In unwanted credit card charges, the details are the fine print—and the fine print often results in devilish “grey charges.”Grey charges are those credit card charges that appear on your statement from out of the blue, charging us small or large fees—or sometimes a single charge—monthly or annually.
The fine print can sometimes be expensive. And with unwanted credit cards, charges happen when we think we are paying attention or a sleight-of-hand action by a scammy retailer hooks us.
Boldface lies.The fine print may begin with lies. A website might look professionally done, complete with a believable story based on a plausible scenario andphotos representing real people with genuine-sounding comments. But in reality, it’s smoke and mirrors meant to deceive you.
Bogus trial periods.Trial periods with 30-day money-back guarantees are often rife with lies ending in grey charges. The fine print might read, “Delivery time is subtracted from your trial period”—in other words, if the package takes two weeks to get to you, you only have two weeks to try the product. But the clock starts ticking from the moment the package leaves the facility. After thinking you have 30 days from the delivery date, you decide to return the unwanted item—and you learn too late that you are out of time and out of luck.
Twice-bought scams. You buy a product in January, and when you receive it the product is damaged or of poor quality, so you immediately return it and get your money back. Then six months goes by and you see the same ad. You still want the product and figure you’ll give the company a second try; perhapsthey’ll have their act together by now. But when you get the product a second time, it’s just as bad as the first—and in the fine print it says, “We do not honor refunds to customers who have purchased the same product in the past.”
Free trials. Like Mom said, “There is no free lunch” and “If it’s too good to be true, it is.” This applies to free trial periods as well. Often, the upfront cost of the item is just a few dollars. You make the purchase,and the free trial begins the same day you purchased the product—not when you receive it—so themerchant weaves in the bogus trial period. Then, after the free trial period expires, you learn the actual cost of the item might be 10 to 20 times the initial charge.
Outwit the devil by paying attention to the details:
- Pay attention to the fine print, as hard as that may be
- Ask as many questions as you need to before laying down your credit card number
- Use a credit card and not a debit card
- Watch your statements closely
- Get BillGuard to watch the grey charges for you
Robert Siciliano is a personal security expert & advisor to BillGuard and is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.
- Consumers Hit With $14 Billion in Unwanted Card Charges
A new report by BillGuard examines the problems credit and debit cardholders are having with grey charges. Every year, millions of American consumers are forced or misled into paying fees and charges they never wanted or intended to pay. These charges, called ‘grey charges’, are typically small in nature, buried in terms of service agreements,
- 11 Types of Grey Charges
Grey charges: “Deceptive and unwanted credit and debit card charges that occur as a result of misleading sales and billing practices.” Technically, grey charges aren’t considered fraud because the legalese spells it all out, and trusting consumers sign on the dotted line. Merchants know levying grey charges is legal, but they also know it’s unethical,
- Avoid Unwanted Credit Card Charges
I think it’s safe to say that all credit card charges are unwanted, but today I’m talking about so-called “grey charges”—those out-of-the-blue credit card charges that sneak up on us and require our time, attention, persistence and aggravation to get rid of. A study by BillGuard shows the average dollar amount lost by grey charges
- Grey Charges Are Upsetting—and Legal
Disclosure notices on websites, advertisements and in the terms of an agreement when making a product purchase are often complicated and confusing. Companies know this and take advantage of consumers, figuring potential purchasers don’t have the time, inclination or knowledge of the legalese that goes along with the fine print. Embedded deeply in the disclosure
- The Top 6 Sources of Grey Charges
Those out-of-the-blue credit card charges that sneak up on us and require our time, attention, persistence and aggravation to squelch are called grey charges. Thanks to these insidious leaks, millions of people lose billions of dollars. Sleazy, scheming merchants have perfected the art of the grey charge by capitalizing on the fact that we don’t payattention
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.