The short answer is – it depends on how you go about it.
While free trials themselves are legal, abusing promotions or violating terms of service could be considered fraudulent. However, with some prudence, you can take advantage of multiple free trials legally and safely.
Let me walk you through everything in detail, so you can benefit without any worries.
What Exactly Are Free Trials?
We all love getting something for free – it‘s human nature! Companies realize this, and that‘s why they offer free trials.
A free trial allows you to use a product or service for a limited time without paying. It‘s a chance to "try before you buy" and decide if you want to continue subscribing.
Trials usually last 7-30 days. They require entering payment details upfront so the company can start charging automatically when the trial ends if you don‘t cancel.
Of course, their hope is that you‘ll be hooked and forget to cancel!
Most Common Free Trials
Some popular free trials you can find online include:
- Streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more)
- Subscription boxes (FabFitFun, Blue Apron, Book of the Month)
- Cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive)
- Dating sites (Match, eHarmony)
- Meal kits (HelloFresh, Green Chef)
- Personal development apps (Headspace, Calm)
The options are endless these days! Free trials are a marketing goldmine for companies in competitive industries.
Free Trial Industry Statistics
- 81% of consumers look for free trials before purchasing a product online. [Source]
- 72% of free trial users say it positively impacts their perception of that brand. [Source]
- Average free trial signup conversion rate is 2.95%. [Source]
- 60% of consumers forget to cancel trials before getting charged. [Source]
As you can see, free trials work like a charm for brands and most people end up paying. Let‘s look at the legalities involved…
Is It Actually Illegal to Sign Up for Multiple Trials?
Free trials themselves are completely legal – it‘s false advertising that‘s illegal. If a company promotes a free trial, they have to honor it.
However, there are certain practices that could get you in hot water when trying to maximize free offers:
Violating Terms of Service
Most trials limit you to "one per customer" or "one per household" in their terms. Creating multiple accounts with different emails violates this and may be considered fraudulent.
Of course, figuring out if someone has multiple accounts isn‘t easy. But it‘s still risky business!
Providing Fake Information
Giving false names, email addresses, credit cards, etc. to sign up for extra trials is completely illegal. This constitutes identity fraud and will get you into serious trouble.
Always use your real personal information. Multiple legitimate accounts are fine – fake ones are absolutely not!
Continuing Past Trial Period
If you keep using a service without payment after the trial ends, you‘re essentially stealing. This is illegal under computer hacking laws.
Trials automatically bill you specifically to avoid this theft of services. Don‘t push your luck!
Potential Legal Consequences
- Civil lawsuit – Company sues to recover lost subscription fees
- Account termination – All accounts and access to the service revoked
- Credit damage – Hard checks and cancellations hurt your credit score
- Blacklisting – Prevented from creating future accounts
- Criminal charges – Fines or even jail time for identity fraud
While being banned and blacklisted is the most likely outcome, it‘s not worth the risk of a lawsuit or criminal record.
Tips to Use Multiple Trials Legally
Now let‘s talk about how to be strategic with free trials without breaking any rules!
Read the Fine Print
Always review the full terms and conditions before signing up. This will clarify any limitations or restrictions in place. You want to follow both the letter and spirit of the rules.
Use Your Real Information
Signing up with your true identity is the best practice. Avoid the temptation to falsify or hide who you are. This builds trust and goodwill with the company.
Use a Unique Email & Payment Method
Most terms allow using different emails and cards if accounts are in your real name. This lets you access separate offers and track each trial easily.
Set Reminders to Cancel
Calendar alerts ensure you don‘t forget and get charged unintentionally. Cancel any trials at least 48 hours before the deadline for good measure.
Call to Extend If Needed
If you need more time to evaluate a service, call customer support. Politely ask if they can extend your trial a bit longer. Most will oblige if you have a good reason.
Giving feedback shows you acted in good faith. Plus, being a great customer earns you leeway if any issues arise.
FAQs: Multiple Trial Rules & Regulations
You‘ve got the basics down, but let‘s cover some common free trial questions:
Can you get multiple trials with different emails?
Yes, in most cases you can use different emails to access separate free trials. Just be sure each email is legitimately associated with your real identity.
Is it illegal to make multiple accounts for trials?
Making multiple fake accounts with false info is illegal. However, having several real accounts to utilize generic free trial offers is typically fine, unless specifically restricted.
Can you keep reusing trials indefinitely?
No, continuing to use a service indefinitely past the trial expiration without payment constitutes theft. You must cancel unwanted trials before the deadline or be charged.
Are trials really free if you enter card details?
Yes, free trials do not charge you anything during the promotional period, even though you provide card information. This is solely to facilitate auto-billing once the trial converts to a paid plan.
Can services pursue legal action for trial abuse?
In extreme cases of blatant fraud and identity theft, legal action is possible. But for basic term violations, companies typically just terminate accounts. Prosecution is rare otherwise.
Can you get in trouble for not canceling trials?
Simply forgetting to cancel is not illegal in itself. You may be charged if the trial auto converts to a paid plan, but that‘s not a legal matter. Set reminders and monitor charges to avoid this.
Key Takeaways: Be Ethical, Be Smart
The bottom line is you should use common sense and ethics when it comes to free trials. Here are the key takeaways:
- Free trials are risk-free ways to try products, not loopholes for endless free stuff.
- Abide by all terms of service and provide accurate personal information.
- Set reminders and cancel any unwanted trials before you get charged.
- Using different emails and accounts is fine if done properly. Fake info is always prohibited.
- Legally pursuing someone for minor trial abuse is rare, but bans do happen. It‘s better to play by the rules.
- When in doubt, reach out to customer service for help or extensions.
Armed with this knowledge, you can now take full advantage of free trials without worry. Just be smart – sign up for what you truly want to try, provide real info, cancel on time, and you‘ll have an amazing experience discovering new products and services!