Beware of ‘Miracle Cures’
The OFT is aware of a surge in the number of on-line companies offering “anti-wrinkle” creams or serum which claim to make people ‘look younger instantly’ and promise ‘clinically proven results’.
Products such as Perfect Radiance, Revitaderm, Rejuvanew, Revitalise and Rejuvanex are offered on a ‘free trial’. The only obvious charge is £4.95 for post and packaging. But unfortunately these offers are not all that they seem.
The Office has recently been contacted by consumers who signed up for these types of ‘trial’. The consumers pay for postage and packing using a credit or debit card. However, the trial is for a specific time only and, if it is not cancelled during the specified period, consumers are then charged the full amount for the product which is usually in excess of £70. Some consumers have even found that they have inadvertently signed up to an ongoing ‘subscription’ of £70 plus per month.
Numerous websites and ‘pop-up’ adverts including www.perfect-radiance.net, www.perfect-radiance.com, www.revita-derm.net, www.revita-derm.com and www.rejuvanex.com are used. Terms and conditions setting out a consumers obligation if they sign up to the trial can be found on the websites but the link to access them is difficult to spot.
Although legitimate companies do sell genuine products via the internet it is important to make checks on the company before agreeing to purchase goods or enter into any ‘trials’:
- Look for terms and conditions on the company website before requesting samples or trials;
- Look for full contact details, including a telephone number and business addresses rather than just mobile numbers or PO boxes;
- Put the company's name into an internet search engine to see what you can find out but don't be fooled by professional-looking websites as scammers are good at making their scams look authentic;
- If the company purports to be based in the UK, check with Companies House (www.companieshouse.gov.uk) to make sure that it is correctly registered;
- Do not provide any financial details until you have taken the above steps and have decided to proceed with any samples or trials - in particular your credit or debit card details as these transactions can be difficult to cancel with your bank;
- Consider discussing the product with friends or relatives to see if they have heard of the company or have had experience of them. The Office of Fair Trading can also offer useful guidance by contacting them on 686500.