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.

45 COMMENTS

  1. Shame on you Arlene Dickinson! I hope you lose your millions of dollars you invested the same way this company scammed hundreds of dollars from poor working class individuals. The call centre refuses to listen, refers you back to the fine print! We have left many messages to have a supervisor call me back but to no avail. Advanced Skin Cream… stay away from this company and their representatives. They will scam you and steal your money.

    • Write to bbb and file complaint. Your credit card or bank should have a complaint department. Use that too. My bank gave me a provisional refund pending reply from company. And we already know there will be no reply.

    • don’t buy. It’s a scam. I was told for calypso revitalizing moisturizer & the eye serum $4.95 plus $2.90.
      they said this was a trial! But guess what ,today their was another charge of $89.69.
      I called & they gave me the run around, but I persisted & finally I was told ok they will give me the full amount back on my bank account. Well we will see.

  2. I ordered the Allumiere & Niuvella trial product $4.95 trial pay for shipping. Was told delivery due to me May 25,2017. Waited 2 more days not received called them they made some excuse about UPS and they will extended my trial to June 19,2017. But I used a prepaid card with just $10 on it. So after calling I received both products 3 days after calling. Used it right away for 7day it broke my colored African American skin out. Called told them they wanted me to pay to have product sent back or they will charge me full amount. Well my question is what are they gonna charge when I used a prepaid card which I have no plans on reloading nor am I gonna pay to send it back when they have my shipping money on both products. Well it’s all a SCAM. I’m not Huliofulio ok. Don’t use your bank cards pay by prepaid if you just wanna try this. So I consider it all a lost. And I gotta tiny bumps on my skin and go to dermatologist to clear this up. Also after using product I didn’t notice any results per there advertisement. This is a scam do not order.

  3. We I guess I’ve joined the rest of you on scams. I got a pop-up screen when I went to my RCI vacation account, stating because I was an RCI member that I qualified for free product. Not a sample mind you. Later I found out that RCI said they didn’t know about this pop-up. I got to pick, so I clicked on the skin care. I had put my shipping information in, but when it wanted my credit card information, I closed it out and didn’t proceed any further. The next day I get a call from the supposedly revitalizing skincare therapy company (No where can you find this company) wanting to know why I didn’t finish my order. I told him it was because I didn’t want them to charge my account for something I didn’t want anyway. I only clicked on it because it said free. Per a 20 minute conversation about these free trial products on how they would charge your account, Again and again I was told that would not happen,I was promised again and again that wouldn’t happen, the customer service representative goes on to offer me the full size for free. I repeated several times, supposedly on a recorded line that I did not want my Credit card charged. I finally agreed to have them ship me the product and paid for the shipping. 14 days later, my Credit card was charged. When I called on the charge, they proceeded to tell me that said I agreed to the terms and that they were sent to me in an email, lies, I did not get the terms. Then the supervisor said maybe it went to my spam, lies again. I was only given a 75% refund on the revitalizing cream and AM cream promising not to pursue any further action and that I agreed to the terms or no refund. One person said they do a recall of the recorded call, another said no. I really don’t know what they say is true or false. I guess 75% is better than nothing, I really want to slam them in the media. They said they would take it to corporate and have the recorded call reviewed again one person said the would and another said they did. Really don’t know, we’ll see. I hope my comments, can save someone from this hassle. I only wish I was able to read it prior to losing my money. What makes it even sader is I’ve had severe eye problems only using the product for 3 days.

  4. It’s a scam and false advertisement. I ordered the moisturizer and eye cream at 4.99 each plus 1.99 shipping. One week later they charged my credit card $87 for the moisturizer and $89.75 for the eye cream although that I called right after ordering to make sure that there will be no recurring charges and I don’t want my credit card to be charged for any future orders. The rep. Assured me that the charges are a one time thing as long as I cancel it, which I did but they refuse to refund me all my charges. Instead they refunded 50% of one item and 75% of the second..so I ended up paying a total of almost $ 85 in total.
    the rep. Had the guts to ask me how did the products worked for me. I mean you can get the same quality from Olay for less than $30..
    Shame on them to use Ellen Degeneres name to trick people. We work hard for our money unlike them unfortunately.

  5. Active + also a scam I was meant to pay $4.95 shipping for a free sample only. I have been charged $135.00 as a single mum this hurts. So mad at myself for being stupid. I have cancelled my card.

  6. I ordered a product called Vlamorus from an online ad purported to be by Joanna Gaines. I only ordered because I trusted Joanna Gaines. I now believe she has nothing to do with this product. Same old story – no mention of having to return the product or respond within so many days. Subsequently my credit card was hit with a charge of $97.83. A telephone call to Beaunifique.com who had mailed the “free” sample and charged $3.99 as agreed got no headway in getting a refund. I’m not sure the people I talked to were even in this country. I have filed a “disputed charge” with my credit card company, who said they see these every day – some get resolved in the card holders favor – some not. Beware, Beware – this outfit is an unscrupulous SCAM. I am never going to buy anything over the internet again, unless it’s from Amazon.

  7. I ordered a “free” trial for 3.99 for a product called Vlamorus which was stated to be a product by Joanna Gaines.
    The only reason I ordered was because I trusted Joanna Gaines. Don’t think she has anything to do with it.
    Again, nowhere was there mention of returning or responding in so many days or being charged. My credit
    card was subsequently charged – to my surprise – $97.83. I talked to 2 men at their telephone number who
    simply refused to refund to my credit card. I felt like I was talking to someone not in this country. I have
    filed a “disputed charge” with my credit card company. They told me they see this every day, some win the dispute and some not. Beware – Beware. From now on I’m not ordering a thing on the Internet!!

  8. Definitely a scam, I ordered the sample for Anti Wrinkle Serum. It started with the site about Dragon Den’s where the 2 sisters (see below) so be careful.
    ”Two genius sisters, Angela and Yoojim Kim, became the first Entrepreneurs to nearly DESTROY The Dragons Den. Arlene Dickinson loved their skincare company so much she sack $10.5 million dollars into it. The other Dragons wanted a stake in the company, but Arlene wanted this business all to herself. As a result, they other Dragons were outraged.”

    I got the anti wrinkle but it’s not the right one it’s called Advance Skin Anti Wrinkle Serum and a skin balance cream. I paid for the shipping of these samples $4.95 each. After a couple of weeks I got a charged on my credit card of $198.00 Canadian, I called the phone on the credit card but they said that I subscribed for future shipping, I told them I don’t even remember seeing a fine print saying that if I do not call in 15 days that I agree and automatically a subscriber I asked for refund but they are not listening and trying to offer discounts. I cancelled my credit card just to make sure no charges again in future. Until now I have not received the shipment for the $198.00 maybe this payment is for the sample. Lesson learned the hard way.

  9. MY CREDIT CARD SERVER TOLD ME TO NEVER NEVER FALL FOR THESE SCAMMERS.I FELL FOR ANOTHER ONE THIS WEEK,I GUESS I WILL NEVER LEARN.ALTHOUGH THIS ONE CHARGED ME BEFORE THEY SENT ME THE CREAM AND IT IS NOT ON AUTO-FILL.WHEN IT COMES IN I CERTAINLY WILL TRY IT AND IF IT IS A SCAM I CERTAINLY WILL RETURN AND DEMAND MY MONEY BACK BUT MY CC SERVER WILL BE UPSET WITH ME.BEING A COSMETOLOGIST I SHOULD KNOW BY NOW THAT NO CREAM WILL VANISH WRINKLES.I AM HAPPY THAT I CAN FILE A LAWSUIT BUT BETTER THAN THAT CALL YOUR ATTORNEY GENERAL.I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED ON THIS PRODUCT THAT I FELL FOR THIS WEEK.

  10. This is the biggest scam EVER!! Please don’t order any products from this organisation. I tried to get my money back and they requested the last 3 digits of my credit card to supposedly transfer the money to my card. How do one stop them from these fraudulent practices? My bank is now investigating the matter further.

  11. Yes, my wife also got scammed on such skin care products from ad on facebook.com, the order only shows for trial of $9, but hidden deceptive monthly shows up later. The products are Illuminate skin and Eloquncey.

  12. DO NOT BUY iLLIUM SKIN CREAM , THEY USED OPRAH NAME THEY ARE SCAM FIRS THEY SELL 4.95 AND LATER BILL TO MY CREDIT CARD 95.00 PEASE DO NO BUY THEY A SCAMS

  13. after reading, I am so ashamed I fell for this scam… I honestly thought I was paying for a sample product of pure obsession and then I look at my card and see two! yes two charges for 80.00 I am so upset and I called to cancel and they said yes I acknowledged in the disclaimer???? what it asked if I was 18 years or older… SCAM SCAM and the darn product works like crap!! they wouldn’t even send me anything showing this “disclaimer” that i agreed to! please please don’t fall for this!!! Pure Obsession is junk! i will gladly send you my 176.00 worth of useless samples to prove it!

  14. I too have been scammed with illugen I cream and Julien skin care. I thought I was getting 1 skin care and all of a sudden I get eye cream as well. They send confirmation but nothing else. I remember unchexking to save credit card because I did not want anything g else. Everything was so fast that you could not read. I have called to cancel, also had to cancel credit card and issue fraud on my cc. Not a happy camper , mainly because I am usually very good at looking for scams, but I thought this was a product joa na Gaines promoting.

  15. Same scam different product labels. Mine was “eye contour advanced eye serum”. Deceptive marketing and fraudulent ordering practices are this companies forte. None of the models on their website are real. Contact your credit card company to negotiate your way out of this and change your card so they won’t use it again.

  16. I ordered the Nutella trial then I notice when I got my bill in it was a charge of $163.00. I called them and was told I agreed to it. I wanted them to provide where I agreed and nothing has happened. I am phoning them back tomorrow for sure after I read this. If some one can tell me to contact to get my money back please email me. Thanks

  17. I ordered Allusiv free trial 4.95 shipping for the cream and eye cream. Same thing next thing i knew i had charges on my card for 89.95 a piece and only had the product for 10 days the FTC is saying that these are all scams please dont fall for it

  18. Add Youth Renu products to this scam scenario. What a shame that we live in a world where creative people create ways to do unethical things.

  19. Derma Devine is a scam. They offer risk free trial, never divulging the actual price of the product. The customer service people are aggressive and I fought with them to discount the 100.00 they charged me for something I had not received yet. They pulled every trick in the book on the phone. PREDETORY PRACTICE, BEWARE!!!!!

  20. This is a scam. I thought I was getting a sample of the Rapid Ageless Serum and the Choice eyecream. Then I see charges on my credit card. One charge for $89.73 and 1 for $88.78. The products are terrible. The Ageless Serum feels like glue and if you attempt to put makeup on over the top of the stuff (I refuse to call it moisturizer) the stuff comes off. You would be better off just to buy face mask and put your makeup on over that. The eye cream wasn’t even as good as Wal-marts $5 stuff. I saw this on Shark Tank and now I know why they call themselves sharks.

  21. Pure Divine is another scam! My credit card was charged $94.90 just 1 week after I got the stuff. A) it doesn’t work and B) I never did see the “full disclosure” about 14 days free trial and then you are on the books for a monthly shipment!! Also the eye cream that comes with it….again a charge for >$80!!!
    Never, ever again will I go for a “free trial” of anything!

  22. Do not buy this. It didn’t work. They say you pay a low price then bill you an outrageous amount. I wouldn’t mind paying if it worked. This should be banned and shark tank should be ashamed.

    • Hi Shark tank from what I understand are not part or this scam … they are using their site …I am dealing with the same scam… however I had an email to say that this cream had been shipped on the 15th and 16th of April 2017.. I sent an email to cancel my order that was on the 26th April 2017..
      I noticed on the 29th April a charge of approx $149 had gone through and there is another charge supposed to go through on the 3rd May .. I talked to the company and got the complete runaround .. I was told I can get 30%back and no more .. I told them I wanted 100% as I had followed the instructions .. they told me over and over the policy says … I asked to talk to a supervisor and was told there were not any and I would get a call back in 24 hours .. and you guessed it no call back .., I called back today and was given the same runaround and the supervisor was too busy to talk .. I would get a callback in 24-48 business hours ..
      I have cancelled my debit card and will start a complaint with my bank .. for an unauthorized payment .. I’ve also got a call in with CBC news and am to send them an email .. there are approx 300 complaints on the rejuvalogic Facebook page .. be careful this is a SCAM

  23. I am currently dealing with the same scam with a product marketed under Chantel St Claire. After my initial complaint I was offered a $30.00 refund on a $99.95 credit card charge if I responded “I agree” to their email outlining their terms. I declined. I am still pursuing the matter.

  24. YGS (Young Girl Skin) & BML Adorn Age Refresh both charges to account $4,95 & $4.89 billed as one total but charged as 2 separate items and invoiced as NOVI!! Then the big charges came $99.99 and $89.99. Called
    but YGS said “No Record of Customer” but received cancellation of order next day. No refund as “not a customer” except fpr the charge to account. BML offered 35% refund..NOT! Has not cancellled. SCAM. On the NOVI invoice was a statement “SUBSCRIPTION” Guess that meant it was OK to abuse my credit card. Of the 3 different employees including a manager NONE could tell me where the company HQ was. It’s Georgia. Filing a complaint with Georgia Atty General next.

    • Lori, I did the same things as you mentioned, neither did I see a “charge” for after you get the product, and I was took for $89.00. I did try and cancel through the phone number for support and nothing, nada. Lines were always busy and I waited long enough that I called early one morning and actually spoke to a real person,, a man,, I told him the story of free trial and no where did it mention anything about monthly payments,, he went on to say,, yeah it’s in the terms and conditions, which was not listed either. I actually found this product on a survey that I take on a weekly basis. I, Like you,, “never again” Thanks for sharing your story,

  25. 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!!

  26. 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!!!

  27. 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!!!

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

    MUCH THANKS,
    CATHY

  29. 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

  30. 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!!!

  31. 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!

  32. 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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here