Learn the trick, discovered by a mom, to RIP YOU OFF!
If you do much web surfing, you’ve almost certainly seen the ads. They’re EVERYWHERE.
“Learn the trick, discovered by a mom, to turn yellow teeth white for under $5,” they say.
Get really white, beautiful teeth for less than $5? Now if you’re interested in improving your appearance (aren’t we all?), that sounds like a pretty good deal, doesn’t it?
Get ready to get scammed.
At first glance, the “idea” presented seems like a legitimately neat little trick. “Cathy Anderson” at www.myteethtrick.com (who just happens to be from Springfield, Missouri – wow! what a cool coincidence!) advises you to hit your teeth with a combination of two different teeth-whitening products, one right after the other.
And you can do it for under $5! Because BOTH of the teeth-whitening companies provide free samples of their products! So you only have to pay for the shipping.
Easy, really cheap, and effective.
Why This Is a Scam, and How It Works
1) To start with, this is a scam because “Cathy’s” story is a lie. In marketing-speak, and in the fine print, “Cathy’s” story has been “modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments.”
Excuse me? What else is left?
(Not much, it’ll turn out, and there’s not a lot of truth there, either…)
The fine print goes on:
“…this blog, and any page on this website, are not to be taken literally or as a non-fiction story… THE STORY DEPICTED ABOVE IS NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY.”
So in other words, it’s all a marketing ploy which is factually untrue. This is what most normal people (such as you and I) would call “a lie.” But you have to read the mess of fine print to find that out.
And “Cathy,” it turns out, is from whatever city you happen to be from. If you’re in Springfield, Missouri, then “Cathy” is from Springfield, Missouri. If you’re in San Francisco, then she’s a California girl.
I know this for a fact, because I tested it.
Whenever you access a web site, the computer it’s on can usually get a pretty close idea of what town you’re in. Location information gets sent along with your request.
But there’s a way to ask other computers, in other cities, to access a web site on your behalf, and then show you the results.
When I accessed the site through computers based in other cities, suddenly Cathy changed her tune. Now she was from San Francisco, then suddenly she was a good ole Texas gal. (See image to the right.)
Hmm… Cathy sure moves around a lot. And all in the space of a few minutes!
In fact, “Cathy” seems to regularly change her name and face as well. She’s “Sandy C.” at momswhiteningsecret.com. And “Sandy” has the exact same teeth. And then we have “Cathy” again (but an entirely different Cathy, this one a brunette) at the “fake news story” web site momsteethstory.com, which is duplicated again at the fake newspaper site tallahasseereporter.com.
They’ve removed the last name now, but back in June, according to this site, the full name of the mom at the “dark-haired Cathy” site was given: “Cathy Anderson.”
And the exact same basic fake news story (with a lot of the same content and comments!) is posted under yet ANOTHER name and face (“Karen”) at www.karensteeth.com.
All five of these web sites direct you to the same two places for your “free trials” from “two different companies.”
These sites are “smilewhitespro.com” and “white-smiles.com.”
Now I wasn’t able to quite determine whether these are really and truly two different companies or not. Superficially, they seem to be different businesses. But anyone can set up multiple business entitiues. And I can tell you this: Both of these businesses have numerous complaints against them.
2) More importantly than the deceptions above, this offer is a scam because they dangle a deceptive offer (that ordering the two trial products will result in you whitening your teeth for under $5) to lure you into a situation in which they have your credit card info and in which they are going to charge you close to $200 (or even more) every single month… From now on. Or for as long as they can get away with it.
Oh, I’m sure they’ll send you some product. And all of their fine print might cover them legally. Neither of those is the issue. The deception and the almost-$200-charges, every month, are the issues.
The “Denta White” site says (in small print on another page that you access by clicking a tiny-printed “Terms and Conditions” link, of course): “In the event you do not cancel within ten days after you order your trial product, you will be automatically enrolled in our convenient home delivery plan and your credit card will be charged $92.37. Thereafter, 30 days from your initial order, you will be billed the monthly charge of $92.37 each month when product is sent to you.”
Note that “free trial” is ONLY “free” if you meet the special condition of “calling and canceling within 10 days.” If you don’t do that, then the “free trial” for this one product alone IS GOING TO COST YOU $96.13.
And that’s just for the product that they shipped you as your supposedly “free” trial…
And they’re only getting started!!
The fine print from the other site, “SmileWhites Pro,” states that if you don’t “cancel” within 14 days, you will be charged the “discounted price” of $79.95.
And there is at least one report on the web of continued charges even though the cancellation request was made within the specified time. There are probably a bunch more, but I only read a few of the many complaints I found. One of these companies had more than a thousand complaints posted at one site alone.
Here’s another quote: “If you call after 10 days of your trial date and you have opened the product then you are not entitled to a refund for that product.”
So if you didn’t read the fine print, and therefore didn’t call within 10 days of receiving your “free trial,” then per the fine print they get to charge you more than $90 for that one little bit of “free trial” product alone — and according to the fine print, you are not entitled to a refund!
Note again: they are going to charge you at least $92.37, not counting the shipping, for the “free trial” product they sent you!
This is NOT what most people think of as a “free trial.”
So how much can you expect to pay in all for these so-called “free trials?”
Within two weeks, you’ll pay: $3.76, plus $92,37, plus $5.95, plus $79.95, for a grand total of $182.03.
And thereafter, you will be charged a total of $172.32 every single month… apparently, for the rest of your life. Or at least, until whatever time you manage to get these blood-sucking parasites detached from your credit cards.
In fact, aside from the reports that they make it very difficult to cancel and get your money back, I even read reports of people getting charged from other companies as well. It looks as if, in some cases at least, $172 per month was only the beginning.
Suddenly, that “trick” of “whitening your teeth for under $5” has turned out to be a really expensive proposition.
There was a “trick,” all right. Just not the one advertised.
For further information, see Part 2 of this topic, entitled:
“A Lesson in How To Check Out Businesses and Identify Internet Scams.”