Karen Kelly says this is exactly what she was doing: scrolling through Facebook on a quick break from work when she saw an article that said Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper was starting a skin care line.
It said to click here for a free sample.
“I put in my credit card info in and got the samples and invoice said $5.95 for shipping," Kelly said. "It was after that my credit card company called and said I had two very big charges on my account and asked if I authorized that and I said no."
Turns out Joanna Gaines had nothing to do with the company.
“They charged me over $400 for what I thought was a free sample,” Kelly said.
She's not the first to run into this sort of issue.
“These companies are using fake celebrity endorsements to entice consumers and then consumers think let’s try this,” says Bryan Oglesby with the Better Business Bureau of West Florida.
Oglesby says in just the past 10 years, consumers have lost $1.3 billion according to complaints filed about "free trials" with the Federal Trade Commission.
“Consumers are not seeing terms and conditions. Companies are not being transparent,” Oglesby said.
A company asks you if you’d like to try a free trial, you expect to pay shipping, but you also just agreed to an automatic monthly renewal subscription.
“There are many players in the free trial games. Best practice against this is to educate consumers. Just because free trial offer doesn’t mean that. Read terms and conditions," Oglesby said. "What does it mean? Are you giving them permission for recurring payments?”
And if you see a celebrity’s face allegedly endorsing the company, do your research.
“A lot of these celebs are calling these products out, don’t buy it. As a consumer, you have to do that research. You can’t just be reactive. You have to go and verify that information,” Oglesby said.
Kelly says after months of fighting with the skin care company, she received her money back.
“Just take your time with it, Google it. Like I said on quick break it was such an impulse to click on it. And just beware of the scams because of social media. It’s big,” Kelly said.
If you feel like you might have been a victim of one of these free trial offers, call your credit card company and cancel any payment. You can also report it to the BBB.
To read the BBB’s full report on this growing scam visit: http://us.bbb.org/freetrial
►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10News app now.