Reader Ellen grumbled about getting tricked by a free trial that turned out to be $35-$40! She emailed me:
In searching for child care I stumbled across the many strings attached to the classic hook, line and sinker: FREE TRIAL. (What I really mean is hook, line and STINKER!) Two Web sites both advertised free trials to post an ad for child care. The responses from caregivers came pouring in to my e-mail only their contact information was not available unless I “upgraded to a premium membership,” which averaged between $35.00 and $40.00.
Now this would all be well and good if the sites didn’t advertise a FREE TRIAL. In calling one site to complain about false or misleading advertising, I was told that in the past parents would first pay and receive no responses so they revamped their policy to protect those who didn’t get responses. While I could appreciate that, I still feel they shouldn’t advertise something as free if indeed it’s just a bait.
How frustrating! Retailers and manufacturers should disclose the fine print up front because it builds customers’ trust. I know I am more likely to act on a deal or discount if I can see all the hoops I have to jump through ahead of time. If the rules are hidden, I’m likely to think the provider is hiding something suspicious. With all the info, I can fully evaluate whether the deal makes sense for me.
What do you look for if you suspect a deal might not be as good as it seems? Have you been burned before? I recently regretted a “free” postage scale deal.