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Whiter than white?

Published: 8:06PM Wednesday August 05, 2009 Source: Fair Go

Reporter: Phil Vine.

April Morris thought she was getting something for nothing.

It ended up costing her $140.

April's trouble started with the website: It says sign up and you'll get sent stuff for free. "Great," thought April, especially in these tough times.

At the start, the website's offers seemed to be working. April was rapt when she got some free coffee.

Then she saw an offer she couldn't refuse. A free sample of teeth whitener from '"Dazzlewhite".

Just a matter of putting in her details and then they asked her to pay for shipping. April keyed in her credit card details.

The postage cost for the so-called free whitener jumped three times from $4.95 to $14.95 to $24.95. There was a $5.13 charge for web access.

That turned out to be for two weight loss programmes she had no idea she'd signed for.

Then a week later there was another charge on her credit card for $95.00.

April repeatedly told Dazzlewhite she wanted out. They asked her to ring three different numbers in North America to cancel. She still hasn't got her money back. In fear of more credit card deductions she cancelled her Visa.

In the marketing game it's called a "continuity programme with negative optioning." That means the fine print says they'll keep sending you shipments until you jump through all sorts of hoops to cancel.

The company behind it is Just Think media in Canada. And a warning.

They're promoting other products using the same technique. AcaiBurn a weightloss tablets, PureLiftCream, an anti ageing formula and another product called ResV. Realfreesamples, also based in Canada say they're the innocent party.

They've apologised for putting the products on their newsletter without checking they were genuinely free. They've since removed the listings.

What you need to know:
A free sample should be just that, free. Don't pay postage.
Don't give your credit card details to unknown companies. No matter how small the charge
If you do sign up for freebies triple check the terms and conditions to make sure you haven't signed for something else
Get out of Jail Free Card

If you do get caught and you want them to cancel you could follow the lead of Darryl Palleson from Havelock North. He told the Dazzlewhite operator that he was reporting them to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Centre. Darryl got a cancellation order immediately.

Check out the website.  It gives you some international muscle in dealing with internet marketers.

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