“Free Trials” or scams? How you can avoid getting ripped off


The holiday season puts everyone in a giving mood and trying to find that perfect gift for a loved one or friend. Websites take advantage of that heavy online traffic by offering free trials to reel people in for a “free trial.”

Like many others, Alexandria Wemyss is a Dimondale resident who fell victim to an online scam from a free trial of a weight loss supplement. The website stated the bottle was free, and all she had to pay was $4.95 for shipping. A deal right?

“I decided to try it, I figured oh, 4.95 that’s cheap, alright and you know…here I am,” said Wemyss

Wemyss is left over $500 in the hole, in hopes to get her money back, but says she just wants people to be aware of fake sites and do their research before typing in those credit card numbers.

“I could have looked at reviews because there was reviews about how it’s a scam, don’t buy it. There were other people complaining about how they had lost hundreds of dollars due to this company,” said Wemyss.

Wemyss isn’t alone though. There are thousands of these cases a year that get reported to the Better Business Bureau and Catlett says along with reviews, you should also look at the fine print.

“The language of an agreement that you are clicking off that you agree to if it’s an online kind of scam, is hidden away. It’s either in the small print at the bottom or you have to click through links and most of us never bother reading all that language, you just say yeah I agree because you think these are honest organizations, and they’re not,” said Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan President, Phil Catlett.

Catlett added that free trials are usually never free.

“When they say free trial, everything about that trial is designed to make it not free,” said Catlett.

Wemyss says there’s really no other way to describe how she was left…”bamboozled.”

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