Free trial offers sound great, but make sure you educate yourself before signing up.

A common practice currently seen in the marketplace is using the “free trial” method to sell products. This allows a potential customer to preview a product at no charge with the idea that the product will sell itself and the participant will end up purchasing the product.

There are offers that have no strings attached. However, the Ulster County District Attorney’s Division of Consumer Affairs advises caution before proceeding.

Always check out the company first. Be clear as to when your free trial starts and ends. Make sure to be aware of the company’s policies for sending items back (how to properly send it and who pays for the shipping).

Know exactly what you will be charged if you decide to keep the product. Always find out if your acceptance of the product at the end of the free trial automatically puts you on continuity or auto-ship plan.

Consumer Affairs can be reached at 340-3260.

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