I was recently browsing my Facebook page, when an advert for testers required for a new beauty cream popped up in my feed. The advert promised lucky customers a free trial of a specific anti-aging cream. All you had to do was click on the link, so I did, and I was taken to a page where I had to fill in a questionnaire, asking such details as my sex, age, had I used beauty creams before and did I have any skin complaints.
After I had finished the questionnaire, I then had a few seconds wait to see if there were any appropriate products available for me to trial. Luckily there were two, but I had to hurry, as they were only being reserved for me for 15 minutes.
It all seemed quite simple, pay the £1.99 postage and receive a jar or tube of this amazing beauty cream. As I’d never heard of the brands before, the two being offered were Lift Serum Pro and Lift & Grow Pro, I decided to Google them, to find out more information.
Well I’m glad I did. As soon as I entered the name of the brand a host of entries appeared, and they all seemed to contain the word complaint or scam. Intrigued, I then added the word scam to the brand name and hey presto! I discovered exactly what was going on.
In all of the complaints, the reason people were writing into shopping forums was that after the £1.99 had been taken out of people’s bank accounts, the company then proceeded to take an extra £84.71, and on a monthly basis. Why were they able to do this? Because it was stated in the Terms & Conditions in their website, but nowhere on the site does it state that this is what you are signing up to when you order a trial tub. And you have to click on the terms & conditions, which are right at the bottom of the page, in small text, and after you have scrolled through several pages of bright, distinctive advertising.
So basically, the advert is for people to try the anti-aging cream free for 14 days, not to get the cream for the small postage price. And you have to actively cancel your membership (as that is essentially what you are signing up to, a monthly subscription), otherwise the company will send you and bill you every 30 days for another tub.
So what can people do to avoid this scam? Well, if you have only just signed up for your ‘free trial’, the best option to take is to cancel your debit/credit card, before the company have the chance to take out the additional payment. Also make sure you have emailed or called the company to let them know that you have cancelled your subscription.
If the payment has already gone through and you paid with a credit card, call your credit card provider and ask them to arrange a ‘charge-back’ payment. This is where the credit company take responsibility for getting your money back. If you paid with a debit card, cancel straight away and consider taking the company through the Small Claims Court.
You should also call Trading Standards, who may find that what Lift Serum Pro are acting illegally.
Most of all, spread the word about this scam, as it appeared on Facebook, people automatically think that it is a proper advertisement.