Breaking: FTC Files Lawsuit Against Companies Selling Fraudulent Autoship Programs Online

If you’ve ever looked up skin creams online, then you may have encountered free trial autoship programs. Earlier today, the FTC filed a lawsuit against the companies selling these autoship programs online, permanently barring them from using deceptive marketing and business practices.

Many of the marketers are based in California. The lawsuit specifically targets 29 marketers who sold Auravie, Dellure, LeOr Skincare, and Miracle Face Kit products online. These marketers are being ordered to surrender “virtually all of their assets to the FTC”, a total of over $2.7 million USD.

How These Autoship Programs Work

The FTC’s complaint also describes in detail how these marketing companies worked. Specifically, customers were offered a $4.95 “risk free trial”. Customers would enter their credit card information to pay that $4.95 fee. They would also automatically agree to the terms and conditions. Unfortunately, hidden in the fine print of the terms and conditions were additional payment requirements, often totaling $100 USD per month in additional fees.

This sent consumers into credit card trouble: many of them didn’t realize they were being automatically charged until weeks later. Making matters worse is that the fees would start just 10 days after the customer ordered the product – which would sometimes only be 2 to 3 days after the customer had initially received the product in the mail (if they had received it at all).

Customers who tried to cancel or return the product were often told it was too late, which meant there was no way to avoid the high fees and charges.

Even in situations where customers were allowed to refund the money, they would often be asked to pay a hefty restocking fee.

In any case, the FTC took note of the problem and has acted strongly against the offenders.

The FTC’s Explains How to Avoid Scams Like This in the Future

The FTC has targeted 29 marketers running these online scams. However, there are thousands more scam artists out there. As part of their public warning, the FTC issued some recommendations to help you avoid these scams in the future:

— Before you buy any “free trial” product online, be sure to Google search the word “[product] scam” to see what other people have to say about it. If the first bunch of results are complaints about a scam, then you should probably avoid that product.

— Read the terms and conditions of any offer before you sign up. If you want to be extra cautious, tap Ctrl+F (or search the document) and look for keywords like “dollars” “$” or “trial”.

— Watch for pre-checked boxes on any ordering form, and make sure you know what each of those checked boxes represents.

— If you have a problem, or if you’ve already signed up for a fraudulent free trial offer, contact your credit card immediately. You may need to be persistent, explains the FTC. If you still have a problem, you’ll need to contact FTC.gov.

Ultimately, free trial autoship scams are nothing new. They’ve been around for years. Follow the tips listed above and be smart about your online purchases. Never buy anything without Googling the name first.

9 COMMENTS

  1. LUMANERE Skin Products is a SCAM!! I ordered a free sample and paid $3.87 for shipping in Feb. 2017. They ended up taking 45.00 out of my bank account, and never even sent another package. While trying to get my money back March came around and they took another 45.00 out. After constant calls they refunded that money and said my account was cancelled. April came along and again 45.00 taken out and they sent me a package. I refused the package and kept the tracking number. They received the package back on April 17th and now refuse to refund that money. I figured when they said my account was cancelled it wouldn’t happen again so i didn’t cancel out my bank card. I did cancel it today however. These people are scammers and should be shut down immediately, this is not acceptable. My next step is to call the Police in their area and spend my days plastering all over social media how LUMANERE is a SCAM and RIPOFF!!

  2. Scam! Dermatensif and Max Renewal Offered a free sample of each and charge was /4.95 and 5.95 with NO OTHER CHARGES being removed from your accounts! BUT!!! Alas at 15 days, they charged me $84.95 and $89.73 out of my account! I called right away and after a LONG wait they tried to give me only a 50% refund. That was not happening so I kept at it and finally a full refund was promised within 7 bus days. We’ll see. Hoping for the best. Did tell them about the FTC Lawsuit pending and that seemed to be the ticket to getting the full refund.
    A lesson learned!!!

  3. I orderd Lxderma anti wrinkle eye and Luxderma antiaging face…they also charged my card autoship. I did not see it so when a shipment from them came at a very high price I called and cancelled. they try to get you to keep getting it, offering lower and lower prices. I said no. the next month it came again…I flipped. I called and after a song and dance they cancelled again…I wanted to send it back but they would not accept it…I told them it was unopened yet still they said no….I dropped it finally…..this time it stayed cancelled

    Fast Forward. I tried a “new” eye and face cream called Skin Contour Cream and Eye Contour cream..it arrived quickly. I opened it and found…it is the EXACT SAME product (Luxderma) in same exact bottles, just different shrink wrap packaging…it feels the same, smells the same….and the packing slip that comes in the box is exactly the same one that comes with the Luxderma, with just a product name change!!!!
    I immediately called the numbers to cancel…of course they tried the exact same speal to try to get me to keep it….went through a whole thing…25% off…50% off…then even the employee discount price of 75% off!!! Never once denying it was the same product…they definitely didn’t touch that…
    finally got cancellation confirmation numbers…will not do a wait and see if they really cancelled.
    STAY AWAY FROM THESE COMPANIES!!! They are out of California….they are scammers!!!

  4. I RECEIVED ELYSIAN IN THE MAIL AND NEED TO SPEAK TO THEM SO PLEASE SEND ME THEIR TELEPHONE NUMBER.

    MUCH THANKS,
    CATHY

  5. I ordered skin balance and advanced skin serum. Both automatically charged my credit card and autosipped product. The credit card company assisted in attempting to stop the subscription asking for email confirmation. I received email confirmation cancelling it. Yet I called the next day to ensure cancellation and it was still active. I requested cancellation again. The products and customer service is horrible. Caution do not order samples as that is just a scam. I have been scammed by skin balance and advanced skin companies. They also hung up on the credit card company and my conversation. Stay away from these products

  6. I ordered the free trail from Qu Genix RX skin cream just pay the shipping $4.95 and it didn’t say anything about a reoccurring order and a month later they debited $200 dollars from my account . When i called them they canceled my order and only gave me half of my money back! So please be aware of Qu Genix RX free trial offer its a Scam!!!

  7. I was told the same on one product but they never sent the email, only gave a confirmation number over phone. They also refuse to give the owner and company info. They also initially threaten that they would turn me over to collections and credit reporting agencies for having Chase bank stop payment. Chase reported it as Fraud and declined payment. I suggest calling them several times, you will get different operators, so that one of them may give you the proper info you seek. That is the only way I finally found out an email address to email them requesting owner name business lic etc, and I bombarded their email, They finally canceled it so they say over the phone. These are scams as they do not place any of the terms in their ad. The order form web page I submitted payment on did not have any link or anything stating the terms.

    • Please offer the email as my wife was scammed this week. On the 15th day they charged her. Exact scenario happened to a friend of mine’s wife, two weeks ago. Appreciate your input!

  8. I ordered skin refresh. When I called to cancel my autoship I was told I would get a e-mail conformation, I didn’t so called again and was told yes I would get a e-mail cancellation conformation never did. I try to e-mail them but the address say they can’t be delivered. How do I get legit e-mail address? This is driving me nuts. Now when you google skin refresh it comes up looking the same till you hit the order request then it brings up Coal Cosmetic Please help me get a e-mail address

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