Consumers Being Charged $14.3B for Unwanted Services

by Karl Utermohlen | July 25, 2013 6:10 pm

Thousands of Americans are being charged hundreds of dollars for unwanted services. These so-called “grey charges” usually happen when users sign up for services that are free for a limited amount of time, but quite pricey after that.

USA Today reports [1]that these charges usually occur when people sign up for free online services that require the user’s credit card information. The problem is that these services are only free for a limited period of time, and companies won’t cancel them for you once these free trials end. Instead, these companies will charge their users for unwanted services until they cancel them.

A study done by BillGuard, an app that alerts users about these charges, revealed that Americans are being charged a total of $14.3 billion at an average of $215 per person for these unwanted services. The study was done over a year among 5,000 BillGuard users.

Most people fail to read the fine print on free trials like Amazon Prime, a service provided by Amazon (AMZN[2]) which offers discounts and other benefits. The free trial lasts 30 days, but users get charged $79 after the initial month. Other companies such as LinkedIn (LNKD[3]) are cashing in on similar offers.

Endnotes:
  1. USA Today reports : http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/07/25/consumers-unwanted-charges-in-billions/2568645/
  2. AMZN: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=AMZN
  3. LNKD: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=LNKD

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