Iowa’s Attorney General is warning you to be wary of telemarketers offering free gifts. A-G Tom Miller says the free offers could be part of a growing practice used by credit card companies that end up costing customers.Some of the large credit card companies contract with telemarketing companies to make the free offers. Those telemarketing companies then have access to your credit card number. Miller says once the “free” offer ends, the companies use your credit card number to bill you for continued services if you don’t cancel the service.Miller says customers often have no idea they have to stop the service after the free trial period. He says the terms of the free offer are often sent in a mailing and overlooked as junk mail. Miller says Iowa and 27 other states have reached an agreement with one of the largest credit card companies to end the practice.Citibank has agreed to not charge anyone without express authorization, and the company has agreed to review telemarketing scripts to determine they’re not deceptive. Miller says there could be future agreements with other credit card companies. He says one way to avoid unwanted charges is to pay close attention to the fine print.Miller says you should check closely any mailings associated with your credit card. And, he says you should always check your credit card bill for unusual charges, as they can be reversed if discovered.Miller says the free offers often involve things such as buying clubs. He says this is the fastest growing area of complaints to the Consumer Protection Division of his office.
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