Unscrupulous marketers: Don't mess with this grandma...

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Don't mess with my mother. She is 87-years-old, lives alone and is sharp as a tack. So when she saw an ad on TV for Hydroxatone with a risk-free trial for only $9.95 for shipping and handling, she called them up.

She wanted her risk free trial. But she did not want their Auto-ship Beauty Program, a 60-day supply and monthly billings of $69.95. She thought she made her position clear, so she was shocked when her risk free sample arrived. One sample jar, a two-month supply and an invoice for $149.00. What happened to $9.95?

Interestingly, it said right on the invoice to call customer service with any questions BEFORE calling your credit card company. Is it possible other folks have also had an issue with Hydroxatone? Once you sign up for the "risk free" trial, they have your credit card number and can just keep billing away each month. It says on the website that you can cancel at any time but how many people don't even realize that they signed up?

Well, like I said, don't mess with my mother. She called the credit card company and canceled her card and then called Hydroxatone. She patiently explained that she did not want the two jars, would not pay the bill, and planned to report them to the Better Business Bureau.

The customer service staff at Hydroxatone assured my mom that she simply needed to send the jars back. "Fine," she responded, "Send me a postage paid box to send them."

"That is not our policy," they responded.

"Well, I don't care about your policy, I made it clear on the phone that I did not want to be in your program. I just wanted to try the sample," she said.

Long story short, there is no way that Hydroxatone will get another dime from my mother. But how many others have gotten duped and find that billings are on their card every month? I guess the old adage, "there is no free lunch" holds true. Be careful before you sign up for a "FREE" trial of anything. It is a common way to get access to your credit card.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. Order a copy of her book, Why Did I Marry You Anyway? and receive a FREE couples workbook.

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