Wednesday, September 7, 2016

If it sounds too good to be true... probably is.

This post has nothing to do with spanking except that I should be spanked for being so gullible. It's also intended to be a warning to anyone tempted to try a "miracle product". Here's what happened.

Two months ago we had internet problems and contacted our provider for help. A technician came, internet was restored and all was well. A week later I received an email from the internet provider, with a short survey about their recent visit. If I completed it, I could choose two free products. I filled in the survey, indicating that the company had been helpful and had solved our problem quickly.

Then up came the list of products. Most didn't interest me, but one caught my eye. It was a "miracle, age-defying" face cream, worth $89, but I could have it for only the small shipping cost. Sure, why not? So I entered my name, address and credit card info (for the shipping cost, but can you see a tiny red flag?). I hit enter, then was given a chance to include, also at no cost other than shipping, a "miracle oil". Okay, I'll take one.

Two days later the package arrived. I stored the products in the cupboard for future use and thought that was the end. A month later we contacted our Internet provider with another problem, and soon after Ron received a survey from them.

"Hey, do you want some more face cream?" he asked. Why not? I completed the survey, ordered the "free" face cream, and it arrived two days later.

Fast forward to last week. A box arrived with more product.

"What's this? I didn't order more," I said to Ron after I opened the package.

"Better check your credit card account," Ron advised. I logged on and saw - EEK! $130 for each of the products.

We both panicked for a while. I logged on to the account that had been opened for me after I ordered, that I hadn't bothered with before. I saw that under Shipping I was signed up for "monthly autofill". I changed the frequency setting to "Never", clicked Save, and got an error. Yikes! This was getting worse. I sent an email to the company. No reply.

I had some coffee and thought for a while. then I picked up the phone and called my credit card company. The person I spoke to had heard it all before. These unscrupulous vendors hook their offers into all sorts of surveys sent out by reputable merchants like Walmart, Costco and my internet provider. He gave me the unpublished number for customer service and explained exactly what I had to say and do.

I called the face cream company and they agreed to cancel my account, and if I sent back the package I just received, I would be refunded in full. I got a cancellation number from them which I could provide to my credit card company if I had any further charges on my account. Whew!

Ron and I agree that neither of us would ever have fallen for this scam if it had been a popup on a web page, or an ad in a sidebar. But because it was attached to a survey from a reputable company, we fell for it. So be warned. Stay away from "free" offers. They aren't really free after all.

Who knows? Maybe it really does defy age and in just 90 days I will have the skin of a teenager again. Oh dear, does that mean will it give me acne?
From Hermione's Heart


Roz said...

Hi Hermoine, thank you for sharing this, these scammers are getting more and more cunning. I'm sorry you fell victim... $130 per product, yikes! So glad you were able to sort it out and hope you do get that refund ... and no acne lol.


Lindy Thomas said...

My Bear always says if it appears too good to be true its a scam and there's no free dinners. I got myself in trouble with a scam once. Glad you were able to sort yours out. Cheeky things they are taking advantage of situations like you internet problem.
Hugs Lindy

kdpierre said...

In "Silence of the Lambs" the 'Buffalo Bill' character wanted the skin of a teenager as well. He just had a much more direct method in achieving his goal and didn't waste any money on expensive products. (Nevertheless, he still strongly insisted on the use of lotion.) ;-)

Erica Scott said...

Sneaky. And by the way, none of those creams do what they say they will. I've tried them all! Glad you figured it out before you were in too deep in $$$.

abby said...

Thanks for informing can never be too careful...
hugs abby

Cat said...

Thanks for sharing, Hermione. I agree with Erica...sneaky jerks! I got caught once with something similar to this...I now read all the find print. LOL Happy you were able to get a refund.

Hugs and blessings...Cat

Aimless Rambling said...

Been there, done that Hermione - except I didn't have to send back the product. Guess what - it didn't work.

Hermione said...

Roz - I hope the refund comes soon too.

Lindy - Yeah, it was very sneaky.

kdpierre - Ick!

Erica - I didn't really think it would turn back the clock, but face moisturizers are expensive so I fell for the bargain.

abby - you really can't.

Cat - The trouble was, the fine print was all on their website, and by ordering you were assumed to have read it.

Leigh - I've still got the "free" samples but am too annoyed to want to try them just yet.


Katie said...

Thanks for the warning Hermione! :) These scammers are really getting sly. So sorry you had to go through all of that.

It is not easy navigating the "jungle" of scammers that are present these days... What irks me to no end is that they often prey on senior citizens who have no idea about any of this stuff. I used to have to look out for dad so carefully when the phone rang... UGH! I hope that you get your refund soon! Many hugs,

<3 Katie

Jenn said...

I never accept those free product offers or any "free" magazine subscriptions. It's just not worth it.

Unknown said...

any free offer, that needs my credit card information is no longer free, and vulnerable to misuse. Fortunately I have avoided thesse, but a new scam is born everyday
bottoms up