Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free (?) trials

Today I was over at Susan's blog, and she posted something that brought my blood back to boiling. She was writing about "free trials" and automatic renewals.

In my desperation to lose the weight that managed to find me again after my chemo (and bring friends), I looked into Weight Watchers on line. I found that the web site wasn't easy for me to calculate points. I think that is a good program, but it was time consuming and not easy for me. So I cancelled. No problem.

So what's the problem? Well, I had been very successful with Atkins. I know South Beach is very similar, and I found their web site. I decided to give it a try. Of course, the free trial asks for a credit card.

I used the web site for about a week and again found it not to be what I wanted. Their "canned" menus for the day involve what I consider bizarre foods. I though I was on a month to month program, so I didn't think there was a hurry to cancel.

When I got my credit card statement, there was a charge from them for about $200. (I don't remember the exact amount). I called to cancel and was informed that I had been given a "special deal" that was for the entire year, and I could not cancel. In fact, at the end of the year they were going to renew the contract for another year.

I ranted and raved, and guess what. No refund and still getting sporadic emails (that should have been daily). does the same thing. If you want their free trial, you have to give your credit card number. They will also roll you over automatically. That didn't bother me because I intended to join them anyway, but I cannot, in good conscience, tell anyone else to give them a "try" because it is too easy for that trial to become a year membership.

These days, I don't respond to a free trial. I had always lived by the old adage that "nothing is free, and if it seems too good to be true, it is." I learned that lesson the hard way. All I can say is that South Beach diets must be in dire straits if this is the way they get business. Live and learn.



Judy said...

This happens when you send for a "trial" sample for something--in the fine print it says that they will send you the FULL order in 30 days and they just keep sending and charging you...unless you have read the teeny print and call to cancel your "membership" which you never signed up for in the first place! Sneaky.

Grandma K said...

It really is a poor business practice. Suckers like me keep falling for it - so it continues.

angela said...

I had just been a bad consumer by not taking advantage of any of these things until I read your post. Thank you for the warning.

Susan Adcox said...

Wow, it sounds as if the South Beach people are really taking advantage of consumers. One thing I try to do before doing business with a website is to check if they are certified by the Better Business Bureau Online. Guess what? South Beach isn't. But you can still lodge a complaint, and you may be able to get resolution. Go to this page. Good luck!