Get the Facts on Free Trials for Beauty Creams
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.
My Interviews with CBS
I was interviewed by Cristin Severance with CBS 11 in Dallas, Texas about Beauty Cream Free Trials (watch it here). 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!
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.
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.
- 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.
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
Revita scam (Kelli Ripa)
I fell for one of these trial offer scams. I thought I thoroughly searched the small print and still missed about the 14 day cancellation. I called and they offered me the 50% off and I declined. I am reaching out to my credit card company now. Hopefully I will be successful.
I did a survey and at the end of it was told that I qualified to choose a "Free" product and all I had to pay was $4.95 S&H.So I thought wow good deal and accepted the offer.As I accepted it instead of going straight to check out it would take me to another page that said our customers who get this also like this too,I DID NOT Check the box to agree that I wanted any of those other product offers and I figured when I reached the end of their offers/sales pitch that I would only have the 1 "Free" product that I initially had agreed to get for the $4.95 S&H,That did not happen and I was initially charged a little over $40.00 on my VISA Debit card.I have very little money in my bank account and ouch! that hurt for me but I chalked it up to lesson learned and to never fall for anything like that again!! OK now here is the REAL kicker...I need to pay my electric and buy groceries and I'm on a very strict budget because I have no credit cards and I'm active bankruptcy at this time...So I go check my bank account funds so I can arrange to pay my electric and then see how much I'll have left to buy food with and I was like OMG! I only had about $20.00 in my account and NO funds to pay my electric with and $20.00 is not going to feed me for the week.The company had debited my account to the tune of about $200,needless to say I am devastated.I literally called this company in tears and explained my situation as well as the fact that I did not agree to this nor sign up for anything,they checked my account and told me that I could have returned the items ONLY unopened before 14 days and I would NOT have been charged for them.I continued to stand my ground and even told them that their business practices were unfair and even seemed illegal.After much crying and arguing with them they finally agreed to refund me 50% of the debited amount.The whole thing makes me sick in my stomach and the pump dispenser's on the 2 products I paid dearly for do not even work and the cream severely irritated my skin,so I cannot even use the product.Yes I am embarrassed to admit it but I was scammed/shammed by La'Pura's deceitful bussiness practices ~ BEWARE & STAY CLEAR OF THEM!!
Sandra Bullock Miracle Ritual Creams
Copious adds featuring photos of Sandra Bullock with testimonies by other famous people offer Bullock's skin cream and eye cream for a low prices, such as $9.95. After my email purchase I received an email from"savvydreamlux
" advising that my next order is scheduled for processing and will bill me $93.79. Then there is a question: "Do you want to continue with your order?" When I clicked the red colored NO, nothing happened. So, I clicked it again and again, but without any response. Since then I have received two deductions from myaccount, each for $98.82, each on the 20th of the month. I immediately sent a message to my bank that these were fraudulent charges and am trying to reach the distributor, whose phone number is on the bottles. z
Hyyyyyydra Life Serum
I was scammed. It was a pop up while I was reading my email from a trusted business I buy from. Walgreens. I charged the shipping and handling. The company name was not on the packing slip. I paid the $ 4.95 on my Citi Mastercard and was completely unaware of what was to follow. The following statement I was billed $ 89.95 twice. Now I had a phone number on my statement to call. I was told then in no uncertain terms That I had to pay it getting no where. Then I called Citi Mastercard and lodged a dispute and they took both charges off that month. Then they provided Citi Mastercard with untruths which I couldn't fight. So both charges were charged back to me. I sent them the add that said free with only $4.95 s&h, the copy where I called and cancelled and copies of both packing slips. That's all I had for proof. The print is so fine on the bottles they sent I could not read it as I have ARMG and am 82 years old. I relly didn't need this serum but I was duked with the pop=up and thought for $4.95 I'd try it. There should be a law that requires more information so consumers are aware. Seniors don't think to research these phony adds. I thought it was the drugstore not this scam company.
MadePure Skin Cream
After using the trial I received for the $4.95 shipping/handling, this product did not work for me, so I called the toll-free number provided to cancel the automatic shipment & further charges. I was told that in order to cancel the charge for this trial jar, I'd need to return it to them (at my expense, of course). It has taught me to READ THE FINE PRINT before accepting a "free" trial of anything!
Angeletta cream curse
My email to Angeletta:
I haven’t received any product, I have been charged S&H for a “trial” product and now charged full price which was not expected and checks X 2 bounced. I have conservatively spent $300.00 for some eye cream and skin cream I’ve never even seen yet. I have called customer service twice and was “disconnected “ from another call. I am a hard working person who actually just got home from being in the hospital for heart problems and on a limited income. I would like someone with a heart, to listen and refund my money before I suffer further financial consequences from your unauthorized actions.
Unfortunately, the trial terms and conditions must be agreed to before placing an order, and those terms provide the customer a 17 day opportunity to evaluate the product from date of order before billing at full price occurs, therefore, we are unable to process your refund request. Cancelling within the trial period prevents any billing. A cancellation request was not received during trial, therefore the billing occurred. Per terms, automatic monthly shipment and billing also begins after the trial ends.
In a nutshell :
I received those products TODAY. How can I benefit from a trial period to evaluate a product when I didn’t receive the product until today. Your own words were ......
“terms provide the customer a 17 day opportunity to evaluate the product from date of order before billing at full price occurs”.
So you see it is obvious I qualify for my money to be refunded.
I will ask one more time....... Please refund my money
Aura or blissfully any aging product SCAM
I hope everyone got my review and how to get 100% of your money back. Do not accept 25, 50, 75% and don't take their "in the terms and agreement you signed up for crap!" You worked hard for your money and they will give you 100% back. They will hang up on you or make sure to take all of your time up, hoping you will give up or hang up. DO NOT!!! You threaten them with your attorney, the BBC, ETC, ARTORNEY GENERAL OFFICE, YOU NAME IT, YOU DO IT!! IF I CAN DO IT, TRUST ME, YOU CAN AND WILL! Take money away from my daughter's mouth, I don't think so! If it takes all day, TRUST ME you can do it. Don't take anything less than 100% refund!
I am very pissed off that nothing was mentioned about being automatically charged on a continued basis once receiving the "trial" bottle!. The friend i ordered the produce for says she likes it, but it's not worth $87 on a continued basis. Tried calling the phone number on the enclosed packing slip on four occasions, but the phone rings and rings without anyone answering. Even if i have to get my current credit card number changed to stop the continued charges, I'll do that!.
An on going battle
I got hooked on a free sample scam. Then 3 weeks later my credit card bill came in with a charge of $92.67 . Called CS at Visa, went thru my story, they transferred me to the dispute department. Followed their instructions and called the CS for Luxeclairer products. Got the name of the person I spoke to, got a cancellation number and called Visa back with the requested information. Two weeks later my next bill came in and there was another charge for $92.67. This time I was not too polite with CS rep I talk with. But she was very patient and reviewed my whole file and said they would cancel the charge. Now I wait for next month's bill to see what the out come is.
I was a recent victim of Purely Vibrant scam. Same game as the rest, same “trial” period, same recurring monthly fees! When I saw that my underage daughter had been able to order what she thought was something for nothing from my phone had already cost me $400 (by the time I realized it!) I was livid!! I immediately called the company, canceled my order, then proceeded to call my bank and notify them of 2 still “pending” charges totaling almost $200. I was told that if the charges actually went through and deducted from my account, to call back and a dispute would be opened. Within 24 hours, the charges were taken from my account, contrary to what the representative with purely vibrant had guaranteed, so I proceeded with opening a dispute with my bank. I followed this with nonstop emails and phone calls to purely vibrant, sending them screenshots of their Better Business Bureau complaints and ratings, as well as multiple websites warning of their scams. I immediately began getting calls from them guaranteeing me that if I cancelled my bank dispute, my money would be refunded. Long story short, I was not able to recover the $200 for the trial products, but I was refunded $200 for the unwanted shipment, $10.00 shipping, and they gladly gave me their pathetic products ? Apparently these folks are fully aware of their scams, and the way to their wallet is to stand your ground with your aim to file disputes with your own bank, file complaints with the BBB as well as the Attorney Generals Office, if necessary. Within 1 week, my funds are back in my account, although I did have to cancel the card used to order. Small bump in my road for what could’ve been. HUGH price to pay for a lesson learned....for my teenager AND myself. I hope this helps someone get your own money back, and prevents others from making the mistake she did of thinking “free” actually meant Free.
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
373 out of 382 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
177 out of 180 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
170 out of 180 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
113 out of 120 people found this question helpful.
Q: Is Pure Eternal anti-aging cream also a scam? -Dana Chang
99 out of 106 people found this question helpful.