Beware of Online Tactics that Coerce Telehealth Customers

Would it surprise you to find out that legitimate businesses use covert tactics to coerce customers into doing things against the customer's own best interest? Yes? No? Interestingly enough, most people are not-at-all surprised by that idea. This is likely due to the high chance that at some point in that person's life, they forgot to "read the fine print", and got screwed over as a result.

Sound familiar?

Many companies offer legitimate services with shady or covert ways to trap you into a contract, recurring billing, or other commitment by hiding the pertinent information regarding your purchase in hard-to-find places like the bottom of a contract in tiny, hard to read print, or at the end of a confirmation page.

Let's discuss a few of these practices, and how to spot and/or avoid them:

1. Recurring billing--the plague of the internet

Very little can actually be bought outright these days. Everything is "billed automatically on the 1st of each month". The reason this is such an attractive offer is usually that the initial price is cheaper than perhaps a "one-time charge" option. This is usually followed by a "Cancel at any time! No penalty!" So what's there to lose?

Companies like ForHims, GetRoman, and Keeps used this business model to advertise low prices, with a recurring monthly obligation. You get to try a product, and if you don't like it, there's no commitment and minimal monetary loss.

Here's the issue:

-Gene buys a monthly subscription from a company that follows this same business model for Sildenafil 20 mg (Revatio) for $51 dollars a month billed quarterly as $153. He receives it by mail automatically each month. The subscription yields 6 tablets a month. 18 tablets of 20 mg put him at 360 mg total of actual medication over the 3 months. That means he is paying about $42.5 per 100 mg tablet. He can find that medication for less than $20 per 100 mg tablet of real Viagra*, not the handful of blood pressure Revatio tablets like his current website.

*Usually, the outright price is cheaper than a monthly payment

-So Gene finds his meds for cheaper elsewhere, and decides to go ahead and cancel that monthly subscription right? Well, Gene is about to find out exactly why it's called the plague of the internet. He goes online to find the customer service number so he can cancel. Gene realizes there is no number on the main page. He searches for two hours, before eventually Googling "Customer Service Number" he ends up accidentally calling the wrong company. Frustrated, he finally gets a hold of the correct number, hidden away in the FAQ. He dials the number, "all agents are currently assisting other customers, please hold". He waits on hold for 30 minutes before finally getting a customer service rep to cancel his subscription.

These are but a few of the tactics that businesses will use to 'discourage' the canceling of a subscription. The worst part is, this is only if you remember that you signed up for it.

2. Call transfer loops

-This one is not as prevalent as it used to be due to new "all-point" training on customer service representatives; however, call transfer loops are a great way for some companies to hang up the line on you when you need something. The way this works is that you call in with a complaint or an issue you'd like addressed. The person who answers will hear your whole story out, then hit you with "Okay, yeah, so you actually have the wrong department, let's get you over there". Normally a call transfer is standard for managerial escalation, but you shouldn't be transferred around more than twice, typically. This is especially frustrating when you have a long hold in between transfers. I've been caught in one of these before and was transferred so many times the call had deteriorated to a nearly inaudible muffle. I had to ask the rep to call me right back to refresh the call. Keep an eye out for things like this as it can prove to be a cumbersome approach to a typically standard procedure.

3. Fine print

-This is a favorite amongst contractual companies as you unwittingly sign up for things you may not have meant to. The reason this can be an issue is that contracts are not usually short-term. This means you are bound by the tiny print at the bottom of the page--all the mean stuff, for a long time. These can usually include clauses releasing the company of any liability, or that they have sole control to edit or change the contract at any point. As always, reading your contract fully, including the fine print, is the only sure-fire way to ensure that you stay protected out there.

These are just a few methods companies will use to take advantage of you, while remaining within the bounds of legality. ForHims, Keeps, and GetRoman are authentic companies that sell real medication just like us here at Secure Medical; just be sure to ask plenty of questions, as things can be a bit more involved than just 'Low Pricing'. Always do your research before you decide to do business with someone, and always keep an eye out for your own fiscal safety.