Beauty infomercials tend to focus on amazing cosmetic transformations. Whether they get rid of a problem (acne or wrinkles) or prevent them — they are a billion dollar industry.

Watch Out for ‘Free Trials’
If you are ordering a product that will require a refill, chances are the product comes with a subscription service. This means you will be sent a new order each month unless you cancel. Companies often get you to give your credit card number by offering you a free trial. At first it seems like a no-brainer — until a couple of months later, you discover you are being billed continuously. To avoid this, check if it is a subscription model (also called negative billing) and make sure you know how to cancel before you order.

Bait & Switch

When you order be ready to say ‘no’ if they say you need to complete your order with other products. This is probably the most common in the beauty industry. For example: You order some wrinkle remover — when you order they say you need the applicator for best results. This is often called a upsell. If you are ‘upsold,’ be ready to say no to the other items. It’s highly unlikely they are necessary.

Fake Endorsements
Many times a company will claim to be endorsed by a high-profile celebrity. Or they may imply an endorsement from a casual relationship. For example: Oprah talked about a generic product on television. So therefore, a company uses Oprah’s image talking about the generic product or material. While Oprah didn’t endorse this company’s product, she may have talked about a specific ingredient. Therefore a company thinks it is okay to plaster Oprah’s image on the product. These fake endorsements were so common, Oprah and Dr. Oz recently made a very public announcement:

“The companies that are using my name to hawk these products are duping the public. I do not endorse any of these products. By falsely presenting products as ‘scientifically proven’ and endorsed by well-known figures, these companies do a gross disservice to the public health and could even pose a danger to those who believe their false and unproven claims. I am taking this step in the interest of public safety. I feel compelled to stand up against these companies and their deceitful practices.”¹

False Claims
Lastly, anything too good to be true should take a second look before buying. You should even run the idea of buying by a friend that has not seen the full infomercial. “The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to apply a healthy dose of caution before buying products advertised as having “miracle” ingredients or techniques and guaranteed results. Many of these “quick cures” are unproven, fraudulently marketed and useless or even dangerous.”

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