Facebook is filled with ads for beauty products, some of them promising free samples of wrinkle cream and other items.
But before you sign up, you may want to know what happened to one woman who ordered a sample, and is now dealing with multiple credit card charges from a mystery company she cannot find.
Free Samples, Just Pay Shipping
Peggy Moser spotted a Facebook ad for free beauty cream samples, and thought it might be worth trying. "It said would you like to receive samples of high end beauty products, example, Estee Lauder, Lancome, etcetera," she said.
All she had to do was give a credit card for shipping.
"It told me send $4.95 postage and handling, with no strings attached," she said. "Nothing to buy."
But two weeks later, she says, instead of name brands, she received a jar of something called "Nouveau Serum" and "Tranquille Eye Cream."
She was confused. "There seems to be no such brand," she said. "I researched it online, there is no company that seems to makes it."
But that was nothing. The worst part was the $89 bill that showed up on her credit card two weeks later.
She never saw the fine print, deep in the product's website, stating that if she didn't return the products in 14 days, she agreed to a recurring monthly fee of $89.
Who Are They?
Moser tried to find out what company was behind these companies and creams. But neither the jars nor the shopping box gave any clue, with just a Post Office box in Santa Ana, CA on the label.
So she called. "I asked him where they were located, and the only answer he gave me was 'customer service'. And I said 'customer service where?' He said 'in customer service!'"
Not knowing the specific ingredients, or where it was made, Moser says "I'm not using it. I don't know what's in there, I have no idea!"
Moser is now disputing the charge through her credit card, asking for them to refund her the $89 charge, and block any additional charges.
We Look for Company
We tried to call the company, based on several of the phone numbers they list online, to ask who they were, and why there are so many complaints posted online about $89 recurring charges for a "free" sample.
However, a customer service rep wouldn't give us any info about what company she worked for. She asked what company we were calling about, as if she represented many different business.
And she explained all she could do was give us a Post Office Box to write to if we would like more information.
We were also unable to find any Better Business Bureau report on this mysterious company. A "Whois" search of their various domain names came up with several websites registered in 2015, but that "the owner of the website is using a service to hide their identity."
So the mystery cosmetics company remains just that, as complaints pile up online about $89 recurring charges to women all over the US who thought they were ordering a free trail.
There's a good lesson here about all free trial offers, especially if they pop up on Facebook, so you don't waste your money.