NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Everyone loves a good deal, and they seem to be everywhere on the web and social media.
Sometimes it’s easy for consumers to be unaware of what they’re in for, and it can end up costing them big time.
Susan Sinclair told CBS2’s Alice Gainer that a Facebook ad for wrinkle cream seemed like a great deal.
“I think it had a before and after picture, something like — $4.95 for one-month free trial,” she said.
Sinclair was shocked when the next month, two more bottles came with a hefty price tag — one cost $89 and the other $99.
“There’s no information that you’re going to be charged that, there’s none that you’re going to be automatically refilled,” she said.
After three months, that $4.95 turned into nearly $600.
“It’s big time pick-pocketing,” Kathy Hughes said.
Hughes saw a similar ad, just $3.95 for a sample.
“I could afford that,” she said.
Weeks later she was charged $99.
“He said yes ma’am, ‘when you order the sample you give us the right to keep sending it to you,’ and I said, ‘no, no I did not,” she said.
Both women did just that, they just didn’t know it.
Unless they notify the company to stop sending merchandise they will continue to be charged — it’s in the terms and conditions.
According to federal law those conditions are supposed to be disclosed clearly, but on these web sites, they’re buried at the very bottom of the page.
“It can be something consumers might miss,” Claire Rosenzweig of the Better Business Bureau, said.
She said consumers don’t know they need to opt out, or are confused by it.
“If you can’t find something like the information on the terms and conditions that you can understand, then you should be looking somewhere else,” she said.
It’s not just wrinkle reducers, Proactiv — an acne cream — has faced similar complaints. In a statement, the company said they offer, ‘automatic product replenishment’ that ‘customers may cancel’ at any time.
After similar complaints, Kate Hudson’s clothing line produced a video explaining what happens if customers don’t opt out or skip.
“Forget to skip? Your credit card will be charged $49.95,” the video explains.
Rosenzweig said the bottom line is that consumers need to know what they’re getting into.
“It’s very easy to press that button to pay, and to give your credit card information, but what a lot of us don’t do is take a look at the terms and conditions,” she said.
CBS2 tried to reach the companies that sold the face cream to the women in our story, but could only get their call centers. One representative said unless CBS2 had an account there was nothing they could discuss.