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

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.