FROM pop-up adverts to losses totalling hundreds of pounds, the customers of a skincare products company have slammed its sales techniques and the way it took their money.
There are online complaints about American company Sheridan Labs but unfortunately, Elaine Barclay did not see them.
She shelled out on Equinox serum and a moisturiser from the firm when one of its adverts appeared while she was surfing the net last September. The products' low prices, & pound; 7 and & pound; 8 made them "worth a go", she thought.
"However I am aware of scams," she explains, "and there was nothing at all in the advertisement that suggested a subscription."
The products arrived in due course but in October the true bill came in when Elaine observed that two further payments of & pound; 89 and & pound; 95 had been debited from her account.
She contacted her bank which then blocked any further withdrawals. Her story had a familiar ring as other women have come to us describing similar experiences.
Helen McGregor condemned the runaround she'd been given trying to get her & pound; 200 back after believing what she had ordered was a free sample.
Firstly, Sheridan Labs told her she should return the item but by the time she got the right instructions, she was informed she was out of time. "So I decided to accept my loss and learn from the experience," the 73-year-old emailed Crusader.
Elaine, meanwhile, had contacted Sheridan Labs' distributor, Surrey Beauty Ltd, but says she did not manage to get a response.
When Crusader contacted the company, Karen Woodley from its customer services, directed us to Sheridan Labs, saying: "As we did not take funds we are unable to assist."
As a distributor, Surrey Beauty can wash its hands of the matter. Sheridan Labs rejected returning the money it had taken from Elaine too. Describing the firm's convoluted contract process, Crusader was told: "We offer a 10-day cooling-off period for a full 30 days' supply.
"Upon placing the order with us Elaine Barclay agreed to pay the actual cost of the product once her cooling off period expired and also that she would be put on the auto shipment programme.
"Every single customer is required to accept the terms, mentioned at two different places on the order form, before placing the order.
"We do not cater for refund requests for the products that are in possession of customers for more than 30 days."
Beware of ticking any boxes until reading the full terms, warns solicitor Joanne Lezemore of advice service consumer-genie.co.uk.
"And if an offer looks too good to be true, then there is usually a catch."
If a debit or credit card is used to pay for goods that do not arrive then cardholders may be able to claim. However in these cases the goods were despatched and then more money was taken, leaving these women with little comeback.
In hindsight Elaine explains that it was the low price that lowered her guard, adding: "Had I known that the company was overseas I would not have bought. "This is about the principle of how the money was taken, it is not right."
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