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How to get the most out of free trial periods

Posted: 6:00 AM, Dec 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-02 10:04:55-05
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PHOENIX — You may be seeing more products being offered with free trial periods as the holidays approach.

That's where you supposedly get a chance to try it before you buy it.

If you don't like it, you send it back and are only charged shipping and handling fees.

But we hear from people whose credit cards are charged for much more than those fees.

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing out more than 79,000 checks to consumers they say bought products from 17 companies.

The FTC says the products were bought "risk" free. But instead, customer credit cards were dinged for "unauthorized monthly charges for unordered products." And they couldn't get their money back.

Last year, we talked with two operators at a Valley customer service center.

They handled calls from people who bought various "free trial" products and had complaints.

The operators told us they were instructed to not let any call go longer than 5 minutes... even if that meant hanging up on the customer.

They also said you had to "threaten" in a certain way to get any money back.

One operator told me threatening with calling your bank or an attorney got the companies attention.

And then the company would start by offering 25% of your money back.

The operator says the consumer had to keep pushing in order to get anything more.
The company denied the operator accounts.

But we see similar issues.

Be very careful before agreeing to any of these offers.

If you must, never use a debit card and know all of the rules ahead of time.

Keep a close eye on your credit card account.