Southport residents are being warned to steer clear of free trial offers for cosmetics that pop up as adverts on their computers.

Trading Standards officers have received a number of complaints about the practice and are asking residents to either ignore the pop ups or check the small print carefully before signing up.

The advert for a free trial will appear to only ask customers to pay for the postage & packing for a small fee like £2.99. It then states that if you feel that the product is not right for you then you have the right to cancel within 14 days from the date of ordering and return the product.

However, the terms and conditions contained in the small print state that by placing an order for the free trial you will be entering into a contract for an ‘auto shipment’ program.

This means that people will then receive a regular delivery of a 30 day supply of the products at a cost of up to £79.99 per month.

Andrew Naisbitt, Sefton Council’s Trading Standards Manager, said: “This a clever but simple scam which sadly people are falling for.

“If you do not cancel within the initial 14 day period, 45 days after you start your free trial and then every 30 days thereafter, you will be sent a fresh 30 day supply of the product at a monthly charge of up to £79.99.

“So, in other words, unless you read the small print, your ‘free’ trial may cost you around £80 per month! Please don’t fall for this and always read the small print before agreeing to anything.”

For help and advice on all consumer issues, call Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506

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