The abundance of ads on the internet for free trials of anti-aging products, as well as the hundreds of women who have been scammed and left comments on womensblogtalk.com inspired me to write this post.
Before I go any further – if you’ve been scammed and are looking for a phone number to cancel, please check for the number on my latest blog post – I’ve been adding to list daily!!
You’ve probably seen the alluring ads with captivating headlines such as “Dr. Oz Calls this a Miracle Cream,” or “Katie Couric’s Backstage Secret,” or “Shhhh Don’t Tell Covergirl.” The latest scam is the “as seen on Shark Tank” creams.
Stories of women who “accidentally” discovered a miracle breakthrough in anti-aging by using one cream at night, and another cream in the morning.
Honestly though, who doesn’t want to find a miracle cream to reverse the hands of time overnight?
Unfortunately, there is a very deceptive, dark side to these offers, one that most people miss and don’t discover until they notice the exorbitant and monthly recurring charges appear on their credit card statements, leaving them feeling scammed and frustrated.
In this article I will articulate how this new wave of “short-term” (12-14 day) free trials suck you in, how they function, and why I don’t like 99% of them.
As women, we want to find a cure for our wrinkles to look young and vibrant again, and wouldn’t it be nice to find something that works overnight? Or in two weeks?
Take for example, the picture of this woman on the right “Brenda,” whom by the way, I’ve seen in numerous ads for various wrinkle creams lately, she’s a poster girl for these scams.
This particular ad is promoting a combination free trial of BioGeniste Wrinkle Reducer and Dermal Meds, and Brenda claims that she obtained these results by using these two products in combination.
I’m sorry to say, but there is no wrinkle cream, or combination of, that will give you this type of result, and this happens to be a photo-shopped image purchased on a popular website called “shutterstock.”
Do Celebrities Really Endorse Wrinkle Creams?
No, they don’t! These scam companies claim celebrities such as Sandra Bullock, Ellen Degeneres, Katie Couric, Christie Brinkley – even Queen Kate – use these creams to obtain their ageless skin – and the “proof” seems nothing short of amazing in the before and after pics.
But I can assure you, none of these Hollywood stars promote any of these fly-by-night wrinkle creams scams, much less use these garbage creams.
There are also Youtube clips placed conveniently for credibility, but irrelevantly. For example, there is one video of Ellen Degeneres floating around to boost the claim that she’s promoting a specific eye cream, but if you watch the video you will realize that she’s merely doing a comedy stand up act where she jokes about what a klutz she is when she uses an eye cream (in a general sense)
What about Dr. Oz Wrinkle Creams?
If a picture of Dr. Oz (or any other celebrity) is in a wrinkle cream ad, it must be true right? WRONG, think again!
Dr. Oz is plagiarized more than anyone on the web!
These scam artists use his pictures, video clips, fake quotes, anything to make you believe that Dr. Oz is recommending them.
In this picture of Dr. Oz and Oprah, they state that Oprah is retiring to pursue her new skin care line with Dr. Oz. This is a flat out lie, please don’t believe them.
Dr. Oz does not, I repeat DOES NOT have his own skin care line, cream or serum. These crooks can say anything they want, don’t believe their false advertisements!
I’m not trying to be mean about this, it’s not your fault that there are liars and crooks out there, I’m just trying to help open your eyes so you won’t fall for it.
I get countless emails every day from women saying “I ordered Dr. Oz’s serum and now he billed me $90, what a jerk for being involved in these scams.” Truth is he’s NOT responsible, because these are not his creams. These are crooks and liars using his name to sell their products!
Shark Tank Ads, Angelina Jolie, Kelly Rippa – The List Goes On
Don’t fall for the latest – the “as seen on Shark Tank” creams. These ads are all over Facebook and they are bogus. Beware of ANY ADS for creams on Facebook and always scroll to the bottom to read the terms and conditions.
And Kelly Rippa is NOT quitting her show to “focus on her skin care line full time.” Nor is Angelina Jolie launching a new skin care line to help her recover from her divorce.
This is nothing short of deceptive and misleading advertising. Flat out lies.
“REVIVE DERMA” is the most popular free trial cream right now!
My Interview with CBS!
I was interviewed by Cristin Severance with CBS 11 in Dallas, Texas about Beauty Cream “Free Trials.” Cristin is a Consumer Justice Investigator and has won 7 Emmy Awards!
Educating yourself on how these supposed free trials actually work is your best defense against being taken for what can sometimes add up to hundreds of dollars!
The Combo Free Trial Offer
Back to the combination offer. In the example I used above, the combination free trial offer was BioGeniste Wrinkle Reducer and Dermal Meds, but I could literally cut and paste about 100 different wrinkle creams in their place because the ads are IDENTICAL, and they often rotate.
“Avonlea and Pristine,” “Nuvalift and Puravol,” Bellalabs and Dermaperfect,” “Absolute Rejuven and Absolute Derma,” “Splendyr Instant Wrinkle Reducer and Levela Anti-Aging Cream,” “Luminelle and Alleure” – there are so many that I can’t possibly list them all but some of these may ring a bell.
They all follow the same story line, usually referencing a celebrity and also a normal lady with the likeness of “Brenda” who by accident, discovered that by using one cream in the morning and one cream at night, she obtained miraculous results. And before you know it, you’re ordering your free trials of both creams.
I mean, you only have to pay $4.95 in shipping so that’s a great deal, right? Wrong. And it’s not always presented as a combination offer – the same deceptive practices are used to offer free trials for individual anti-aging creams and eye creams alike! “Derma Juvenate” and “RVTL Anti-Aging” are two free trials I get a ton of complaints about.
Be weary of any offer that won’t let you proceed to checkout without agreeing to order a second or third eye cream or serum in order to get the cream you’re trying to order – huge red flag!
How Does a Free Trial Actually Work?
“Free trials” are NOT free. When you sign up for a free trial, you’re not only giving them all of your personal information, i.e. name, address, phone, email, but you are REQUIRED to enter your credit card information to accept the free trial (to pay for the shipping).
Oftentimes, the fine print is so far down the page that you won’t see it unless you scroll down, and most people don’t even notice it, and therein lies the problem – most don’t know what they’re signing up for!
By accepting the free trial, you are agreeing to try the product for 12-14 days (this is what I refer to as a short-term free trial, which 99% of them are).
On the 14th day, you will be billed for the full price of the wrinkle cream that you received (usually about $90, and you can double that if it’s a combo offer), and subsequently billed 30 days later for another month’s supply.
In the example below for Puravol (copied and pasted from their website, had to scroll down to find it), the trial period is only 12 days, and on the 12th day you’ll be billed $99.15, and billed $99.15 every 30 days thereafter.
The problems with most free trials are as follows, some are shocking!
- 12-14 days is hardly enough time to receive the product, much less try it for a long enough time period to decide whether you like it or not. In my experience, companies who offer a 30 day trial usually have good products, and there are very few of them.
- Most people don’t realize that they will be billed on the 12th day for the full product amount (normally around $90), and each month thereafter (double for a combo offer)
- most of these companies are IMPOSSIBLE to reach by phone to cancel, and sometimes publish non-existent phone numbers
- many of these companies are fly-by-night, and you won’t be able to “return the unused product for a refund,” because……
- many of these companies are based in countries without an extradition policy (i.e. Venezuela, Panama, Pakistan), meaning they run their scams and sucker people out of their money, and we, as consumers, have no recourse other than cancelling our credit cards with our banks altogether to get out of the recurring arrangement
- many of these companies, once the negative publicity starts to surface, package up their products in new boxes and slap a new name on it, and run the scams all over again
- most of these companies don’t fully disclose their ingredients list which is not a good sign, this usually means it’s nothing special or else they’d want to brag about it
- beware of filling out surveys with “free gifts” involved, as these often lead to wrinkle cream scams (even on well known websites)
- the billing company company name will NOT match the scam cream you buy online…another method to thwart you from contacting them or not noticing the charge.
And it doesn’t end with just anti-aging creams. Rob Miller from SupplementCritique.com recently posted a really good article about Supplement free trials that use similar deceptive marketing. Check it out here when you have time.
- First of all, would you do me the favor of “liking” me on Facebook? If I’ve helped you in some way, you can leave me a review on Facebook and I would be grateful.
- More importantly, share this article on Facebook with your friends and family! Alert them to these scams!
- You can share it by clicking the Facebook share icon on the left hand side of your screen or at the bottom of this article, or copy and paste the URL link and post to your Facebook page.
- If you knew just how many women were being scammed, you’d be horrified – let your friends, family and neighbors know! Don’t you wish you were warned before being scammed?
Tips for cancelling trials:
- First and Foremost, you need to call the Cream Manufacturer and request they cancel your ongoing subscription and demand a refund.
- Check for the number on my most recent blog post Skin Care Free Trials – Cancellation Phone Numbers. I’ve compiled this list over the last few years and have over 350 companies!
- If you don’t find the phone number on my list, call your bank to ask if they have a number on the back end (look for the s&h charge since it will be billed under a different company name than the actual cream you ordered).
- BE FIRM WHEN YOU CALL TO CANCEL – If they are not cooperative, threaten to report them to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), your states Attorney General’s office and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
- Don’t agree to their 30% or even 50% refund or a $35 restocking fee. BE FIRM.
- Ask to speak to a supervisor – don’t take NO for an answer. To put it simply – put on your boxing gloves if you don’t usually wear them.
- Continue to hold. Sometimes getting through takes half an hour or more! They put you in an endless loop of being on hold so that you’ll get frustrated and hang up.
- Ask for a cancellation confirmation by email. This way you’ll have something to show your bank if they continue to bill you.
- If none of this works, contact your credit card company to dispute the charges by filing a fraud dispute. Sometimes they will reverse all the charges and put a block on them.
- You’re better off using a credit card vs. a debit card for online purchases. Debit cards are basically “same as cash” whereas a credit card company will normally work with you to file a dispute. However, you can still dispute charges made on a debit card since they go through Visa and Mastercard!
- Be advised! Simply cancelling your credit card is not enough, you must cancel with the cream company OR file a dispute. If you simply cancel your card without either cancelling with the company or filing a fraud dispute – you may get a surprise collections letter in the mail months down the road.
Conclusion & Recommendation
These short-term free trials won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, so the best advice I can give you is to simply don’t accept these types of offers, and hopefully now you know what to look out for!
Again, I do not promote these free trial scams and I’m NOT the one who sold this to you if you’ve been scammed. Please don’t email me demanding a refund!
Check for the number on my latest blog post below and call the cream manufacturer to cancel your free trial.
Have you been scammed? Leave a product review below to help others!
It’s super helpful if you do leave a review, please list the name of the cream or product, and a phone number to cancel if you have it. Help me to help others just like yourself. And don’t forget to share this article. Thanks!
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How Women Found This Review:
and dr oz wrinkle cream, and dr oz face cream, and dr oz skin care, and Dr Oz Free Trial Wrinkle Cream, and jivam skin care, and dr oz wrinkle cream free trial
Akoura & Luxure
I sadly fell for the buy a sample trick. After they have your credit card, they send send you more product the following month and charge you full price, $89 & $98 respectively.
They said I didn’t read the fine print.
Please do not buy these products. They are sticky and gooey. This is a SCAM operation. Please do not be their next victim
Pure Obsession Essential Eye Cream
I tested Pure Obsession Essential Eye Cream under one eye against Mary Kay Timewise Firming Eye Cream under the other eye for 10 weeks. Mary Kay was far superior in controlling wrinkles and dark circles and clearly revealed a noticeable difference. I thought I was paying postage on one shipment and was not aware I had to cancel within 10 days or pay full price. When I saw the full price applied to my credit card, I called the company and was informed about the 10 day trial and also that my next shipment would be sent out the next day. I wanted to stop that shipment but was told because they had already applied the charges to my credit card they could not stop the second shipment nor allow me to return it for a refund later. Clearly this is unethical business practices. I find it hard to believe that this totally inferior product is backed by Shark Tank!
Dr Oz face cream fraud
I ordered Dr Oz’s free sample of face cream and eye serum. Well, apparently in the “fine print” they send you a 45-day amount and you have to return it in 14days if you don’t want it. So I see 2 charges later in the month for $85 each. Then I got another charge last week for another $85!! If you don’t return it, not only do they charge you $85 twice, but they put you into a “subscription” mode so they ship it out to you each month whether you want it or not. Even tho they say they gave you a 45-day amount!! Biggest scam ever – it’s too bad because the cream is awesome, but Dr. Oz needs to get on top of this and stop this marketing scam RIGHT NOW!
Ordered the initial offer and was to pay postage only. Made it very clear I was not subscribing and didn’t want anymore of the product sent to me. They agreed to those terms. Then I start to see unauthorized charges apperaing on my crdit card. Do not do business with these scam artists.
Yep, I was scammed like the others. Ordered the trial and was offered another sample for just a little more. Paid $13…something. Not bad if it was as good as they say, right? Wrong. Less than two weeks later I see almost $200 deducted from my account, from two different companies. I call them and am told they’ll give me 30% back. Hung up & called back. This time they say 50%. Hung up & called back; asked for a manager & was told there wasn’t one on site. The entire time the woman kept asking me how I like the product. Finally got through to someone who, after 30 minutes of arguing first said send back the product, which I agreed to do, but wanted to first see sn email stating that I would receive a refund for the full amount before hanging up, or I would contact the Better Business Bureau. Moments later, she said to not worry about sending it back, they will refund me the full amount, which they did. Took about a week to get my money back. NEVER AGAIN responding to an internet ad.
DO NOT DO THIS — SHARK TANK ENDORSEMENT DOES NOT BUT BITE YOU IN THE A$$
I recently saw that the only Shark Tank where all five sharks went with the entrepreneurs was the one for the antiaging serum. I thought what could I lose to try this product. Well … fortunately, I only lost $9 for the handling/shipping of the product that I never received! When I realized I had 14 days to decide whether or not I would like it and, if I didn’t, I would need to cancel my order or pay $89 per product which would automatically ship out to me. When I read the fine print in the email I received a week later, I called and canceled my order. I was told that my product had already shipped but that my subscription would be canceled. Over a month later when I called to see where my “free” product was, I was told that it went to USPS the day after I ordered it (32 days prior!!!). I was given a USPS tracking number which I checked after the call and then found out that USPS was still waiting for the item to be sent to them. Isn’t that convenient — the product didn’t ship, I was told it had; I was charged $9 for handling/shipping that hadn’t occurred;they lied and said it was sent to USPS because they had a tracking number, but USPS was waiting for them to send them the product. If 1,000 women were as gullible as me, they would have made well over $10,000 and they did nothing. This is the last time I will look at a Shark Tank investment. What a waste of money and my time to try to get this resolved.
Skin Flow(anti-aging serum) Final Skin Care (anti wrinkle cream)
Dont try this free trial of this product.they will charges you more money as they did to me. Charges me $190 CAD for myskin and $181.98 for tryskinadvance.com. i did cancellation and called many numbers to ask for refund but they dont do refund becauce of their no return policy.really got frustrated with this.
I applied for the Christie Brinkley free trial pack of facial skin care.
I then rang and cancelled the order, to my disbelief they then billed me for 180 american. After much discussion I was given a $40 discount. All this for a free trial.This is fraud and their are getting away with it. BEWARE
SCAM, SCAM, SCAM
DO NOT, ORDER ANYTHING FROM THIS COMPANY. DO NOT ENTER ANY OF YOUR INFORMATION TO THEM. THEY CHARGED ME 180.00 I DID NOT AUTHORIZE. I AM ON SOCIAL SECUTITY AND $180.00 IS A LOT TO LOSE THEY CHARGED ME FOR ONE FREE TRIAL I DID NOT EVEN SELECT AND NO OPTION TO DELETE IT BEFORE CHECKOUT OR AFTER. THEY WILL NOT REFUND MY MONEY. THEY SAY MY 14 DAYS EXPIRED YESTERDAY. HOW MISLEADING IS THEIR WEBSITE? IT IS INTENTIONALLY SETUP TO MISLEAD AND TO HIDE THE PERTINENT INFORMATION. HEARTLESS. THEY SAY THEY ARE CUSTOMER SERVICE, BUT THAT IS ALSO A LIE. THIS IS TRULY THE AGE OF TRUMPISM. LIE, LIE, LIE. I WILL SEND THIS INFORMATION TO THE U.S. ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE AND THE BBC.
Another Shark Tank Firm Radiance Nightmare
I experienced what Stephanie described in her post. When I called Firm Radiance to make sure that they had cancelled my account (after having charged my card several times following the free trial), the company said that I still had to pay the charges regardless. The customer service rep explained that the trial was free, but not the product, and that I had to agreed to these conditions. The rep also said that this was a common misconception, but that their advertising was transparent,and,that the BBB would do nothing with my recent complaint. She claimed that JBEVERSBEAUTY would continue to charge me every month until they got their money. Two weeks of using their product during the “free trial” does not make sense when you need to use it every day for thirty days before you notice a difference, or so they claim. I intend to follow up with the BBB. If this is such a widespread phenomena according to the rep, false advertising is to blame. Always read everything carefully before entering into these agreements. You have to protect yourself.
User Questions and Answers
User Questions and Answers
Q: I was scammed with a cream how do you stop them from taking money out of you account? -Helen
338 out of 342 people found this question helpful.
Q: got nailed on the scam...tried calling the numbers listed on the bank charges and neither number worked...I found a number on a piece of paper that came with the face and eye cream...I called and cancelled. This was Jan..Just looked at my checking account and see I was charged 93.00 again. My question is..When I made the cancellation would it have been for both...or do I need to locate a number for the second add on product? Here is the information on this new charge:Aim*beautyeye -Teri
151 out of 154 people found this question helpful.
Q: I ordered the Christie Brinkley eye serum sample this morning for $4.95 but need to cancel. I am getting surgery on where I was putting it. Can you please give me a phone number to contact to make sure this is done? Thanks -Joyce Richards
Rachel - WomensBlogTalk.com
151 out of 158 people found this question helpful.
Q: Hi Rachel, I recently sent for the 30 day trial by Hydroxatone and the other product that comes with it is Bellaplex. When ordering the first product the credit card was accepted but when ordering the second product it would not accept the same credit card and had to use a different card. Do you have any feedback on these company's as I did order them as Dr Oz was I believed promoting them but now I'm not sure. -Del
99 out of 106 people found this question helpful.
Q: Is Pure Eternal anti-aging cream also a scam? -Dana Chang
86 out of 93 people found this question helpful.