RBS warning about 'Free Trial Scams'
There's a number of products and services out there that give you a free trial before biting you on the seat of your pants. We warned readers about the trial with The Sun+ which ended up taking money off people.
Well, the Royal Bank of Scotland are now calling on regulators to do something about firms that offer free product trials before taking consumers for mugs. The RBS said that, since last June, they'd helped 37,000 customers to stop charges that had been hidden in the small print in 30-day 'free trial' deals for beauty and nutrition products.
The bank said that these deals "took advantage of consumers" who believed they were only handing over a small fee for postage: "Clever advertising and pop-ups on social media websites lure customers into what they believe to be a free trial of a cream or tablet. They are asked to enter their card details to pay a small fee to cover postage and packaging."
"In reality, by providing their card details and entering the free trial they are agreeing to a recurring subscription, if they do not cancel within the trial period."
"At its worst point, RBS and NatWest were receiving over 390 calls a day from customers to complain of charges of around £80 a month being applied to their accounts that they did not recognise."
"Customers receive the goods but don’t know about the recurring costs associated or that they have to stop the trial.
"Subscription details and charges should all be laid out in the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of the agreement, but the bank has found instances where the T&Cs only appear after the customer has agreed to them, where they’re hidden at the bottom of the page or where they’re greyed out making them near impossible to find."
"The bank estimates that at its peak this was costing customers over £30k per day and over £2.9m in fees since June last year."
So, as ever, stay vigilant and remember - always read the T&Cs and, if it looks too good to be true, it almost invariably always is too good to be true.