'Free sample' turns into $149 purchase

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

MESA, Ariz. -- Donna Champlain does her best to take care of herself. But, she also realizes nothing can stop her from getting older.

"I am getting wrinkles, definitely. But I really don't give it a whole lot of thought," Champlain said.

But, Champlain did give it a thought when she was on the Internet recently.

That's because a product called Life Cell South Beach Skincare came up as a pop up ad. The product, Champlain said, was a free sample. All she had to pay was a $1.25 for shipping.
However, before filling out the form and punching in her debit card number, Champlain said she made sure the offer wasn't one of those free trial offers.

"So, I read it front and back. I scanned it up and down. And I said, 'Hey, finally, something for free,'" Champlain recounts.

Champlain got the product in the mail, but after using Life Cell a few times, she wasn't impressed.
So, she stopped using her so-called "free sample."
However, after checking her bank account, Champlain realized Life Cell South Beach hit her account for a $149. So much for that free sample she said.
"I just got very upset about it. And I cried about it."

Champlain isn't the only one upset. The Better Business Bureau gives the company an "F" rating, claiming their file for South Beach Skin Care contains a pattern of complaints from consumers just like Champlain who thought they were getting a free sample.
The company fired back, telling the BBB their promotion has always been a 30 day trial and not a free sample.
Regardless, the company has removed the word "free" from their website in an effort to combat this issue.
Champlain said the $1.25 she spent on shipping for her "free sample" is a lesson.

"And I know everyone has been told this and I know everyone has heard this. But, nothing is free. Nothing is for a $1.25.  Nothing, nothing, nothing," Champlain warned.

3 On Your Side had a difficult time getting a hold of somebody with the company.

However, Champlain was able to speak with someone.

Champlain told Life Cell South Beach Skincare she was not interested in any kind of membership and she demanded a full refund.

The good news is all of her money was credited back to her bank account, but she warned you have to be careful when it comes to free trial offers.