by Alyssa Andrews
We see them everywhere. Ads float across our TV screens, on the web and in newspapers promoting skin care products that will work wonders and maybe even change our lives. Some companies use the lure of free products to get us to try something new. It often seems irresistible. But what if you respond and find yourself caught in a scam?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) put the brakes on a “risk-free” cosmetic offer scam and charged 15 interlinked California companies and the people who run them with making phony offers for so-called free products since 2010.
The FTC says the companies used banners and pop-up ads on Amazon.com, Huffington Post, Lowes.com and other websites for Auravie, Dellure, LéOR Skincare and Miracle Face Kit. The pop-ups used the hard-sell to get you to sign up and buy before you left the site.
To get the free products, they asked you to provide credit or debit card information and then, the FTC says, they piled on the charges.
While the ads claimed you’d only pay $4.95 for shipping and handling, people discovered that their credit card statements showed charges of $97.88 and sometimes more.
Some found themselves unknowingly enrolled in programs for automatic product shipments that added recurring charges and fees. And then, it became difficult if not impossible to cancel shipments and stop additional charges or receive refunds.
In its FTC complaint, the FTC charged he defendants with violating the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act (ROSCA) and the Electronic Transfer Funds Act (EFTA). It hopes to recover refunds for all the consumers who took the bait.