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Techno-geek and uber-nerd that markets on the interwebz and has passion for innovation.
Mike Gartner | MikeGartner
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Auto Rebilling: A dirty trick to avoid.

Jun 29th 2010 at 4:09 PM

So how many times have you seen someone offer you a free trial of something or other, but to get started you need to provide a credit card number, or use your Paypal account to sign up?  Up until recently, this was common place in the world of IM.

A lot of products, services, and marketers even ask that you pay ONLY $1 to start any sort of trial and act as if you are getting an incredible value … but what they are really doing is getting your credit card number or PayPal account locked into their auto re-billing feature!  They hide behind their real motive simply by telling you that it is for your convenience.  Although many respectable marketers have cut down on this, and made any recurring billing blatantly obvious … this is still something to watch out for.

It is a well known fact that many people who offer products or services are making more money due simply to people forgetting to cancel these auto re-bills.

Now I’m not in any way speaking for all marketers. Many do in fact provide great value and are trying to make things easier, but it is also an overly abused  marketing tactic to make the product or service owner a lot of extra recurring income.

Go ahead, see for yourself.  Log into your Paypal account right now, search your history and find and identify all the subscriptions you are currently paying for.  See if you remember what exactly you are paying for.  I bet you can’t.

You see, a lot of unethical marketers know that most of the time you will forget about the trial and a few months later you will finally notice that you have been charged XX dollars every month.  Guess who makes a pile of money that way?  That’s not cool man.

So, again, this is something to watch out for when signing up to any free trials of anything.  Read the fine print!

On a total flip side, here’s an example of a guy who has an insanely good free trial offer, but you don’t have to give your credit card or Paypal account up front.  It’s just a free trial, because he believes it works and is not hiding behind anything!

Ian Herculson’s Smart Subscriber

It’s a no obligations 90 Day Free Trial of what’s called the Smart Subscriber marketing system. His name is Ian and he’s been an online marketer for over a  decade and claims he will make you money through affiliate commissions just to prove his service is worth paying for!

With no credit cards or Paypal account stuff upfront, I’d say that’s a pretty rock solid and safe free trial.  Make sure you check this one out;

90 Day Free Trial of Smart Subscriber

Until Next Time,

Mike Gartner

P.S.
I actually made a video about this when it was in prelaunch … and it’s still going EXTREMELY strong ;)
Here’s the link to the video, if you wanna check it out:

http://trkr.me/2a

24 comments
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Oct 6th 2010 at 5:21 AM by JohnnyKid
Just like on TV, no one ever reads the small letters...but on TV they scroll fast. On IM, you got all the time in the world to wise up. Nice heads-up, Mike.
   
Oct 2nd 2010 at 10:24 AM by HealthyGuy
Guilty as charged! Thanks for the great article Mike, it was well received and will be remembered. To Your Great Success and Health Dr. Lee
   
Sep 16th 2010 at 5:06 PM by justbev
A great article Mike. I know the company I am has a $1.00 trial and people have forgotten to take out their credit card information at the end. What I really like is when they contacted the company, they immediately were refunded. Unless people remember, it can certainly be a problem.
   
Aug 21st 2010 at 5:30 AM by prosperaj
Informative article. Most of us have fallen to this trap, but we eventually learn from that mistake. Plain and simple read the fine PRINT...
   
Aug 15th 2010 at 6:30 AM by CraftCycler
I think everyone has been sucked in by this at least once. I bought an article pack for $5 only to find out that I had subscribed to future packs for $29.99 every month. Deleted the subscription & will NEVER buy from that person again.
   
Aug 5th 2010 at 11:32 AM by kenjefferies
It really is getting to the stage where you cannot use credit or debit cards on line.My rule now is to only pay through Paypal and check carefully that it is just a one off payment.If it shows more than 1 payment ,I walk away.Using any bcards on line should be shunned by everybody.Even on safe payments.It takes one unscrupulous employee to send through some extra transactions whilst dealing with cards.They can and do do it.Mobile phone companies are one of the worst.If somebody uses your card details fraudulently and you report it to your bank.If you have ever used your card online,they will not refund the money to your account.At least the bank I use takes this view.Needless to say I will be changing banks and getting all new cards.Which will never be used online,
   
Jul 30th 2010 at 11:55 PM by RayHosking
Thanks Mike thats interesting reading,thanks for warning other web usser,s just trying to make a few buck$. These sort of rip-offs are exactly why a lot of potential customers won,t buy our goods online. We all suffer with these scams directly or indirectly so all marketers and resellers, or however you are making money online, should be alarmed and on the lookout for theses scams.Regards, Ray ( ceaser10 )
   
Jul 28th 2010 at 11:50 PM by CindyBattye
Omg! I have never read so much rubbish in my life!!! The biggest problem isn't that people are being given a $1 trial, or whatever... It's that people are not paying attention to what they are signing up for. Take responsibility people. And, for goodness sakes, don't expect to have everything served to you on a silver platter! Really! You optin for the trial, because you want to test out the product, so...test it out, see if it will work for you. If not, cancel the subscription, but... know that the product you are testing has been created by someone who is running a business. If you are going to get your moneys worth, if you think they have a great product, and you can benefit from it... just pay already and support them, so that they can continue to create more cool stuff. I understand that money is tight etc, but...if you are planning on running a business, treat it as such. You will need to make investments, keep a track of what you are testing, and actually give it a go, instead of running from one 'sure thing' then off to the next, and failing at everything - and then blaming the product owner for taking your money when you forget heat u signed up for. Man... What a joke!
   
Jul 26th 2010 at 2:48 PM by codybateman
You hit the nail on the head with this article! Lesson learned the hard way with Classmates.com Even though I eliminated all auto-renews in Paypal, "Classmates.com" never showed up on that list to begin with! One year later, I am being billed for auto-renew. So, I sign into Classmates and discover that, when the original payment was made - it included auto-renew without having to notify Paypal! The only way to avoid this is to manually drop the card information from your account as soon as you receive the product originally purchased. Great post!
   
Jul 24th 2010 at 9:37 AM by phylma
If I'm right about this, and I think I am, the FTC is cracking down on this practice. And it's about time. This underhanded dirty practice gives a bad name to all internet marketers. Good article
   
Jul 8th 2010 at 6:52 AM by tunnelrat
I would have to say that if someone 'tricks' you into a subscription, that is completely different from ordering a trial subscription. Trial means to try something, which would have to be a subscription purchase as opposed to a one-time purchase discount. Like Jon said, know what you're buying.
   
Jul 7th 2010 at 11:16 AM by trevonline
Great article,I am actually writing a ebook about this and other traps that WE,not just newbies fall into. One other thing which a lot of people dont realize is OTO offers are not nescisarily OTO's. A lot of times you can go to click of the page and you get a wait dont go yet get it for 10 bucks off. Ive saved heaps by doing this.LOL and not only that even if that doesnt happen you just go back and sign up with another user name and email address if you really want it LOL TREV ps Bringing some truth into advertising is one of my passions. "keep the b......s honest" as one of our politicians here in Australia once said
   
Jul 5th 2010 at 9:38 PM by webdesign
Nice article.
   
Jul 5th 2010 at 2:38 AM by thebananarepublican
Whenever the word 'free' has 'trial' after it, I simply close out the page. Problem solved.
   
Jul 4th 2010 at 1:33 PM by neilholmberg
I'm with Jon on this one. I can honestly say that I've never 'forgotten' about the end of a trial period and the impending billing because I always put a post-it on my monitor with a reminder to decide whether or not to cancel before the billing starts. And I, personally, have never encountered a credit-card processor (Paypal included) that did not clearly state the terms of the trial subscription right up front... maybe I've just been lucky so far? This doesn't just exist online either. Haven't you ever signed up for cable tv or internet service on a 'first month free' trial basis? Surely you weren't surprised at all when you got a bill the next month. It's the consumers responsibility to be clear about what they are signing up for.
   
Jul 4th 2010 at 12:41 PM by zeus8894
Yeah like Jon was saying. We have become a blame society, it's the other guy's fault when we don't read contracts and fine print. It's a dirty trick but only because of our lazy nature. Many of us don't fall for it because we take the time to cover our booty and read those terms of service etc...
   

Jul 4th 2010 at 12:31 PM by jonolson
Ya ummmm I don't agree with this at all bro. It's time PEOPLE are responsible for their own spending. Most of the trial offers I purchase I know that it will rebill and it's my responsibility to cancel it if I do not want to get charged. Calling it a dirty trick? I don't agree. Trial subscriptions have been around forever. When it is up to the individual to be RESPONSIBLE for their own finances? The fine print should be this....Don't buy something online unless you UNDERSTAND what it is.
   
Jul 4th 2010 at 10:45 AM by ronstone
yes very good i give it a 2 thumbs up
   
Jul 4th 2010 at 7:49 AM by lulubel
I think the important message here is to think before you sign up for something. Even if you're signing up for a free trial, if they ask for your payment details, they're going to bill you for something at some point in the future.
   
Jul 4th 2010 at 5:44 AM by bspates
I WOULD HALF TO AGREE WITH YOU ON THIS ONE MIKE GREAT ARTICLE , KEEP IT COMING.
   
Jul 3rd 2010 at 6:29 PM by duckydks
Nicely done article.
   
Jul 3rd 2010 at 5:16 PM by terri
You are absolutely right Mike..I have had it happen to me and as a result of it I cancelled my paypal account..Want nothing to do with these type of business people..I value Honest practices to the highest degree.There has been to much scheming going on in this business and it makes it hard on those that are in legitmate businesses.Thanks! for a great post.
   
Jul 3rd 2010 at 1:41 PM by ChuckBartok
Well stated, Mike. It seems to have become the Norm for a while, But I believe through the Power and Speed of Social Networking, some of those "Big Guys" had to fall Back. Transparency is still the finest way to stay in business. Been working for us for 50 years
   
Jul 3rd 2010 at 2:30 AM by 1youcantoo
great article
   

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