Internet companies are popping up everywhere, and half of them are fly-by-night. Many of these fly by night companies set up nefarious billing schemes (although auto-ship products aren’t ALL scams) and as soon as they get ‘outed’ they immediately rebrand their product and start again. Other internet companies may sell products that do not meet quality standards. Sometimes the quality standards are far below expected due to the fact companies can operate internationally shipping out cheap knock off products from Singapore. Even though we live in a more regulated internet, there are still plenty of scammy companies — here are five signs to look out for.
Order Pages That Offer Free Trials
Almost all free trial products are not actually free trials. That doesn’t mean that it’s a scam per say, but you should never order a free trial product with a credit card and not expect a future charge. Remember, a common idiom in life is that nothing is ever free, and why would it be? Would companies benefit by giving away products for free? Not usually. On almost every free trial product, during the order process, scroll all the way to the bottom of the ‘checkout’ page. Companies are usually required legally to list the terms of the product order on the page, but they usually hide it at the bottom. You will often find that at the bottom of the checkout page they will list that you will be rebilled or billed the total amount after a certain time frame, usually a week or thirty days. Always check the terms before ordering a product or you might be nailed for a charge you weren’t expecting.
Check For A Company Address And Phone Number
Often when we order products, we streamline right through the process. We assume that the business has a publically listed address and phone number, but it’s not always the case. Check the companies contact or about page and make sure they have a publically listed address and phone number. Businesses that do NOT list their phone number or address are usually trying to avoid accountability. This means that they are making it difficult on purpose to cancel orders or to request a refund. Also, If you want to be extra cautious, before ordering calling their phone number and make sure someone picks up. Sometimes companies have a phone number listed, but they never answer, effectively making the phone number useless.
Look At Credible Third Part Review Sites
Many times when you Google a company or product you will find several review sites on the first page. However, not all of these review sites are credible. Look for review sites that are regulated by moderators and require verified purchases of the product such as Amazon. Other good review sites are Google Places, Yelp, large retailers such as Best Buy and eBay. Also, if you find a large variety of 5-star and 1-star reviews with very few in the middle (3-star, 4-star), there’s a good chance that many of the positive reviews may be fake and purchased by the company to improve their reputation.
Beware Of Overhype
Although this point is similar to point three, watch out for overhyped products. Overhype means products that are making claims to do some incredible things. Such as a weight loss product claiming that you will lose 5 pounds overnight without any work. Although some products may have great results, very few of them offer ‘miraculous’ results. The only reason companies suggest such ‘miraculous’ results is a marketing ploy to make more sales, nothing more nothing less.
Ask If The Product Is Sold In Stores
Many internet companies sell products online only and that’s perfectly reasonable. However, if a company sells their products in at least some stores — that’s a good sign it’s not a complete scam. Not only can you purchase the product in the store and prevent being put on a re-bill program, but the store is essentially vouching for the credibility of the company. Most credible companies have their products in at least one store.
So there ya go’, 5 tips for evaluating if a company is a scam.