North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice
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Watch out for not so free samples of health products

Friday, June 12, 2009

Many North Carolina consumers are complaining about charges for so-called free samples of health and beauty products such as teeth whiteners or acai berry weight loss supplements
Consumers respond to an ad and sign up for what they think is a one-time free sample.  They provide their bank account information to pay shipping costs for their sample.  But the fine print often says that they’re also agreeing to additional shipments of the product.  For example, dozens of North Carolinians have complained that they signed up for a free trial of acai berry diet products only to find their bank accounts charged month after month for as much as $79.95 for continued shipments.

Before you order a free sample, remember the following:

  • Be skeptical. Glowing testimonials from people who say that the product changed their lives and promises that famous people use it may be exaggerated or untrue.
  • Read the fine print carefully. Make sure you aren’t agreeing to pay for additional products or signing up for recurring shipments you don’t want.
  • Check out the company by calling the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau.
If you responded to a free trial offer and wound up with unexpected charges, file a complaint with Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or visiting our website at