In this ploy the vendor offers to the customer the opportunity to try a voice or data product or service with no obligation to buy.  The trial period just happens to be long enough for the customer to become dependent on the free product or service.

The free trial with no obligation offer causes businesses to drop their guard.  If they do any investigating, they are more focused on the terms of the free trial and not on the terms of the deal, should they decide to keep the product or service.  Even if the company seeks legal council, the legal team typically focuses on the terms of the trial period.

Businesses involved in this situation can kid themselves into believing that they won’t purchase the product when the trial period has ended, but the odds are stacked against them.  Studies have showed that the odds of keeping the service after the free trial are greater than 80%.

Once the service has been installed and the company’s employees have grown accustomed to it, there is little turning back.  Since most companies don’t proactively negotiate the terms of keeping the service after the free trial, they find themselves in position of weakness negotiating after the fact.

How to beat the free trial ploy:

Don’t kid yourself into believing you are receiving something for nothing or that it will be easy to remove the service once it’s in place.  Proactively negotiate the final agreement before the start of the free trial, when you still have leverage and negotiating strength.  Recognize that the free trial offer is nothing other than a marketing ploy.  Consider whether your company is acquiring the service because your company needs it or due to the free trial.

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