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
Anything to do with Dream lift is a scam. After calling 3 times to number on bank account statement. I was told that my case was closed and could not get my money back. Reported to fraud department. They are not. Legit company at all. Got 2 trial size products and later was charged $90+ and $85+. For less than 1 oz of product.
Subscription scam! Ordered "free" product, the eye serum and face cream and was told would only be charged $6.95 each for shipping. 17 days later my account is charged $94.90 TWICE!! I did NOT sign up for a subscription. My bank gave me the phone # of 855-607-4701 and the customer service rep said I was told I would be charged after my trial period. I WAS NOT!! There's NO FREAKIN' WAY I WOULD AGREE TO SPEND $180 for a FACE CREAM!!! The rep also said they do NOT have a refund policy.
Precautions that might save you money before falling for these scams.
I want to add a bit to my previous review of Brilliance, advertised using the "shark tank" scam on social media (Daily Mirror article on SharkTank Scams https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/great-global-dragons-den-face-11488240).
As the article says, they use the "special limited time offers" to get you to order without doing the usual Google searching, not that that will do much good.
They have that covered.
A search for SF Brilliance brought up a number of "puff" pieces for the product and even "BRilliance scam" brought me to a piece asking of this were a scam or not. The article concluded that it was not a scam.
Another article modestly put it as their number three choice of anti-aging creams. It took a lot of pages before I found the Daily Mirror article.
Then, after the fact, I thought to check the website addresses for these websites using any one of the "Whois" IP or web site look up services. Our payment was processed through what looked like a UK company but was actually registered in the Ukraine. Most of the articles and the supplier web sites traced back to the same address in Iceland. It would appear they only have a shipping facility in California and a receiving centre for returned product in the UK. Why? anyone's guess but a lot of obfuscation to hide where they are actually operating from. The telephone numbers maybe they are Skype call back numbers, I don't know. But my advice is:
(1) don't rely on Google.
(2) use the whois lookups to find out where they are registering the websites and judge wether or not they ar to be trusted.
The success and persistence of these scams may well be because the actors are not within the jurisdiction of the countries they supposedly operate from.
This was another Shark Tank promotion with the usual order now pressure gambit to get 1 free jar with one bought or two bought.
The product shipped from California , but a different part from where the company is supposedly located. Akk our discussions have been with atsupplements but our payment was processed through Healthy-Herbals in the UK.
Jsut a day or two latyer we came across the Daily Mirror article on SharkTank Scams https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/great-global-dragons-den-face-11488240
and contacted them to cancel. They advised it had been shipped but agreed to issue a RMA, an authorisation to claim a refund, minus shipping... except it is advertised as free shipping for what we (my wife) ordered, two jars plus one "free".
The RMA has a 30 day validity. That's unfortunate because it expired before the product actually was delivered. Requests fora new RMA have gone unanswered.
This is SF Brilliance or Brilliance SF and it is marketted through various online distributors including on Amazon. Whether they are complicit in the scam or not I don't know. ANd it is probably the same cream as advertised under various other names as per the Mirror story.
Whether we get our money back or not I don't know. I have reported the company to the BBB in California and the various related organisations to trading standards in the UK, this inlcudes a courier company to which we are supposed to return the products.
That such scams can take place at all is incredible, that they can endiure so long is even more surprising and yet Facebook and the like carry their adverts without a concern all the while cancelling people for all sorts of bogus reasons.
Like the call centre scams, the 419 email scams, something really needs to be done about all of them.
Please be aware of the Luxurian Eye and Neck cream as well as the anti aging cream. I never received my mine. I was charged the free charge of $.99 for both. soon later I canceled the order. weeks later i was charged $89.92. This has been going on since July 1 2020. I am still fighting for my money back. The bank tried and keep coming back with we are hitting a dry wall. Now they asked me to keep fighting to get my money back. I never received the Products. It is ashame.
I purchased 2 sample products for free pay only shipping which totalled 11.90. Period said no hidden fees now I'm charged $177.81 unauthorized by the now um trying to get the charges reversed good luck with that!!!!! Don't order anything on line. Not a happy camper what a scam
This is a total scam! After over $120 in charges I finally did find a telephone number to cancel this bogus subscription. 1-888-932-9199. Still working on getting a refund!!!
24 kt Aqua radiance cream is a scam
& they will keep billing you every 30 days. Beware.
Rated "yuk". I ordered the "free" face cream that had Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz rating it as great!! the order form did not show what was ordered and charged. I found the total billed was over $300. I called immediately and canceled the order. Cancellation #08105001. It went to my bank anyway and caused an overdraft at my bank. I called (844)5994642 and was told a superviser would call me back. Still waiting but won't stop.
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.
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.