Free My Foot!

The notification of a charge on my credit card got my attention. It was from a company with whom I had signed up for a free trial.

In irritated haste I checked my emails, and there it was: the notification announcing my month’s free trail was up and I would be charged 14.95 US Dollars. Which translated to the R260 debit on my credit card.

Oh no you don’t!

I went to their website where my sense of injustice ratcheted up a few notches when I saw the normal charge was 12 dollars and a special was on offer for 6 dollars! They, of course, charged me the premium rate.

I was annoyed. With myself because I know not to do this. That these deals are usually cons. But mainly, I was annoyed with the concern.

Where is the ethic, the morality of this action? Surely it is a simple matter, in amongst the myriad mind numbing emails they send to you about their product each and every day, to simply inform you your trial is ending, ask if you have enjoyed the service, and would you like to now become a fully paid up member? It is respectful of my rights, it gives their company a tick, and it’s the right way to do business!

I found the contact space, sent the message. Very sorry to lose me they are, will of course reverse the charge, but please note it will take five or six days to reflect in my account. Insult upon injury!

I got involved in a discussion a couple of years ago about the merits of dating sites. I am part of a single ladies’ group and it was cause for much hilarity, resulting in most of us rushing to our laptops to check out various sites. Here again, the ethics of the companies offering these services is off centre. Free, they all shout. So in you go, find someone who could be a match. At which point you are directed to the accounts page listing all the payment options.

Why not simply list your charges on your home page and give your potential customers the option to decide if they can afford your fees, want to afford your fees. Why the subterfuge? Why is it so hard for these companies to be upfront and honest about what they are doing?

Free, my foot! Free as in bound, as a friend of mine once described this fallacy.

Apart from the deviousness, I feel it is an infringement on my rights and my intelligence but I guess because it works for them which is why so many of them operate this way.

Hopefully, I have now learnt the lesson is well and truly. The next time I see the word “FREE’ emblazoned on anything, I’ll delete quick sticks and I suggest you do too!

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