On Your Side: Recurring Billing

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News 12 at 6, June 25, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.--Many of you have probably ordered something over the internet or over the phone for a cheap price and ended up being enrolled in an expensive program without your knowledge.

It can end up costing you hundreds of dollars and it can be very hard to cancel the service.

It may be annoying and time-consuming, but it all comes down to reading the fine print.

If you don't, you could end up paying out hundreds of dollars you never intended to.

All Sue Mahoney wanted to do was lose a couple of pounds.

Her friend suggested something she had seen on TV called Lipoplex.

"It said free sample and pay $6.95 for shipping. We figured we've got nothing to lose." she said.

Sue ordered the pills, but then discovered something in the teeny-tiny print at the bottom of the page.

"It said you can't use it if you have high blood pressure. Which I do," she said.

She didn't try to get her money back. She just chalked the $6.95 as a loss. But then another package arrived with pills, a package she hadn't ordered.

She was billed nearly a hundred bucks, so she called the company.

"They said you should have read the terms and conditions in the small print that says you can't cancel this order," she said.

Without realizing it, in that first order, Sue had enrolled herself in a recurring program.

Like many of you, she just clicked yes in the box that asks if you agree to the terms and conditions, without actually reading the terms and conditions.

This is nothing new, many companies pull this trick to earn a few more dollars.

Look very carefully when anything is offered for free or one that says you just pay shipping and handling.

Read those terms and conditions and any other fine print or else you may end up out a bunch of money like Sue is.

"I felt like it was a con in the best sense of the word," she said.

If this happens to you, first call the company to ask for a refund.

If that doesn't work, you can call your bank or credit card company to dispute the charges.

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