3 Ways To Prevent Free Trials From Costing You Money

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Free trials are practically everywhere.

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Free trials exist for a large number of products and services.

In reality, they can be great for testing out a service and getting an idea of whether or not you would use them enough to justify paying for them.

They are also great ways to get something you need at no cost (as in the case of the free credit score offers).

Be very careful though, since the drawback to free trials is that they can bite you in the wallet.

How Free Trials Cost You Money

Caucasian woman entering her credit card info for a free trial on a laptop in a coffee shop
One of the ways free trials become “gotcha” situations is when they require you to give your bank or credit card info to get the freebie.

These types of offers are rampant among rewards sites as well as various other sites and direct email campaigns.

The companies invite you to take a free trial of their services for a set amount of time–usually from 7 days to one month–in exchange for you registering and providing a credit card.

Sometimes you have to pay a $1 registration fee to take advantage, which isn’t really so bad in relation to the rewards you can earn for doing so, in addition to having access to the service for this trial period.

But at the same time, there is a caveat included which normally states that if you do not cancel the free trial before the predetermined expiration date, your card will be charged a recurring monthly fee until you finally do cancel.

What’s worse is, if you are the type that isn’t diligent about going through your bank or credit card statements, it may be quite some time before you even realize that you have been charged these amounts.

Additionally, service providers will not be very accommodating about giving your money back since they provide a disclaimer about what happens when the trial period is over, putting the burden on you to make sure you stop the service before getting charged.

There are a few ways to avoid getting caught in their trap.

Don’t Sign Up For Free Trials At All

Many of these offers are designed to entice you to join their service, but by expressly stating that the trial will automatically convert to a paid plan, these companies are hoping that some of the people who accept will indeed forget to cancel.

What can be better for them than to have someone paying for a service without that service actually being used?

The remedy here is easy as pie; if you don’t take the chance of forgetting about the conversion to a paying plan you will never have to worry about it!

Cancel Free trials As Soon As You Sign Up

As soon as you sign up for a free trial offer, go to the help/FAQ page and fill out the cancellation form.

Many of the companies will make you call their “customer service” number which is simply another way to say pushy salespeople department in order to terminate the free trial.

All you need to do is tell them that you aren’t interested in anything they have to say or offer you and that you simply want to cancel.

Since many services will continue through the entire term, regardless of when you cancel, it ensures that you will be able to take full advantage without worrying about having to pay anything later.

Just remember to get the cancellation confirmation number just in case they screw up and end up charging you anyway.

Set A Calendar Alert To Cancel Free Trials

Circling the date on a calendar in red marker as a reminder to cancel free trials.
Making a calendar reminder to cancel any free trials you sign up for will greatly help to prevent unnecessary spending!

Not all free trials let you quit while still allowing you to use the remaining term.

Sometimes when you cancel free trials, you lose access to that product or service immediately.

Netflix, when it had 30-day free trials, operated this way.

If you want to use the entire trial period but still want to make sure you get out before you pay, there’s a simple trick.

All you have to do is set a calendar alert to go off the day before the trial period is set to end.

That way, you get the maximum and you won’t forget to cancel!

If you don’t use a calendar app on your phone or computer, and who doesn’t these days, leave a bunch of sticky notes all over the place to remind yourself.

Wrapping Up

Like most tools, these free trials can be very useful if used properly.

They are another option in your financial toolbelt–allowing you to test products or services without having to pay.

When there are many competitors for your money, it’s great to not have to pay for multiple parallel products/services to figure out which best suits your needs.

All you have to do is plan accordingly and you won’t ever have to worry about being burned by these programs…

For the first time or ever again!

Your Turn

Have you ever taken advantage of such offers before? Have you been a victim of your own forgetfulness and ended up getting charged for free trials? Has anyone been successful in getting multiple months of unwanted charges removed?


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