempts expire.

Ted Rossman, industry analyst for consumer economics services company Bankrate, told FOX Business, "Nearly 6 out of 1

0 adult adults in the United States who signed up for a free trial were later charged with their will."

The figure comes straight from Bankrate's 2019 online shopping survey last week. It also found that 64 percent of US cardholders allow their financial information to be stored on purchases, despite the fact that almost half of those surveyed believe it is unsafe to do so.

In the case of free trials, failing to remove a card number or associated payment account ensures that a business has access to your funds.

"Some dishonest businesses make it difficult to interrupt, and hide the terms and conditions of their teensy-type offerings, by using pre-branded checkboxes by default to put online and return and cancellation conditions so stringent that it can be virtually impossible to stop deliveries and billing, "the Federal Trade Commission warns consumers on its website.

"Or, the" free trial "may come with a small shipping and handling fee. You think you only pay a few dollars, but that you really give away your credit card information, resulting in much higher costs after the trial."

Often, free trials on free trials are smaller scales that will not lead to financial ruin. But these numbers add up quickly when you count how much is lost across the country.

The Better Business Bureau identified 36,986 complaints in a study last year that found that customers on average lost $ 186 for the financial loss cases.

The nonprofit study also cited data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation & # 39; s Internet Crime Complaint Center which stated 6151 complaints resulted in a total of $ 15,262,836 from 2015 to 2017.

MILLENNIAL MONEY: HOW TO VOTE 39; SUBSCRIPTION CREEP & # 39; [19659003] Kayse Kress, a certified financial planner at Physician Wealth Services, shared with FOX Business her experience of falling for a free trial in the 90s for CosmoGirl magazine. She said that as a teenager she did not know that the trial was limited to 12 months and was surprised to receive a bill at the 18-month mark.

Kress noted that she had to learn her lesson thanks to the increase in e-commerce and apps.

"Digitized banks and automated payments have made it so much easier for companies to start charging for something a consumer signed up to think it was free. I was lucky enough to be notified by mail and phone that this load occurred before it went too long, "she explained.

Tess Thompson, an outreach specialist at Money Done Right, had a similar experience when she was a student. She had signed up for an account at the Chegg textbook rental site and had taken advantage of the company's free shipping and discount promotion that came with a week-long trial of homework help.

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Thompson had not understood that she needed to cancel the lawsuit since she did not use Chegg's online guidance service. But since the company already had the mother's credit card number on file for its previous book purchase, Thompson was charged $ 30 a month.

"When I finally checked the transactions, I saw this random charge over the months which added to around $ 90. I was so shocked and really angry because Chegg never contacted or e-mailed at all to tell me that the free trial was over, "Thompson told FOX Business. "They never told me they would start with the payments. I was a bad college student and $ 90 was a lot of money for me."

Fortunately, Thompson received a partial refund after contacting Chegg's customer service, and she said she learned from the experience. Not all customers succeed in getting their money back.

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Laurice Wardini, who is about to launch her fashion site ClothedUp, said she lost nearly $ 200 when her monthly free trial expired for SEO software Moz.

"Although this was my mistake because I forgot to cancel, it took a toll since I didn't earn much extra after accounting for bills and rent," she said.

Managing Editor of Expert Insurance Reviews, Leslie Kasperowicz, said she canceled her free trial account with fuboTV at the end of the promotional period, but was still charged.

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"When we contacted customer service, they refused to refund our money and stated that their policy was to refund only if the charge was reported within 24 hours , ”Kasperowicz explained.

She added: "Since the charge did not even show up in our bank account yet, and the account showed no charges in the billing section and gave us no reason to check our bank account. We did not think we had been charged until well 24 hours. "

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People in a situation similar to Kasperowicz encourage the Federal Trade Commission to report the incident to the organization's FTC complaint assistant. Alternatively, buyers who have been burned by auto-renewal for free trials can contact their local Consumer Protection Agency or file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.


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