Watch out for this beauty scam I was lured into…

There is a very clever marketing ploy going around on Facebook and also on TV. You are invited to send

There is a very clever marketing ploy going around on Facebook and also on TV. You are invited to send for ‘free samples’ of make up, some advertisements even claim that “You need never pay for cosmetics again”! The invitations are very beguiling BUT when you request the samples be very careful. The information you give them includes your credit card details and in the TV ads they do state that it is for credit card holders only (that should be a warning!) and there-in lies the problem. You are sent the free samples and then on a regular basis, usually monthly, you are sent a fresh supply and your credit card is charged for them. Something you have not agreed to. Probably if you do not give your credit details you will not get the ‘free’ samples.

I consider myself pretty careful on the internet but they ‘got’ me! I sent for some samples from a company which was based in America and when I tried to give them my Visa card details they refused them so I gave them an Amex number. My samples arrived and with them an invoice telling me that my order for another batch of their products would be dispatched in a month. I immediately emailed them and cancelled the ‘order’. The cosmetics were quite expensive and the invoice was for over $100. Three months later out of the blue American Express was billed for an order that I had never received. It took a lot of correspondence back and forth before American Express accepted my explanation, which included a copy of my e mailed cancellation, and refused to pay the company. The moral of the story is be very careful what you agree to on the internet, things are not always what they seem.


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  1. I almost got caught with this, I read the fine print after I ordered the free samples. Then rang my credit card provider and told them it was a scam, they stopped all payments to them.

  2. I replied for one of these “free” beauty packs some time ago. When they arrived I very carefully read the fine print in the attached invoice which had to be paid if I didn’t return the goods within 30 days. I waited a week and then rang them (can’t remember how I got through or where I got the number), told the young man that the stuff had caused a rash. He was most apologetic and said he would cancel my invoice and not to bother to return the goods – “maybe a friend might like them”!! Never heard another thing from them.

  3. There is always a catch with anything offered for free, the old saying is very true, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

    • 99 times out of 100 you will find that if you don’t return the product within a certain time (usually 30) days, they’ll deduct the amount from your card. What they should say is “30 day free trial” and add something about paying if not returned.

  4. I agreed to free samples, and was told I only had to pay $1.99 for postage, then when “samples” arrived there was actually 2 months supply of products and an Invoice for nearly $NZ500. At no time was I told it was in $US. I had been looking at the product on the website, started to fill out a form, then cancelled, and they rang me a few hours later. High pressure sales, kept quoting it was only $1.99 for samples (once again $US so $NZ3 ea) did not approve of how they operated, and due to remoteness of where we live and Xmas New Year, was unable to return in timeframe, so contacted them. They agreed I could keep what was sent and only pay for 1 month, so still cost me over $NZ200, or $NZ50+ per item. Be careful of these people, I consider I have been scammed, but do have product at least to show for it, albeit very expensive.

  5. Surely the words “free” and “credit card” in the same offer should tell you something???

  6. The ones that crop up on Facebook have the same names over and over again saying how wonderful these products are, that triggered alarm bells as well…

  7. Anything that wants my personal details, including phone number or credit card detail, I click out and remember nothing is ever for free there is always a cost

  8. Helen  

    I requested free samples with postage payment of $1.99 by credit card. That was debited to my credit card. Next month they debited $199.00. I rang my bank & was told that they knew of the scam. They debit $199.00 monthly & I couldn’t stop them as I had given them my credit card details. My bank suggested the only thing I could do was to cancel my bank card & the bank issues me with a new card.

  9. Tammy  

    This happened with me recently with emoticons. They say download them for free but they want your credit card number. Why would they need your cc number for free emoticons that you download. I read further through the fine print n yes they are not free. I was lucky I didn’t give them my cc number but I bet there are a lot out there that get caught.

  10. Bente  

    Mine said free sample, with credit card, only the sample was free then you get a monthly supply over $100. They don t answer the phone, so you can,t send it back, I eventually just refused to accept it and my bank got my $700 back. So now I don t accept anything if they want my credit card. (Try for free) then you are stuck, it have to go back if you don,t like it and you have to phone first, only it,s in America and the don,t answer the phone, absolutely nothing is free!

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