Streaming issues? Report here
Refilwe Moloto 2019 1500 BW Refilwe Moloto 2019 1500 BW
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
06:00 - 09:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: Today with Kieno Kammies
See full line-up
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
06:00 - 09:00

Home
arrow_forward
Lifestyle

Don't fall for this online scam advertising a "free trial" of skincare products

5 December 2018 3:29 PM
Tags:
Scam
Consumer
Internet
Wendy Knowler
#ConsumerTalk
skincare products
free trial scam
Tryjouvence
credit cars
When people agree to a free product, such as eye cream or moisturiser, they have their credit cards charged without authorisation.

Beware of “free" skincare trial scams which trick people into signing up for costly subscriptions.

How does the scam work?

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler explains that the many skincare companies place ads on third-party websites for the so-called free offers and direct consumers to their websites.

Consumers are asked to provide their credit or debit card information to pay relatively small shipping fees of or less to receive the trial offer.

Those who provide their credit card details soon discover that they've been charged much more - around R2600 - under terms hidden in the fine print on the websites.

Knowler says this is an international scam, controlled by a company with a footprint in the US and UK, which has multiple fronts peddling multiple products.

Read also: 5 types of internet scams South Africans need to wary of

When people agree to a free product, such as eye cream or moisturiser, they have their credit cards charged without authorisation.

The US Federal Trade Commission says internet marketers trick consumers into signing up for free trial schemes.

Bilqees Essa and Hahniem Mohamed both fell victim to this scam through a product range called Tryjouvence.

When I contacted the company, this woman said to me that I had gone into a subscription and that there was no way that I was going to get my money back. She said I accepted the T&Cs.

Bilqees Essa, victim of skincare scam

I had not wanted to order the actual products, all I wanted was the samples. I wanted my money back because this was false advertising.

Bilqees Essa, victim of skincare scam

Wendy Knowle shares 5 lessons learnt from this scam:

  • Be extremely wary of pop-up adverts on news sites, Facebook and the like.
  • If you’re going to buy online from foreign sites, stick to the big-name sites and make sure you know which costs are included in the quoted price and which are not, such as shipping and customs and VAT.
  • Beware the free offers - they are almost always a catch.
  • Before you commit your credit card details to any website, make very sure you have read every bit of small print behind every link on it.
  • If you can, do transactions on a desktop or laptop computer rather than a smartphone, as links to T&Cs display better on the bigger screens.

This hijacking of celebrity ambassadors to fake endorsements is a common modus operandi of these companies.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

The key issue for me is disclosure of what the deal really is; it's a subscription.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

I do think the banks should be interrogating this a bit more.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Listen to the entire ConsumerTalk discussion during The Pippa Hudson Show:

Image: jouvencecream.net

Every Wednesday, on The Pippa Hudson Show, Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


5 December 2018 3:29 PM
Tags:
Scam
Consumer
Internet
Wendy Knowler
#ConsumerTalk
skincare products
free trial scam
Tryjouvence
credit cars

Recommended

More from ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Loan lending

Payment holidays from the banks - can they be trusted?

25 March 2020 7:57 PM

Consumer Ninja, Wendy Knowler, on payment holidays from banks in which you get a break from interest and repayment of debt.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

consumer-talk-thumbnailjpg

When the coronavirus default tsunami hits, how will banks respond?

18 March 2020 8:03 PM

This edition of Consumer Corner looks at how lay-offs, closures and quarantine will impact people's income and ability to repay debt.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

bank-card-cash-money-walletjpeg

Covid-19 cancellations: A blanket 'no refunds' policy is against the law - Ombud

18 March 2020 6:12 PM

The Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman says the Covid-19 pandemic should force suppliers to review their cancellation policies.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

insurance-balancejpeg

Sudden cancellation of life and illness policies - consumer warrior advice

11 March 2020 8:07 PM

Wendy Knowler, consumer Ninja, has a horror story about insurance policies being cancelled - by sms.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

girl-teenager-flight-plane-airline-flight-travel-tourism-youth-gap-year-123rf

Emirates dodges pressing questions about CT teen's harassment ordeal on flight

11 March 2020 3:23 PM

Emirates was asked detailed questions about their protocols following a case of attempted sexual assault on one of their flights last week.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Man travel airport boarding pass passport #123rflifestyle 123rf

#COVID19: These airlines will let you change or cancel flight bookings for free

11 March 2020 2:23 PM

As the coronavirus continues to impact global travel, some international airlines are now offering free cancellation or flight changes.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

scam-fraud--

Telkom directory used to dupe small business owners

4 March 2020 7:54 PM

Hundreds of small businesses which fell prey to a phone directory listings scam, should relax and read here.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

luggage-holiday-travel-suitcase-airport-free-image-pixabay-933487-960-720webp

COVID-19: School tours, global conferences and family holidays up in the air

4 March 2020 4:29 PM

Consumers with international travel plans this year are facing high levels of anxiety as the coronavirus spreads across the world.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

online-shopper-laptop-digital-transaction-free-image-pexelsjpg

Wait - why did that debit order go off so early?

26 February 2020 8:26 PM

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist, on Nedbank's early debit orders.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

singapore.jpg

Singapore Airlines refusing to refund SA man's flights amid coronavirus outbreak

26 February 2020 4:12 PM

A South African man has slammed airlines that refuse to issue penalty-free refunds in destinations hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward