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Beware of Free Trial Offers

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Free trial offers can be a great way to test a product or service before you commit fully.

However, these offers come with Terms and Conditions (T&C) so it’s important that you know what you’re getting in to before you enter into an agreement.

Standard T&C may state that if you do not wish to proceed (after the trial) you must cancel within the trial period. Failure to cancel indicates your consent to an ongoing subscription, being charged a specified amount each month.

Most merchants are forthcoming with their T&C and will re-present them to you when you provide your card details. Unfortunately, not all merchants are as forthcoming. As a result, you could be entering into an ongoing agreement without really knowing it.

Before accepting a free trial offer, make sure you understand the agreement fully.

  • Google the merchant to find out more information
  • Locate the T&C - sometimes they can be hard to find
  • If the T&C are unclear or ambiguous, do not enter into the agreement
  • Ensure you understand the terms of the free trial
    • How long is the free trial period?
    • When do you need to cancel - if you don’t wish to proceed?
    • How can you cancel it, e.g. by email or phone?
  • Set a reminder to cancel before the free trial period ends (if you don’t wish to proceed)
  • If you cancel within the free trial period, keep all details of the email or phone conversation

Remember, these companies are in business to make money. Not to give things away for free! A bit of checking up front can save you in the long run.

For more information on free trials, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au

Blog written by Rebecca, First Option Risk Officer