TRADING standards officials are warning people to be aware of an internet site that claims to offer a free trial – only to leave people with a hefty bill.
Two people from Hartlepool have been caught by the site that claims to offer a free trial. But council officials say the offer is neither free or a trial.
Hartlepool Trading Standards service says people should always read the small print after looking into two complaints made by people in the town to Hartlepool’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
They say social networking sites are carrying adverts for Revitaderm anti-ageing moisturiser and Perfect Radiance anti-wrinkle serum, which claim to be the “simple facelift solution” to help customers “look 10 years younger”.
Officials say they offer 16-day free trials of the products. But lengthy terms and conditions – available only via a small link at the bottom of the internet advert – mean that acceptance of the “free” offers commit customers to a £79.99 a month contract to receive regular supplies of the product unless strict cancellation conditions are met.
Complainants have reported that the free trial product, which costs £2.97 postage, arrives 10 days after ordering and when they try to cancel, they are told that the trial period has expired as time taken to deliver the sample is included as part of the 16-day trial period.
Customers also find that £79.99 has been taken from their bank account in accordance with the contract conditions.
Subsequent monthly payments are taken before the contract can be cancelled leading to some customers having to close their bank accounts to prevent further payments being taken.
Ian Harrison, Hartlepool Borough Council’s principal trading standards officer, said: “These offers are neither free nor are they a trial as customers cannot cancel if the product has been used.
“I would urge anyone considering these products to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions included in small print.”
The Hartlepool Mail tried to contact Revitaderm via their website but had not received a reply at the time of going to press.
Anyone experiencing similar problems with Revitaderm and Perfect Radiance products are advised to contact Consumer Direct for free advice on 08454 040506.