iReel.com seems like a pretty neat and reasonably priced service, which allows you to harness the power of the interweb to beam recently released movies directly to your home computing device. However, two Consumerist readers have contacted us about the company, and their misleading or just plain dishonest “free trial” billing practices.
Josh and Nila offered identical stories about signing up for a free trial that was neither free nor a trial. Here’s Josh’s tale:
You guys should warn everyone about iReel. When I was offered a free premium account, I took the bait. Backing by Sony and Paramount looked legit. They asked for my debit card, which I gave them, because I saw that some movies had to be rented, and it was implied that it was to make rental easier (like storing billing information on Amazon). I quickly forgot about the account, until about a week later when a 35 dollar charge showed up on my card. I promptly canceled my account (but the guy on the phone said that refunds are ONLY given for fraud). I opened the terms up and saw a couple of points that bother me:
iREEL Online may offer a free trial period to first-time customers, limit one per household and/or Payment Method provided. Where such an offer is made, at the time of registration for your free trial, your credit or check card will be authorized for one month of service plus applicable taxes, though your Payment Card will not be charged for the duration of the free trial period
I wasn’t charged till after the trial ended. If I would have been billed like it states, I would have promptly canceled while I still could.
Specific details of your free trial not covered in these Online Rental Terms and Conditions will be explained on the web page you land on prior to beginning the sign-up process or as part of the sign-up process
I was never told that there were ANY charges beyond rental charges until I opened these terms.
I wouldn’t be so concerned if I wasn’t a college student who just lost his last 35 dollars to some BS. I know I’m probably screwed, but is there anything I can do to try and get this back?
Chargeback, baby, chargeback! Have any other readers had similar experiences with iReel and their not-so-free trial? Share your stories in the comments.