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When Risk Free Is Not Risk Free

Updated on August 16, 2013

© 2012 Express10

The term risk free is frequently used in relation to shopping. Honest companies stick to their word and highly value customer satisfaction. They offer quality products and services and are sure to remedy customer dissatisfaction in some way such as by refund or company credit. Risk free purchases and offers can provide some level of assurance to consumers that their purchase will be a good one and if they are not satisfied, they can have their money returned to them. However, risk free is only as good as the company using the term.

Informed consumers are much more likely to be happy consumers. Those who trust what they see, read, or simply believe what they are told are gambling with a very real risk of being taken advantage of. At some point or even multiple times, those who don't perform their due diligence will be burned. Some risk free offers are not what they appear to be and the consumer may not have had everything disclosed to them, intentionally or not. Customer dissatisfaction goes hand in hand with customers who do not ask enough questions, research the product/service, and the company's track record prior to purchase.

If you have questions make sure you ask them and if there is a contract involved, take time to read it thoroughly. Do not trust that others understand your concerns or have your best interests at heart. Never rush through contracts or allow yourself to be rushed through any purchase, offer, or sale as rushing increases the chance of human errors and misunderstandings. Beware of individuals and companies that rush you, they may be trying to use this to their advantage. These simple tips can save you time and money and increase your understanding and satisfaction as a consumer.

Not all companies treat consumers in an ethical way and some operate in an illegal manner. To avoid gambling with your money when making a purchase, check out the company you are considering patronizing. Checking them out is even more critical if you have never done business with them before. If they offer to send you information or emphasize that they are "just" sending information, ask if there is any cost, trial, or offer associated with getting that information. Do not accept vague answers or attempts to avoid answering this question. This is important because some companies will not tell you that there is actually some cost, offer, service, or trial attached to any information they send you. You have been warned!

If no information can be found on the company or it appears they have no track record, this should raise caution flags prior to purchasing as the majority of companies want to get the word out about their products and services by as many means as possible. If no info can be found, it's possible they may have just opened their doors or they might have something they are actually trying to hide. It is up to you to figure it out and choose wisely. Red flags should be raised in your mind if many reviews and reputable reports of the company/product/service are negative. You'd likely do well to avoid them.

Checking out BBB information can only get you so far and there are companies that operate unethically or illegally that have absolutely glowing records with the BBB. This occurs when the company lies or uses other company names to conduct dirty deeds and use a "clean" name for the BBB file. This is why BBB reports and ratings should be taken with a grain of salt if used at all in your research. Most companies work very hard to build good, if not excellent track records but some other companies may work hard to hide their track records from customers and others. These companies might prey on ill-informed consumers or trick, lie, or bully their way into getting sales from people of all walks of life.

  • Check reviews or referrals if available. Speak with customer service to get any questions answered or problems resolved. Most companies will take this chance to win your business and provide you with a satisfying experience.
  • Perform due diligence and check out the company's track record. You may also want to check with local and state agencies to double check their track record prior to providing your valuable information. The web is a good tool as well.
  • Find out how long they've been in business, this becomes more important if the company sells just one or two products as these types of companies can quickly set up shop selling a new (but similar) product under a different identity and product name to prevent unethical/illegal tactics from catching up with them and shutting them down.
  • Check to see if the company allows customers to post feedback on their website.
  • Consider whether the products or services are truly high quality and useful or necessary for you prior to buying. If not, take a pass and save your money.


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    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks so much Frank. Many risk free offers are just that, but the ones that hook you in to automatic payments those that leave critical info out are a problem that many don't understand until they've gotten burned.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      a very insightful and useful hub.. I like the dice because it's just that the roll of a dice brilliant my friend :)