Finance

So-called ‘free trial’ offers are actually costing Americans a lot of money

There is an old saying that goes, “Nothing in life is free,” and that apparently also includes so-called “free trial” offers.

Ted Rossman, an industry analyst for consumer financial service company Bankrate, told Fox Business, “Nearly 6 in 10 U.S. adults who signed up for a free trial were later charged against their will.”

Free trial offers and promotions generally mean you have enter a credit or debit card number in exchange for a service.

This isn’t a big deal if you actually enjoy the service and are planning on using it again in the future. However, many Americans simply become trapped into such offers and wind up losing money to subscriptions that auto-renew once the free trial ends.

The six-in-10 figure comes from Bankrate’s 2019 online shopping survey released last week.

The company also noted that 64 percent of American card holders give permission to have their financial information saved when buying things online, though nearly half of respondents said they thought doing so was unsafe.

When signing up for free trials, failure to remove your banking and card info ensures that a business continues to have access to your funds.

“Some dishonest businesses make it tough to cancel, hiding the terms and conditions of their offers in teensy type, using pre-checked sign-up boxes as the default setting online, and putting conditions on returns and cancellations that are so strict it could be next to impossible to stop the deliveries and the billing,” the Federal Trade Commission warns consumers on its website.

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