Read the fine print

Read the fine printThere are new schemes to get your money. And, they are not illegal. Here is one that got me. The email proclaimed “a great way to learn a language, used by federal agencies”. It is “faster and easier than Rosetta Stone” and much cheaper. “Order today for only $6.95” and I did using a little used credit card.

I received the product, reviewed it and found nothing special about it. I put it on the shelf and went about my business. Since I hardly ever used the credit card, I didn’t open statements for a couple of months. That was my second mistake. I now had a bill for over $300, plus late payment charges.

I called the credit card company and complained that there must be an error because I had not ordered anything for $300. The credit card company said the transaction was from the company where I made the $6.95 purchase. If I had a complaint, I had to call them. I did.

Here is what I learned: the $6.95 “offer” was for a review period of 30 days. After that, I was automatically to receive advanced learning modules at a cost of $150 each unless I notified them otherwise.

That was my first mistake. I did not read the fine print or the second page of the original email offer. I legally owed the $300 and the credit card company the late fees. I paid.

Offers like this are costing consumers billions of dollars every year. The offers may be converted to a monthly fee or like mine, to a higher cost product. These “gray charges” are not illegal, just questionable and unethical. Don’t be a victim. Read the fine print about the “free offer” or the “trial period.” If it seems too good, it is.

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