A NEW scam has been brought to my attention by a reader. This one was for a tooth whitener.

The web site offered a free trial; in fact, it recommended two free trials of two whitener products.

The reader applied and the products arrived: one after almost two weeks, the second much later.

He says, “I later found that I had inadvertently entered myself into a ‘Maintenance Agreement’, and, because I had sent for two products, approximately, £190 was taken out of my credit card. Needless to say, this had not been my intention.

“I later re-read the conditions that I had apparently volunteered for. These had been made difficult to understand, but, it seems that if the product was returned unopened within 14 days, no maintenance charge would be made.

“All well and good, except that it had taken almost 14 days for the first of the whiteners to arrive. As both products originated in America, there was little chance of being able to return them.”

The reader made an internet search and discovered many complaints about the companies and products. The delayed delivery scam is also widely used. You can cancel all commitment if you inform companies within two weeks of placing the order – but the products invariably take longer than two weeks to arrive.

“As for me,” he says, “I am now £190 out of pocket, and, being stuck with the benighted stuff, I thought I’d give it a try. It doesn’t work!

“These ‘trial offer’ scams should be forced to carry a warning. Something on the lines of : This product will seriously damage the health of your bank account. Let your readers beware. Leave well alone.”

And always read the small print.