BBB offers tips to protect against subscription scams

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OKLAHOMA -- Businesses that provide monthly subscription services or “of the month” clubs have increased significantly over the past few years, allowing members to receive customized recommendations and personal stylists in nearly every category, including clothes, shoes, makeup and food. However, Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma (BBB) is urging Oklahomans to know all the details before signing up and committing to a subscription.

“The Internet has transformed the way we shop online, giving us convenience and customized options,” said Kitt Letcher, president and CEO of BBB. “But some companies actively obscure information, make it hard to unsubscribe and get out of a billing cycle, or they bill members even after cancellation. Oklahomans should educate themselves before signing up.”

BBB is offering the following tips for being aware of online subscription scams:

Do your research. Many companies that offer monthly or subscription services will have feedback from previous users on BBB websites or other review sites. These comments and reviews can help you determine if there are any red flags to be aware of and if the company is honest in their dealings with customers. Oklahomans can check BBB’s website at oklahomacity.bbb.org.

Know what you’re getting in to. While many companies are up-front with their process and any charges that might be incurred, some don’t tell the whole story, with members not knowing they are actually opting into subscriptions with automatic renewals or automatic negative option sales programs. Be sure to read the fine print when signing up or at the check-out page.

Know how to cancel the membership. To get out of a membership or subscription, some companies require members to actively sign in and click a “skip the month” button every month they don’t want to be charged. Other times, canceling a subscription takes a phone call to the company or filling out an online form.

Keep any relevant documentation. Unfortunately, some organizations make it very difficult to cancel an account or even “accidentally” bill your account even after you cancel. Get a confirmation number for your cancellation, and check your bank account for any unauthorized charges after the fact.

About Better Business Bureau

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation. For more information, visit oklahomacity.bbb.org.

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