Get the Facts on Free Trials for Beauty Creams
Have you been scammed by a free trial for an anti-aging cream? Keep reading! In this review about free trials, I’ll give you tips on how to cancel and hopefully get your money back!
Before I go any further – if you’re looking for a phone number to cancel a free trial, please check for the number on my latest blog post:
Free Trials – How the Ads Lure you In
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.
Are there any Legit Trials?
Since there are some women who wish to try something before they buy – the ONLY free trial I recommend is Lifecell Anti-Aging Treatment.
Lifecell is a 30 day trial and a reputable skin care company that’s been around for over a decade. I’ve used it extensively with great results (over 6 years to be exact, LONG before these 14 day free trial scams tarnished the nature of a free trial).
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,” who 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 “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.
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. Sound familiar?
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!
These scams I’m warning you about are garbage and their phones don’t even work half the time, and there is a HUGE difference in quality.
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.
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 (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 bank 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 14 day short-term free trials won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, so the best advice I can give you is to is to be very careful and just be smart, READ the terms and conditions.
Lifecell, the only free trial product I recommend, shows you the terms and conditions UP FRONT. Again the difference is Lifecell gives you 30 days and offers a great product, and has friendly customer service agents if you wish to cancel.
This is literally the ONLY free trial I recommend if you wish to try something for free to see how it works with your skin. Lifecell is amazing!
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!
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
Yep, this is a scam. Like others I called them number is 855 633 0203 and was told I agreed to terms and did not call to cancel. They told me I cannot return items. Got the cream and eye stuff . Next time I called three way with my credit card company . Now they say they are refunding part and it is cancelled. We were on the phone for quite a while and supervisor kept putting us on hold while they contacted their head office. Got them to send email saying refunding and acct is supposedly closed. Waiting 7 days for something to show up on my credit card . It’s been a nightmare. Oh, they don’t list a company name on their package or paperwork they send. Hmmmm.
Sucker born every Second
If it sounds too good to be true, than realize it is a scam
I was scam by dreamserum, I had a free trail 14 days, first time. I did not read the terms and condition at the bottom of the ad in fine print. I was charge $360.00 4 products. I tried calling DreamSerum with no refund. Even my credit card could not help me. What a lesson to learn at 72 years old. Buyer beware!
Kelly Ripa Rip Off
I fell for the Kelly leaving LIVE to run her cosmetic business. And yes I had to agree to a second product to get the original product. I must have been still asleep the morning I ordered this stuff. I don't buy wrinkle cream yet they suckered me into to this. I am filing a complaint with BBB and anywhere else I can find. If they get enough complaints they will do something. Please file a complaint too if you got scammed!!!
This is a total scam! I ordered the $4.94 trial, got it and not I'm about to be charged $89.90 for more product. I should have known better.. I will be calling the Better Business Bureau on this company. Buyer beware!!!!
Australians Get Scammed Too
Greetings from Australia where these scams are also rampant. "Free" trial of Pure Ravishing Skin and Joli Skin. Product arrived on Day 14 as did the AUD$181.00 debit on my Credit Card. Customer service offered 70% refund which I refused. Credit Card company has put payment on hold and cancelled my card. Consumer law may be different in Australia but I expect to have the charge reversed. Our consumer laws state: "It is illegal for a business to engage in conduct that misleads or deceives or is "likely" to mislead or deceive consumers or other businesses. This law applies even if you did not intend to mislead or deceive anyone or no one has suffered any loss or damage as a result of your conduct". Therefore, also reported scam to ACORN [Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network]. Now I am emailing company every day requesting copy of contract and copy of Invoice / Account for Credit Card transaction. Obviously no response to emails but will use lack of response in my case to CC company. I am not even going to use the products as I believe a disreputable company may also have no integrity when it comes to what they put in their products. I am appealing to everybody caught in these frauds or scams to pursue it to the bitter end. Report them to the relevant agency, try to have your CC company reverse the transaction and tell everybody you know. Don't be embarrassed. The companies are the ones who should be ashamed ... not you. Good luck!
Derma Viva Skin - Australia
Can't believe I fell for this! Didn't see any small print and a customer service person actually phoned me to confirm the order and said nothing about ongoing charges/subscription or trial period etc
Just got my c/c statement and found first round of extra charges. As they emailed a confirmation of the sample, I replied to [email protected] with a request to cancel.
I got a promising auto reply (see below) so I guess I'll be phoning them during business hours to follow up. Doh!
Thank you for contacting Customer Support, please contact us during business hours. 07:00 am - 10:00 pm PST.
For a faster response please call:
(Australia) (02) 8046 6522
(Ireland) 18509 45052
*********THIS IS AN AUTOMATIC REPLY*********
Please email us back with the subject line "Cancellation Request" and provide us with ALL the following primary information in order to close your account.
First and Last Name
Contact Phone Number
Verify the last 4 digits on your Credit Card on file used. (example: xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-0000)
Derma Viva Skin Care- Customer Support
This company offered a free sample, 1 oz., an you paid for shipping. Little do you know you are signing up for a subscription to this serum product..my CC was charged for the first shipment for 89.87 and then another box of the sample size was sent and another charge for the same high amount. Not requested! Tried to give me a sample again when I called to cancel and request a refund. I turned it over to my CC company and filed on BBB website where others have filed and complained. Beware!
BEWARE SCAM ESSENCEV PH PRODUCTS
BEWARE - SCAM SCAM SCAM. I gave a sample of this product as a gift. Been told it is not different than many cheaper products for sale. They put you on auto product mailing, with charge to your account. DESERVES NO STARS IN THEIR DIRTY TRICK MERCHANDISING. OFFERED HALF A CREDIT BACK, what a laugh customer NO service. Surprised this type of scam has not been stopped.
Yes, I too was surprised by the two charges of $119.95 on my credit card after I ordered two $4.95 samples. I did not see the "fine print" that requires you to cancel within 12 days. I had my credit card company call them for a three-way call to dispute the charges. The key is to be nice and say that you did not see anything on the website about canceling within 12 days. The rep said he would cancel my auto membership (so you don't continually get billed) and offered the option to send in the unused product for a refund. He provided a refund tracking number which I had to put inside the package and on the outside. Make sure you use a tracking service like Priority Mail. I later had to call in AGAIN and specifically provide them the tracking number so that they could verify the return and refund the money. They followed up on everything via email, which you should also ask for. This was a huge pain and a waste of time, but I did get my +/-$240 back onto my credit card.