Did Someone Change the Definition of FREE?

The last time that I checked, the definition of free in the Websters dictionary meant; without charge. If that has changed, can someone please send me the memo, because I am about two seconds from being pissed off.

Let me rewind for a moment and get you guys caught up. Yesterday while surfing the web I found an offer at monysavingmom.com that had a link to a free (without charge) flash drive. I like free (without charge) offers, but I knew that I had to be careful because I’ve learned that free (without charge) isn’t always free (without charge).

So I read a few of the comments to see if anyone had success with the offer. There were about 20 or so people who had commented that it worked so I clicked on the link that took me to the offer site buy.com.

I added the flash drive to my cart and set up my Google checkout account which required a credit card. I was a little apprehensive about this because for one the card that I was using is only used for paying bills. We don’t like to give out access to our primary account so we created this account to use to pay bills over the phone and online. So after those bills are paid this account remains empty. But I figured that if my total didn’t ring up as zero dollars I would just cancel the order. But it did ring up at zero dollars and I gave buy.com and Google checkout authorization to process my order. I was very pleased because I could really use a free (without charge) flash drive.

Well this morning my husband was in the process of transferring some money into to the above mentioned account to pay a bill and he freaked, because the account was overdrawn. I was in the shower and I began to panic because now I’m thinking how am I going to explain this without sounding like an idiot.

So I’m standing there dripping wet, staring at our overdrawn checking account on the computer screen, trying to explain how an item that was supposed to be free (without charge) has brought us into a negative balance.

Boy was I upset and so was hubby. If Mrs.Larry were here she’d probably kick me right in the behind for spending my husbands money so foolishly. So now I contacted Google checkout via email to cancel my order, because they do not have a customer service number. I also contacted buy.com via phone and email to cancel my order. Buy.com said that they could not do anything about the charges because they were made by Google checkout.com. I am hoping that I can get all of this cleared up. While trying to find a telephone number for Google checkout I came across some other customers who have had similar experiences. One guy made a purchase for $54.00 but was charged $254.00 by Google.

Just be warned that if you do decide to go after this offer make sure that you have a balance in your account because Google will place a credit card hold on your account and also be prepared to be mistakenly overcharged. Keep in mind that Google does not have a customer service number, so if you run into any problems your on your own. Luckily for me, I am able to dispute these charges through my bank. I’ve only used my credit card to make purchases online twice at Overstock.com and they are probably the only place I will ever use it.


  1. Dana says

    Oh wow. That is a little disturbing…and I’d say willfully misleading. I’ve seen a variety of offers which say they are free, but it ends up only being for a trial or a sample. Or somewhere they come out with the amount after you’ve answered a gazillion questions and have wasted several minutes.

    I’ve never been told something was free and then been charged. It is nice that credit cards have insurance. We had a dispute with a business once that the credit card company handled for us quite nicely.

    Principled Discovery


  2. Earthmommy says

    Oh no that stinks! You are not alone though, I’ve been there done that too. I once signed up for a “free” internet service trial and my paypal account was debited $75! I had to get Paypal and Earthlink on the phone together to get it resolved.


  3. ~ Angi :) says

    OH, Hadias!! I am truly sorry for your issue . . .BTDT many times . . .and I pray a quick resolution . . .

    however, [ahem], please forgive me my chuckle! I *just* saw myself in your post! You wrote:

    “So I’m standing there dripping wet, staring at our overdrawn checking account on the computer screen, trying to explain how . . .”

    LOL! Oh, how this sounds SO much like what I would do, impulsively angry, trying to figure it out, explain . . .the whole nine yards! *sigh*

    Hugs to you . . .


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