Free trials: what to look for and expensive pitfalls to avoid

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Caroline Stronkhorst in Trials & Offers

Last updated: 26 January 2020, 08:59 GMT


Companies are happy to throw free trials at potential customers. Free stuff is great, right? It is, unless you end up paying over the odds for something month-after-month because you have got drawn into their system.

We are going to take a look at how to find the right free trials for you and how to make the most out of them so you still end up being the winner! 

Be Picky, Darling 

My first tip is to be very selective about the free trials is to be picky. If you are regularly on freebie or deal sites, you will face a wall of free trials that you can take out…as soon as you have entered your debit card details.

Rather than letting the offers come to you, it is worth hunting down your own free trials. Most free trials are for services that you will consume month-after-month and, therefore, will pay a subscription for. What do you consume each month as a household? What do you buy that is a) inconvenient or b) seems overpriced?

Once you have made a list of these products, open up a new tab and google “product name + free trial” e.g. “washing tablets free trials”. You are likely to see an offer from companies like Smol. This is a good way of making sure that you only engage with free trials that you are actually interested in,  

Being picky is a good thing as free trial management can turn into a headache. More on that later!

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Tell A Friend

There is a strong correlation between companies that offer free trials and those that have generous referral programmes. If you love a companies free trial then it is worth looking to see what the incentive is for you to share it with your friends.

Companies such as Bulb have a very bold refer-a-friend offer that has resulted in an incredible amount of social media sharing. Lots of brands want to replicate that and will encourage you to invite a friend. There is a benefit for your friend (free trial) and for you (money/credit/points).

If you can’t see a refer-a-friend programme on your dashboard then you should Google the companies name + referral scheme to see what comes up. Still nothing? Jump on live chat or an email to see if there is a hidden programme. It is always worth asking!

tell a friend

Commitment

Free trials may seem like a one-night stand but you are actually entering in to a longer-term relationship! You are very unlikely to find a free trial that doesn’t have strings attached. Typically, you are signing yourself up to a subscription package when you take out a free trial. Whilst you can cancel before the next payment is made, if you don’t then the charges can soon rack up.  

If it is a service you have really enjoyed and saves you time or money then that’s great news for both you and the company who sent you the trial! In this case, it is worth carrying on with the subscription and just check in regularly to make sure that you aren’t missing out on any new customer deals.  

However, if you don’t want to pay the company any money, you need to be proactive. You have probably entered your card details and signed up to a subscription service to redeem your freebie. You are committed!

Whenever you sign up, make a note in your reminder app, a spreadsheet or even set an alarm a few days before the last date where you can cancel without an additional charge. This will save you lots of money if you are inclined to take out multiple free trials in a short period of time. 

This is an amazing way of making a free trial programme work for you! Not only do you get free stuff to start with, you can start earning money or credit as you spread the word.

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