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BBB- Watch Those "Introductory" Offers
Whether you're offered no- or low-cost offers to try magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, or mail-order book or DVD clubs, sometimes what you're asked to sign up for isn't really free.
Introductory offers can be a way to help you decide if you want to continue purchasing a product or service. However, if you don't read the fine print, you may find yourself shelling out more money for shipping, deliveries, or other orders you didn't anticipate.
Don't want to buy more than you want, but do want to try the offer? Here's how to make sure you're really getting the trial you want– so you don't end up with surprise charges on your card– with some tips from the FTC.
Do your research. You can look up the company at
, and view records of reviews, complaints, and other business information. It's a good idea to do a quick Google search, too, and see what other people are saying about the trial offer and any possible "catches."
No, really, do your research. The company the offer says it's from may be just fine, but check again—is the trial actually from where it claims? Some pop-ups or other advertised introductory offers could be from someone else, even though you're on a site you trust.
Hunt down the terms and conditions. It may be small, or difficult to track down, but make sure to find and read the "fine print"—whether your offer is on the radio, in a magazine or newspaper, or on TV. Look for information on cancellations, billing, and returns, so that if you want to end the subscription before you're charged more, or you don't want to keep a product, you know the policies.
Look for pre-checked boxes. Before you click "send" on an order, watch for options that have been selected for you. These may allow the company to continue your trial and charge you accordingly.
Mark your calendar. If you're looking to return a product or cancel a service before a new billing cycle, make sure you know how long you have to do so. If you don't opt out before a certain date, you may find yourself paying more.
Watch your bank statements. Make sure to keep an eye on your credit card statement so you aren't being charged more than you've anticipated. If you do spot transactions you didn't agree to, call the company and ask for a refund. If that didn't work, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company, who can step in to refund you your money.
If you think you've been unfairly charged during a trial offer, you can contact your local BBB here. You can also report it to the FTC or let your local consumer protection authority know.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2014, consumers turned to BBB 185 million times for Business Reviews on more than 6.5 million businesses, all available for free at
. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Mexico and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.
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Kash from Jubilee Joe's joined us to teach us how to do a Crawfish Boil.
8th Annual Jubilee Joe's Crawfish Boil
April 25, 2015
Pelham Event Center
3050 Lee Street
Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama,