Be cautious with free trials that turn into paid subscriptions
Q: I am being charged for a service I did not subscribe to by TGL Shopper. The order was placed on my Chase credit card.
I paid these charges inadvertently without looking to see what they were for. They were being made every month, so I checked further and wrote to Chase, as well as TGL's customer service center.
I found out I was being charged for something I didn't order. I asked for a full refund, but didn't receive any response.
Thank you for your assistance.
A: TGL is a corporation known as Trilegiant, a membership-based provider of travel, shopping, health, dental, entertainment and consumer-protection services.
James Hart, senior vice president of communications and brand for Trilegiant, responded to your complaint with assurance of a full refund to your Chase credit card. A full cancellation of membership would prevent future charges, he said.
Hart said his records "indicate Mrs. Callahan was enrolled into these memberships after completing a telephone purchase made via an automated ordering system." Enrollment materials were mailed, he added, including a description of the program's full benefits and terms of the trial period. Membership fees were charged when the trial period expired.
Hart remarked that you went through a series of questions after your initial purchase that resulted in the trial period enrollment.
"A caller will not be enrolled unless he or she again presses the appropriate number at the appropriate time to accept the trial offer; our records indicate Mrs. Callahan's acceptance of the trial through this confirmation system," Hart says.
Trilegiant has a past that includes two class action lawsuits, both of which required the corporation to pay back fraudulent charges to class members. The most recent lawsuit, Penderson v. Trilegiant Corp., "claims that Trilegiant enrolls consumers in membership programs through deceptive or unfair means, and places membership charges on consumers' credit or debit cards, bank accounts, telephone bills or home mortgage accounts without proper authorization or consent."
The Fairness Hearing, held on July 18, 2008, established that Trilegiant was responsible to make settlement payments to class members. Trilegiant agreed to pay up to $25 million for all valid claims that class members submitted as a part of the settlement.
JP Morgan Chase & Co. is one of Trilegiant's marketing partners, which is most likely how you got referred to the company. Trilegiant's marketing partners link their own customers with the membership program through many means, including providing customer lists or other information concerning prospective sales leads.
It is easy to get into trials that can turn into paid memberships, so be sure you don't agree to anything before fully understanding the terms. It's as easy as pressing 1, 2, 3, and then you're out $15 a month.