Free samples and introductory offers
Scammers can trap you by pretending to offer a free trial pack or a low introductory price. You can come across such subscription traps in telemarketing and online sales. For example, watch out when a seller offers you something for free or for the price of postage, and make sure that they are not trying to sell you a standing order.
Free sample packs
Free introductory offers and sample and trial packs delivered for the price of postage are typical in the marketing of such products as food supplements and cosmetics. In most cases these vendors attempt to sell standing orders, and the purpose of getting the consumer to order the introductory pack is to commit them to ordering more products.
If the vendor has led you to believe that you are only placing a one-off order for an introductory pack, you cannot be required to pay for any other products. You can also not be required to return or store the product.
Introductory offers are often subscription traps. For example, your order for a cheap sample magazine may later turn out to be a standing order. Similarly, a free trial period in an online dating service may lead to monthly charges.
If the telemarketer offers you something for an introductory price, ask them if they are attempting to sell you a standing order. If you are ordering something online, look for information about the terms and type of the order in the contract terms.
Find out if you have only ordered an introductory pack
You can use the examples below to check if you have only ordered an introductory pack or if you have also committed to receiving additional products and, consequently, have to pay for them. If you have only ordered an introductory pack, you do not have to pay for the additional product sent to you. If you do not think you are liable to pay, file a written complaint with the company.
I only ordered a trial pack through telemarketing, but they started sending me additional products that I had to pay for. The vendor says I placed a longer-term and more expensive order.
If the telemarketer leads you to believe that you are only ordering a one-off trial pack, this means that there is no contract on a further order. In other words, the vendor must inform you clearly about the duration of the contract when marketing a standing order. If the company cannot prove that the invoice is founded, for example by a recorded phone conversation, you do not have to pay the invoice and you cannot be required to return the product.
The company advertised on its website a very cheap sample pack, which I ordered. However, the vendor tells me that I placed an order for expensive additional products by checking a box.
If the advertisement leads you to believe that you are only placing an order for a one-off trial pack, this means that no contract on a further order has been concluded. The invoice for the additional order is unfounded and you do not have to pay it if important information related to the order, including its duration, is hidden in the terms of the contract.