Infomercial king Billy Mays once said, “The best things in life are free – and $19.95.”

Who doesn’t love free stuff? I know I do. What better way to see if you like something before spending your hard earned money on it. If you spend anytime surfing the web or scrolling through Facebook, you are constantly bombarded with ads for free trials. It’s tempting to try a pill that claims it will help you burn fat and stay energized all day long.  Let’s be honest; who doesn’t want to try a face cream that will help remove those unwanted wrinkles and age spots?

The problem with all these free trials is that unless you cancel before the trial is up, you automatically become enrolled in a monthly/yearly subscription. That’s how these companies make their money. They hope that you will either a.) Really enjoy their product or service and want to continue it or b.) Forget to cancel it.

The big problem with the diet pills and face cream free trials is that you don’t realize that you are enrolling into a subscription program until you see a charge on your account for the full price of the product. These types of free trials can be extremely difficult to cancel and because you technically did agree to the terms and conditions (whether you realized it or not) it is unlikely that you will be able to get your money back.

I tend to make regular purchases through iTunes so I don’t really think about it when I see something come out of my account from them. I signed up for a free trial of Pandora Plus before my trip to Florida last year.  I wanted to be able to tune out my kid on the plane and listen to music.

Problem was; I forgot to cancel the subscription. Oops.

A day after we got home I got hit with a charge to itunes for $9.99. I hadn’t made any iTunes purchases recently so I was worried it might be fraud.  I also couldn’t find a receipt from Apple in my email for it so I contacted them to find out what it was and they explained to me how to cancel it.

I also discovered that I had a couple other subscriptions linked to my phone that I didn’t realize I was being charged for. Who knew that I was still paying for apps that weren’t even on my phone anymore?

If you have an iPhone, it’s actually a pretty easy process to go through.

  • Tap on your “settings”icon on your phone.
  • This should bring you to a long list of options and settings for your phone.
  • There should be an option at the top that says something about your “Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes and App Store.”
  • From there, click on the “iTunes and App Store.”
  • Click “Apple ID” and select the option to “View Apple ID.”  You might have to type in your iTunes password or Touch ID, but this menu will let you see your payment options, subscriptions and even your recent purchase history.

(I imagine that this process or something similar could also be repeated for Samsung phones, Xbox, Playstation, Google Play, etc.)

So while you’re taking a day to open some windows and do some spring cleaning, take a couple minutes to navigate through your smart phone or tablet and see if you might also have a subscription set up that you forgot about. You might be surprised.