You give your credit card number for shipping costs, but then you see a charge of almost $90 show up on your account.
That's what the Better Business Bureau of Central, Northern and Western Arizona is warning consumers about now.
"They signed up for what they thought was a risk-free trial and ended up enrolling into an auto ship program where they were billed monthly," said Felicia Thompson, Director of Marketing and Communications for the BBB.
They got 87 complaints about DermaPure in the last year alone, she said.
Thompson says the fine print in the company's disclaimer does tell customers if they sign up for the free trial, they agree to automatically enroll in an "auto-ship" program.
According to the BBB, though, it's confusing to consumers. They say they got the Chandler-based company that sells DermaPure, Arizona Nutraceuticals , to make their disclaimer clearer to customers.
But, even after the change, the BBB says they continue to receive complaints from consumers.
Arizona Nutraceuticals tells us they've refunded almost $4 million over the last 20 months to customers who claim they didn't know they were enrolling in the auto-ship program.
They tell the ABC15 Investigators that they believe their website "accurately alerts customers" about what they're getting. The problem is, they say, "customers are simply not reading the website disclaimer and terms and conditions of the free trial, which they have the opportunity to do on two occasions prior to completing their order."
The bottom line for consumers? Always read all of the information before you give out your credit card information.
Below, you can read the BBB's alert to consumers as well as the company's response to the BBB. Do you think they're being fair with their free trial? Email me or go to my ABC15 Facebook page and tell me about it.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER FROM ARIZONA NUTRACEUTICALS TO ARIZONA BBB
ARIZONA BBB ALERT TO CONSUMERS
Free Trial for Wrinkle Cream Leaves Consumers Frowning
(Phoenix, AZ – August 31, 2012) Better Business Bureau Serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona (BBB) is warning consumers about Chandler-based company Arizona Nutraceutical whose "risk-free trial" of DermaPure - a wrinkle minimizer skin care cream - has generated complaints nationwide regarding their auto ship program and alleged unauthorized monthly billing.
Consumers claim DermaPure advertises a "risk-free trial" through Facebook ads, pop-ups on Internet sites, and in print. The ads take consumers to DermaPure's website to sign up for the free trial where they are asked to pay a shipping fee of typically $4.95 by credit or debit card. However, consumer complaints allege that after placing the order, they are automatically enrolled in an auto ship program and a charge of $89 to $99 appears on their credit or debit card statement. Those who have attempted to reach the company about the additional charges report it is difficult to talk to a representative and when they do, they are informed they automatically enrolled in an auto ship program when they agreed to the free trial offer.
Arizona Nutraceutical has responded to BBB complaints stating they offer a free "trial" not a free "sample" of the product, and that consumers have 15 days to cancel the auto ship program or ask for a refund. However, some consumers allege the product doesn't arrive within the allotted time. Some consumers who reach the company report they are able to cancel the auto ship program but fail to receive a refund for the charges.
"In theory, free trial offers sound like a great idea, as businesses get exposure for a new product and consumers are able to try it before committing to a purchase," said BBB Vice President of Communications Felicia Thompson. "Unfortunately, consumers often complain about free trial offers gone wrong. Bottom line, if you are signing up for a free trial please check out the company with BBB first, read all the fine print, and look for any pre-checked boxes before providing your information."
BBB challenged advertising on DermaPure's website in February of 2012, urging the company to modify its order form disclaimer and make it clear to consumers they would be automatically enrolled in an auto ship program upon requesting a free trial. Although DermaPure modified the disclaimer earlier this year, the statement was still unclear and consumers continued to report they were unknowingly enrolled in the auto ship program.
During a meeting with Arizona Nutraceutical principals in July 2012, BBB was informed the company was being sold, but that no details were provided about the new owner.
Arizona Nutraceutical is the umbrella company for a variety of products ranging from DermaPure's wrinkle minimizer skin cream to HCg 5000's weight loss drops. The company is located at 4340 W. Chandler Blvd, Suite 5 in Chandler,
Arizona. Arizona Nutraceutical currently has an "F" rating with BBB, on a scale of A+ to F, due to advertising issues and failure to resolve the underlying cause of
87 complaints filed in the last 12 months.