One of the people I follow in twitter (or did follow!) keeps tweeting ads that look like this:
SECRET: White Teeth Trick! Dentists don’t want you to know about THIS teeth whitening secret!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a bit of a white tooth problem, so I thought I’d check into this to see if I could get my teeth whitened for the cost of a handful of chocolate.
So I clicked through to the link in the tweet and read the story about how a mom found a trick to whiten her teeth without a trip to the dentist. According to this site, which is setup like a news page, by the way:
Karen recently discovered a clever way of combining two different teeth whitening product trials from two different companies–Ever Brite and Celebrity White Teeth–to get one full “super” whitening, comparable to what you might attain at a local dentist for $400 or more, using nothing but trial offers and paying just a few dollars in shipping charges.
The site goes on to say that the mom in question, Karen, only paid less than $4 for her products.
So I clicked through to the two pages linked above and, naturally, started reading the fine print. That’s when I discovered that this is a negative option scheme.
Negative option scheme? What’s that?
First of all, the FTC really frowns on negative option schemes now.
Second, the terms of service on the Everbrite site clearly state that you have to call or email the company within 10 days in order to cancel your order, or you’ll be billed for the full price of the product. And if you forget to call them and cancel your order, they will bill you for the trial product.
And that’s not all. After billing you for the trial product, they’ll start sending you a new order every 30 days and automatically bill you $89.97. Again you have to call or email to cancel the automated orders and billing.
This trial sounds like a lot of work, particularly if the company isn’t too quick to answer calls or respond to emails.
Now let’s take a look at the celebrity product.
According to their terms of service, when you order your free trial, you are actually signing up for their membership program.
If you do not cancel within fourteen (14) days of the date that you enroll in the Program, we will charge the same card you provided at
enrollment the non-refundable one-year membership fee of $149.95 (“Membership Fee”). Then, beginning about thirty-two (32) days after we charge the Membership Fee to your card and every thirty (30) days thereafter, we will send you a fresh monthly shipment of the product and charge your card $12.95 (“Monthly Charge”) when each supply ships.
The celebrity site is going to charge you an annual fee of $149.95 (automatically, every year) AND a $12.95 monthly fee for a 30-day supply of the product.
Those are some awfully expensive trials.
My advice: Pass these up. It’ll be cheaper to pick up a couple tooth whitening products at Wal-Mart than to fiddle with these so-called free trials.