What you need to know before you press “subscribe”

(NC) Subscription services are everywhere these days. Movies, fitness classes, gift boxes – you can get a subscription for pretty much anything. But that doesn’t mean every subscription out there is legitimate.

Even free trials can end up costing you more than you expect, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you sign up. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the risk?

A common scam involves offering a product or trial for free if you pay the shipping and handling fee with your credit card. Once you agree, you’re unknowingly charged the full amount for the product, and you’re on the hook for ongoing fees and charges — which can be $150 a month or more.

What can you do?

  • Take a second look before you submit your information.
  • Beware of timed offers and limited quantities – they’re often pressure tactics.
  • Don’t trust celebrity endorsements or too-good-to-be-true promises – they’re often fake.
  • Read the terms and conditions carefully. Don’t sign up if you can’t find them or don’t understand them.
  • Double-check your cart. Look for items automatically added to your order before you accidentally pay for them.
  • Be extra wary of offers for health and beauty products – such as weight loss or muscle enhancement pills, cognitive enhancement pills or anti-wrinkle serums – they’re the most common items offered.

For any online purchase, remember to keep all receipts and records, like screenshots, of conversations or messages with the company.

If you think you’ve become a victim of fraud, ask your bank to issue a stop payment and report the fraud to the Competition Bureau at competitionbureau.gc.ca.

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