Pricewatch: Readers’ queries

How a website sells wrinkles creams, and how companies deal with requests to transfer accounts from one name to another are exercising consumers this week

A reader has been in touch after she ‘stupidly fell for an email advert’ for anti-wrinkle creams. Photograph: Thinkstock

A reader has been in touch after she ‘stupidly fell for an email advert’ for anti-wrinkle creams. Photograph: Thinkstock

Mon, May 26, 2014, 01:00

Caught out by an online ad for anti-wrinkle creams A very cross reader has been in touch after she “stupidly fell for an email advert about using the combination of two creams that would miraculously clear up all those wrinkles and do wonders for the skin”.

The two creams go under the names RVTL and Equinox. We emphasise that there is nothing wrong with these creams or their manufacture, but our reader teakes issue with the way one website sells them.

She came across them on a website dressed up to look like a Good Housekeeping page but that appears to be entirely unconnected with that website. Her justification for trying the creamy combo was that it was “a free trial and I only had to pay for postage and packaging. The parcel arrived with the creams, but on checking my bank account, over €200 has been taken from my account.”

When she noticed this, she “immediately rang AIB who very nicely told me there wasn’t much they could do. They cancelled my debit card, and a letter has been sent to the bank cancelling the direct debit that I had not given permission for. I know I have little if any chance of getting my money back. In a way I feel I deserve the punishment for being so stupid in the first place.”

She is a 40-year-old woman who works with computers every day, “but clearly I am not as clever as I thought I was. I just wanted to warn any other naive women out there who are feeling a bit insecure and unhappy about themselves, we are clearly a niche market, vulnerable and ripe for the picking.”

We had a look at the website and the offer, and we’re not convinced our reader was stupid at all. There is a lot about the “free trial”, and would-be users are warned that this trial is available “for a limited time only”. When we visited the site last Monday it said the trial ended that day. And when we visited it last Wednesday we were told the trial ended on that day too. We were also warned that there was only a handful of offers left and we needed to “act now” to ensure we didn’t miss out.

At the bottom of the page were all sorts of testimonials from users. “For once I was able to do something nice for myself without feeling guilt about the cost,” said one woman. “As a realtor it’s important to look and feel my best, unfortunately the housing market isn’t doing that great so cash has been a little tight lately. Thanks for the info, looking forward to receiving my trials,” said another. A third said she wished she “knew about these products before I had Botox injections. I would have saved a heck of a lot of money.”

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