Free Trials Can Be Expensive
1st Community Credit Union has received multiple notifications regarding "free" trial offers. The Federal Trade Commission is urging consumers to use caution regarding these offers. Whether it's for teeth whitener, vitamins, or weight loss solutions, what sounds like a harmless opportunity to try before you buy could end up costing you a lot of money. Some of these businesses make it tough to cancel or place conditions on returns and cancellations that are so strict it is difficult to stop the deliveries and the billing. Or the free trial may come with a "small" shipping and handling fee, making you think you'll only be paying a few dollars but you're really being charged a much higher amount than you expected.
The most common complaints we've heard locally is that consumers are being charged for the full-size product PRIOR to receiving the Trial Product, leaving no time to test the free sample and make a decision to cancel if you aren't happy. Although not all trial offers are the same, they all come with specific conditions that are disclosed in the fine print.
- It is your responsibility to take your time and understand the terms and conditions BEFORE accepting any online offer.
- It is your responsibility to contact the company to cancel, so if you decide to accept a free trial offer be sure you write down the company's contact information.
- Look for pre-checked boxes, which if left checked may be giving authorization for sending you additional products other than what is advertised.
- Research the company BEFORE you commit to a free trial offer. Use a search engine to search for reviews or complaints about the company.
- Watch out for "free trial" offers that are actually an enrollment in a club or subscription (for exercise clothing, shoes, books, etc) that charge your card and ship more products to you each month unless you follow strict opt-out procedures on a monthly basis.
Equifax announced a cyber security incident involving a data breach of confidential information. A website has been established to provide information, including a simple way to check if your information is part of the breach by entering your name and last six digits of your social security number.
In addition to the guidance provided by Equifax on their website, remember these tips:
- Review your account statement regularly to look for suspicious transactions
- Periodically review your credit reports to make sure someone hasn't obtained credit in your name
- Take action immediately if there is suspicious activity on your account(s)
- Pay attention to notices from your retailer or your financial institution about a security breach
- Be wary of phone calls, texts and emails from unknown sources which make claims about the status of your accounts
- The FTC provides additional resources and information for consumers
Your rights to your free annual credit reports Go There Now
Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it. They also make it easy to accomplish many credit-related tasks right from your computer. Order your free credit report online from annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228. Annualcreditreport.com is the only official website explicitly directed by Federal law to provide free credit reports to consumers.
DID YOU KNOW... you can get your name removed from lists for unsolicited insurance and pre-approved credit offers by calling 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)
Thank you for being a valued member of 1st Community Credit Union