Proactiv Is A Subscription And You Will Be Charged Bi-Monthly

If you’re breaking out and thinking of trying Proactiv, you should understand that you are signing up for their “club,” not just buying some expensive benzoyl peroxide. A reader wrote in today shocked that Proactiv was charging her card and shipping her new product without her consent, when, in fact, it very clearly states that by ordering Proactiv you are signing up for a subscription. From Proactiv’s Site:

By ordering now, you will receive a one month supply of our 3-piece club package. After 30 days, you’ll receive our regular 2 month supply of Proactiv every 60 days at the guaranteed low price of just $39.95 plus $5.95 s&h per shipment, which will automatically be billed to the same credit card you provide today.

If you don’t cancel you’ll be responsible for the shipping, so make sure you pay attention to what you are agreeing to. This goes for all infomercial-type products.—MEGHANN MARCO



Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    Bi-Monthly would be twice a month, not once every two months.

  2. ediebeale says:

    no, it would be every two months, B. I believe so, anyhow.

    Canceled Pro-Activ was one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done. Before their CSRs can cancel you, they have to repitch you 5 times. I asked the guy if he could just cut to the chase and cancel, and he (sort of sadly) told me no, or else the cancellation would not go through. Infuriating.

    That said, I did realize it was a subscription when I got it. They’re pretty up front about it.

  3. major disaster says:

    Bimonthly is correct. Semimontly means twice a month.

  4. acambras says:

    I think semi-monthly is 2x/month, and bi-monthly is every 2 months.

    Sadly, that’s all I have to contribute to this thread…

  5. englishmajormoney says:

    Nope, “bi-monthly” is every two months, whereas “semi-monthly” would be twice a month.

    Anyway, the point is that Proactiv sucks. When I signed up, I was aware that I was buying into a regular deal, but not aware that the customer service on that regular deal would be so egregious. When you’re concerned about an order’s arrival, you’re instructed to wait three weeks before contacting customer service. And when, three weeks later, that order has still failed to turn up, and you email customer service, they will bill you for a second order with shipping, credit you for the product (but not the shipping) of the first order, and generally irritate the hell out of you.

    You will then note that to cancel your service, you have to email customer service some more.

  6. kerry says:

    Bimonthly = every two months
    Semimonthly = twice a month.
    Same for annual. Biannual? Every 2 years. Semi-annual? Twice a year.

  7. kerry says:

    D’oh, everyone posted their responses while I was composing mine. Sorry for the repeat info.
    As for the Proactiv – is there any way to buy the product without automagically signing up for their “club?” Or is a requirement of the purchase?

  8. isadora says:

    I used Proactiv for about a year and it worked great! And I found their customer service to be expectional.

    At one point I called and told them I didn’t use enough of the product to justify recieving it every two months and they said they’d be happy to cancel my subscription OR they would also be happy to adjust my subscription to suit my schedule–after that the stuff arrived every 12 weeks instead of every 8! I seriously can’t say enough good things about them.

    When I finally called to cancel they were polite and took care of my request immediately!

  9. any such name says:

    And if you don’t pay up, they send you to collections, so beware.

    Also, bimonthly can mean 2x/month, OR once every two months. Ditto Biannualy, etc.

  10. Whitney says:

    I ordered it and canceled the club subscription in the same phone call. Yeah, I had to sit through another 5 min of pitches but the guy was nice about it. Proactiv they made it very clear up front that I was were joining a club not just ordering one shipment.

  11. Citron says:

    Then buy it from a mall kiosk or eBay. There’s no subscriptions in there. That’s what I do. Proactiv isn’t snake oil, though. It’s worked exactly as it was advertised for me and my boyfriend, and we ranged from moderate to very bad skin.

  12. Angiol says:

    So is a bicentennial 200 times a year?

  13. marike says:

    I ordered a product from the same company (Guthy Renker) that sells ProActive and they signed me up for a similar “club” that automatically bills you and sends you the product even though I opted out via the web site and over the phone. I shipped it back to them as instructed by the CS Rep I spoke to and cancelled my “membership” (she also didn’t try to repitch it or anything, but she did mess up and say “Thanks for calling ProActive” at the end of the phone call). It took exactly 18 weeks to receive my refund.

  14. homerjay says:

    I cancelled my Proactiv last month. I knew what was going to happen and it was relatively painless. I was only in the ‘club’ for like two months. I just find it easier, albeit slightly more expensive (I think) to buy it from the mall kiosk.

  15. rdm says:

    Proactiv sucks. Use the regimen at instead and give Jessica Simpson/PDiddy/etc less of your money :)

  16. joemono says:

    My wife uses proactiv, and she’s had the subscription for so long that we probably have enough to last another ten years based on how much she uses.

    On a different note, I have always heard that bimonthly meant every two weeks or twice a week. There seem to be conflicting views between wikipedia, m-w, and askoxford (and here, obviously).

    Also, I have enjoyed this site for a while and am finally able to comment. It’s refreshing to see a comments section that doesn’t deteriorate into insults and more importantly one that actually provides relevant and useful information.

  17. joemono says:

    Oops, I meant “bimonthly meant every two weeks or twice a week.”

  18. NeoteriX says:

    What is so special about ProActiv?

    How is it different than any other Benzoyl Peroxide based acne solution you can just buy at Wal-Mart?

  19. Jillsy says:

    Neoterix: It’s not different. The Proactiv system consists of a soap-free cleanser, a salicylic acid exfoliant, and a benzoyl peroxide disinfectant. These three products are most likely to clear up acne for most people, but there’s nothing special about Proactiv’s formulations. For drugstore products, try Neutrogena – their products tend to have fewer irritating ingredients than other brands.

  20. OrtizDupri says:

    I canceled back in December. The 27th, to be exact. I was charged $25 from them just this past January 27 – I’m currently trying to talk to customer service to see why I was charged a month after the fact.

  21. katewrath says:

    Yeah, Proactiv is a subscription and it can be a drag to cancel, although they do let you reset the mailing schedule. When I get overstocked, I cancel and sign up again later when I needed more. The bonus part is that everytime you join, you get a tube of a massively effective clay mask. Stickin’ it to the skincare-selling man!

    As a dry-skinned lass with fussy pores, I think the really valuable stuff is the low-dose benzoyl peroxide, which keeps me zit free but not flaky. And yes, you can order just that stuff, but you need a catalogue.

  22. RandomHookup says:

    Okay, semantics is the topic of the day, eh?

    Well, different meanings for the word “bimonthly” render the word almost useless because it refers to a very specific concept of time. Much like “Standard Time” used during Daylight Saving Time, when it really doesn’t mean what people think.

    I don’t know why the dictionary editors caved on this one.

  23. Roosh says:

    Alright the only ingredient in Proactiv that treats acne is benzoyl peroxide. This is a GENERIC drug that has been around for ages, so there is no reason you need to pay much for it.

    Go to and buy a HUGE tube of BP for very cheap. It will last you months and works just as good as anything else.

  24. johnmoore4 says:

    I am deeply concerned about this product. My 25 year old daughter has been using it for three years and I see no improvement. It seems to me that a company that strives to get people to sign up and pay a membership fee in perpetuity has little incentive to get the patient-member cured. Isn’t it better to see a dermatologist who can individualize your treatment? I welcome comments from users. But don’t give me the Proactiv line when I called them: “Oh, but dermatologists are the ones who designed this program.”

  25. bagumpity says:

    I’m bipolar. Does that mean I get charged twice per pole or once every other pole?

  26. MCConsumer says:

    I was a former customer and knew it was a club plan. However this time around they sent me free vitamins (which I did not actually receive). I then had to fill out forms to get the shipping charges removed. Then they sent an additional order which I did not ask ofr or want and charged me for those (which I returned). On my first Proactive renewal shipment, I specifically ordered a 3 piece 19.95 order and received a larger order with multiple payments. When I called to inquire, the CS person was rude and argued constantly – she told me to check the website which I had open right in front of me showing clearly what I ordered. I cancelled my account and will never use them or any prooduct they sell or promote again.
    Be Aware of their shipping/billing practices – to me it borders on bait and switch.