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!
Our Top Choice for Anti-Aging – Beauty Counter Nourishing Skincare
Get the ultimate nourishing skin care routine. Nourishing Cream Cleanser gently washes away impurities and makeup, Nourishing Rosewater Mist tones and refreshes skin, Nourishing Day Cream and Nourishing Night Cream soften skin and lock in moisture, Nourishing Eye Cream treats the delicate area around your eyes, and Nourishing Cream Exfoliator buffs away dryness, revealing radiant skin.
Beauty Counter has a Never List of 1,500 banned chemicals that will never be used in their products. Hooray for safer skin care!
How Women Found This Review:
and dr oz wrinkle cream, and dr oz face cream, and dr oz skin care, and jivam skin care, and Dr Oz Free Trial Wrinkle Cream, and dr oz wrinkle cream free trial
Caution extra charges
Read the fine print, read the terms and conditions. I fell in the 2% who thought the promotional charges of 3.95 and 4.95 was it. Then I received two additional charges totally $178. Not Happy!
I am so glad I found this blog before my 2 weeks ran out. I can’t even believe I signed up for the “free trial” of Beaute Wrinkle Reducer. I don’t even wear make up and usually just use sunblock and wear a hat!!
Here is the info for Beaute Wrinkle Reducer:
I called 5 days after ordering, and maybe the woman had already dealt with a lot of angry callers because she didn’t put up any resistance. I also called my credit card company, but they said that while they’ll put in the alert to block the transactions from the 2 DIFFERENT vendors that showed up on my credit card, in their experience the vendor is totally different once the monthly subscription kicks in. I should’ve gotten a clue once I saw there were 2 different vendors and even got an alert from my credit card asking me to verify the transactions, but I was still an idiot.
Allure Skin Serum
THIS IS A SHAM. I ordered the “No Risk” samples of the Skin Serum & Eye Cream – paid the shipping & handling. When I got my next credit card statement I was charged $89.95 & $85.95 for them. This was supposed to be RISK FREE….AND this “wonder serum & eye cream is no better than putting hand lotion on your skin. No dramatic results…no noticeable results at all.Don’t get sucked into this like I did.Shame on Kelly for even associating her name with this product, along with Dr. Oz.
Nayve skin serum and CS cream.
Just wanted to sign up for the Nayve free trial offer. Was forced into the CS cream. Found out both are a $89 a month forced subscription. Gal did not want to refund the $6 shipping and handling for the CS cream even though it was cancelled in 20 minutes. She said the terms and conditions prevented her from refunding my money.
This is so deceptive. Do not fall for this $4.95 trial offer. No one ever informs you that you will be charged and how much you would be charged. Your bank account will just have a $110 deduction from some company that does not match the product you bought. I have had several charges on my account with a different 1-800 number every time. I have had to call each one to be sure I had canceled my account that I never knew I had. Shameful and not worth it.
On the same ad on one page for “Dr. Oz” were trials for weight loss (the garcinia and forskolin scam) and beauty (don’t remember the name but they’re all the same). Because of health issues, sometimes I’m a bit too compulsive and I got both trials – and four separate outrageous charges on my Visa – every two weeks! We’re talking $60 – &80 for EACH product. And since the hubby takes care of the bills, I didn’t know about it until he complained (I never opened the packages nor did I open any of the products). Dealing with the scammers (usually you will see their phone number on your credit statement – one phone number for each product) is not pretty. In fact, I’m very easygoing and no, I didn’t know about these short term “trials” that led to “subscribing” for these products. When all four phone numbers tried to pass it off as “You didn’t say we couldn’t” when I told them I didn’t sign anything, I just hung up on them and talked to my bank. That was an embarrassing call. Some people don’t realize that there are those of us, sometimes housebound, that have illnesses and we don’t oversee our own finances. So I had to file a dispute with every charge (they were trying to submit a charge as we spoke), get a finger wagging from the bank (I hear this EVERY DAY ma’am), cancel my card and get a new one.
I have no idea what these products were supposed to do now anyway.
The Better Business Bureau is a good way to go but not always satisfactory. Your bank will act much quicker if you work with them.
Obsession Skin Care Trial Scam
No stars for this product. Free trial is attached to a recurring “contract.” I don’t remember reading this, but you can imagine my dismay when I found, not only two separate shipping charges from two companies (both representing Obsession Skin Care) but, in addition, follow up charges of 89.73 and 87 dollars, respectively. Customer service cancelled the order when I called, but kept 50% of the charge stating I agreed to the contract and didn’t call within the 14 or 15 days required. I don’t recall reading any of that when I ordered.
I filed complaint with Better Business Bureau, and saw that there were other complaints filed. The Company was rated “F”. Stay clear
Sharon Tank Select Skin Serum & DR- Eye Cream
I signed up for a free trial of the facial and eye cream that was supposedly invested by all Shark Tank investors, for around $4 shipping. Turns out I was charged full cost after 2 weeks, and charged again the next month- both cost $87 to $88 each, with total of almost $200 a month. The cream temporarily left red burn marks around my eyes. Wrinkles did look minimized, though. But I didn’t appreciate the scam, so I called the number listed on the shipment slip and they were accurate. The two different numbers reached the same customer service center. They accepted the cancellation, offered the same deals as mentioned in the blog, and upon my request, emailed me the confirmation of cancellation. However, they said refunds or return shipment was not possible, I’m stuck with the products I already received.
Phone numbers are:
(877)938-3286 for DR-Cream
(877)317-9037 for Select Skin Serum
Pure obsession does a scam like the other reviews I have read. I just got off the phone with them. I was offered a 35% off my next product. I said I didn’t want anymore and to cancel and I wanted a refund as I never agreed to paying $89.73 and $89.00. I explained that I clicked on 1 product and the site says thanks for purchasing both for the shipping fee only. After I said I was calling my credit card company they say they will refund 1/2 of the money. I told them I’m still calling Bank of America.
Pure Divine/Youth Sense
I wish I could give them 1/2 star. I was suckered in for the “Free Sample”, just pay shipping. BS! After 15 days, they tried to charge my account $89.90 for face cream and $94.90 for the eye cream. That I already had, that were supposed to be “samples.” So I call them and negotiate down to 75% for each and schedule a date for them to take the money out. Well, low and behold, they tried to take the full amount out of my account again today! Called them again and the lady has no idea why they tried to take the full amount out again, a week early. So, now my debit card has been cancelled and I’ll be sending them money orders. (maybe)
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
312 out of 315 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
141 out of 148 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
136 out of 139 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
90 out of 96 people found this question helpful.
Q: Is Pure Eternal anti-aging cream also a scam? -Dana Chang
77 out of 84 people found this question helpful.