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!
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
Disgusting scam, but I got all my money back by being hard nosed
derma skin brands
I ordered a sample of the anti-wrinkle cream and eye cream. Apparently there was a 14 day trial period noted on the website, but when I received the items, there was no notice of the trial period in the box, or any reminder that a full shipment will be charged to my account after this 14 day period expired. When I called to complain, they said I was outside of my 14 day period to cancel. They charged me $172. for both items, and could only reimburse me $140. Very unhappy. don’t order anything from this company againl.
If I could unleash gins on them, I would!
Shark Tank Revive skin cream free trial
After reading your article on this scam I called the number shown on the charge to my bank and was able to reach customer service to cancel my subscription. They would only refund 50% which meant I was charged for one product $119.83. I did receive a subscription cancellation by email. Still upset with myself for getting caught in a scam. Thanks for your tips which were very helpful. The phone # I called was for Revive Skin Today – 800.828.3954.
Radiant Revive Bright Eyes Serum and Repair & Release Cream
I consider myself to be pretty thorough when ordering products online. I read through the web pages and try to be as informed as possible before I place an order. Well, my efforts were in vain when I recently got snagged by deceptive and manipulative marketing tactics by a company called Radiant Revive. This company advertised online for exclusive and limited time only free samples of Repair and Release Cream ($4.95) and an additional product called Bright Eyes Serum ($4.90). The advertisement had no information about a 14-day trial period with the need for order cancellation within 14 days to avoid credit card charges for the full-price of the products, $89.95 and $88.47. There was an option for upgrading shipping to “Priority”. I chose “priority”, but the package came a couple of weeks later with just a packing slip that contained no company contact info. or statement about a 14-day trial cancellation requirement. Subsequently, my credit card was charged the full-price for the products fifteen days later. When I contacted the company to discuss the charges, the customer service rep. told me that I was charged the full price because I failed to cancel the “free trial” prior to 14 days from date of order. I advised her that there was no information about a 14-day cancellation requirement on the advertisement I read. She advised this information was in the “Terms and Conditions” on the website. Liar! Even if there were a notice, it should be conspicuously placed so that the buyer is clearly informed as to what they are buying. We all know about caveat emptor, let the buyer beware; but this is just plain fraud. I was adamant that I wanted my credit card refunded because I never authorized the charge for the full-price of this item. I was on the phone with three different customer service reps., two of them that were supposed supervisors. The first supervisor offered me a 35% discount on the purchase price. I wasn’t looking for a deal. Then she upped it to 50%. I was not biting and demanded to speak to her supervisor. After waiting on hold for what seemed like an eternity, the next supervisor iterated the same spiel that her subordinate did, almost word for word. I advised I would be contacting my state’s attorney general and the BBB to report their manipulative and deceptive marketing scam. She offered me a 35% discount on the product. I advised her that the other supervisor already offered me 50% and that I was not accepting any discounts; I wanted my credit card refunded in full. Then she offered me 75%. I continued to address their unscrupulous behavior and their defrauding of women in this country, and she finally agreed to process a full refund. She did provide the refund numbers and advised it would take about 8-10 days for the credit to appear on my credit card. I’ll believe it when I see it. I will be contacting my credit card company to advise them of this unauthorized charge and request they block any future attempts by this company to bill my card. I will also be following up with a BBB complaint and calling the NY Attorney General’s office. This will be the last time I trust another online advertisement. Repugnant human behaviors! I don’t know how some people can even live in their own skin.
What A SCAM!!!!
Please ..Please do not order from Essential Anti-Aging. Not Only do it not work you do not get the eye serum you ordered they will not be charging my credit card again…. I am canceling my card. It so hard to have faith in American when companies like this try and built it on LIES. They should be ashame. MY BAG! the companies CEO’s to busy laying on a warm beach from stolen money from there on line customers…you should be ashame.
DO NOT SIGN FOR IT!!! It is a scam. They won’t return your money. They will charge you every month and won’t let you return the product even though it comes with a return label. DO NOT BUY THIS!!
What a SCAM !!!
My email carried an ad for miracle skin care cream guaranteed to work, free trial and endorsed by Dr Oz. I thought what the heck. I know nothing is free and there would probably be some strings attached somewhere down the line…but if I really liked the cream I might be willing to keep using it,right?
Ordered skin cream and eyeserum. Paid shipping and handling with my CC. Never saw any information about intent to renew, shipment schedule, or “the strings”.
I discovered that the trial was for 14 days and on day 15 Avoir Derma debited my bank account for $172.70! and it was for the product I already had. “My free Trial”
After several attempts I found a phone # that worked, from my bank statement,not the web site. NO contact info there. Fishy??
The customer service was rude and condescending saying that “some people could read the fine print and understand what a 14 day free trial meant.” I’m ashamed to say I won’t repeat what I said to her at that point. My bank has a private company that handles disputes, scams and fraudulent drafts. So I started a claim with them and hope to get my hard earned money back.
I didn’t know that Dr Oz’s name is plagiarized all the time. That’s was why I bought the cream. There’s a fool born every day. My new birthday was February 1st!
just as others stated – a facebook pop-up lured me in. just got 2 charges on my account for over $180.00 – no luck with their customer service, so i am disputing charges through my bank.
Scam as stated above exactly.Will bill you 190.00 plus within 30 days
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
361 out of 367 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
168 out of 171 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
163 out of 171 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
109 out of 116 people found this question helpful.
Q: Is Pure Eternal anti-aging cream also a scam? -Dana Chang
94 out of 101 people found this question helpful.