Women claim cosmetics firm misled them with offer on internet
Published 30/01/2012 | 05:00
BEAUTY came at an unacceptably high price for a number of consumers who claim they got sucked into an expensive deal.
The National Consumer Agency has confirmed it is investigating six complaints about a widely advertised beauty offer for Perfect Radiance products that snares customers into signing up for cheap samples and then hits them with a costly, ongoing contract for moisturisers.
It also urged other consumers who feel they have been misled to contact the agency.
Monaghan woman Una O'Reilly was shocked to get a credit card bill for almost €400 after she signed up to get some low-price samples of Perfect Radiance anti-wrinkle serums and creams in November.
Although the initial three samples cost less than €3 each, she then started receiving additional supplies of the cream priced at up to €79 each -- resulting in a total bill of €393.
"I wasn't being silly about it, I had checked the offer very carefully and I hadn't seen anything about these costs," she said. She had also been bombarded with calls over a weekend trying to sell her more of these products.
She contacted the company and, after lengthy argument in which she threatened to name and shame them to the media, they eventually agreed to issue a refund, which she received this month.
Ms O'Reilly said the difficulty with this deal was that, unlike a direct debit, you couldn't simply cancel the payment. The moisturiser had been fine in itself, but was certainly no miracle worker, she added. "I feel a bit silly about it, but I'd really like to warn people about this because these are advertised all over the place on reputable websites, and I got caught out even though I'm pretty cautious," she said.
An agent for Perfect Radiance in the Philippines said the terms and conditions of the offer were clearly set out at the bottom of their website and nobody had forced customers to sign up.
"It's clearly stated that we give a free trial period and before that ends they need to call us if they wish to cancel," he said.
They had issued refunds to consumers who complained or in some cases had sent them additional supplies of the products in lieu of a refund, he said.
The Office of Fair Trading in the Isle of Man also issued a warning last week about the surge in online offers for 'free', anti-wrinkle creams such as Perfect Radiance that resulted in costly contracts that were difficult to spot in advance.
The terms and conditions are available via a small link at the very bottom of the company's lengthy homepage.