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Don’t get caught out by “free trials.” Part 2

Posted 27 November 2015

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If you spot an interesting freebie that you need to give your payment details to get hold of, be careful you’re not signing up to a continuous payment authority.

In part 1 we looked at how the scam work. In today’s blog we’ll look at what you can do about it. So let’s get on with it.

What can you do about it? Part 2

If you think you may have been caught out in this way, there are some things you can do to check.

First – don’t panic! Not all companies who take your details on social media sites are scammers. However, if you are worried, start by checking your bank account to be sure. If you see any payments leaving your account that you don’t recognise, no matter how small they are, call your bank and check straight away. While you’re on the phone, ask them to make sure that there are no continuous payment authorities set up on your account.

Even if you don’t find any unknown payments at this time, but you still want to check, or it’s not been that long since you completed the transaction, move on to the next point.   

Second – go back to the website where you entered your details and see if you can find any contact details for the company.  If there’s a telephone number, call it to see what happens. If there’s an email address send a message to it, again to see what happens. Also look for details of what you’re signing up to. Are there pages and pages of terms and conditions hiding what you’re really agreeing to?

If at this stage you think that it is a scam, again call your bank and explain. If all still looks genuine, why not move on to the third stage.

find-my-solution

 

Third – do a quick Google search to see if anyone is complaining about the company and how they operate. If it is a scam you may find other people in your situation talking about it in forums or on review sites. If you find anything confirming that the site is a scam, you know what to do – speak to your bank. If you’re still happy that all is well, there is one last check you may want to do, the fourth stage of the process.     

Fourth – go and look at the paper work, or lack of it, you received when your samples arrived. A reputable company will provide you with a receipt for your purchase, detailing how much you’ve paid and what you’ve paid for. Scam companies don’t do this because they don’t want you to know what you’ve been signed up to. And they also don’t want you to have their contact details, so it makes it really hard for you to get in touch with them when you realise that they’ve taken more money than you agreed to.

So, if you’ve realised that you’ve have fallen victim to a scam and extra payments have been taken what now?

Luckily, there is something you can do about it. If you discover that you’ve been scammed in this way, call your bank and ask that the continuous payment authority be cancelled. They are obliged to do so immediately, under the 2009 Payment Services Regulation.

Then, as long as you take action before 120 days has passed, you can ask that they refund you the money taken using their charge back system. This means the bank will refund the money you’ve had taken immediately, and then take action themselves to recover the funds from the fraudster.     

And a final word

Please don’t feel embarrassed if you have fallen victim to a scam – it can happen to any one of us.  The crooks are clever, they know what to do to get you to sign up. So, if you think you may have been scammed, call your bank and speak to them, they won’t judge, they are there to help. 

 

 

 

 

by Shelley Bowers

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.