New Mastercard rules protect customers from fees after free trials of products expire

Have you ever signed up to get a free sample of something online, then forget to cancel it?

One particular beauty product that did a lot of advertising on Facebook, Youth Renu, offered a “no risk sample” of a moisturizing cream and eye cream. People visiting the website saw that it was a free trial and signed up, but somewhere in the company’s terms of service policy there was a line that stated if a person did not cancel their account within 14 days, their credit card would be charged for the full price of the products. That totaled nearly $190.

Because people agreed to those terms, credit card companies could not offer to reimburse the customers the total amount. The Youth Renu website has been shut down.

Now, Mastercard has announced its customers will have protection from scams like that if they give their Mastercard account number when signing up for a sample or trial.

Mastercard’s new policy requires all merchants to notify people who’ve signed up by either email or text message before they are charged. Mastercard says the= merchant will have to provide its name, the billing date, the amount and detailed information for canceling their account or subscription.

Furthermore, Mastercard said the requirement extends to every payment. So, if you forget that you signed up for a free sample or didn’t know the deal converts to a paid subscription, you’ll be notified before your credit card is charged.