Grant website held hidden fees

September 14, 2009 3:58:12 PM PDT
A helping hand for those in need can be a tough thing to turn down, but if you don't do your research that offer can be costly. That's what a Houston woman found out after looking for information about government grants. The Internet is full of places offering to sell you grant information, but you have to read the fine print on the offers because you could end up with monthly fees charged to your credit card.

Looking to help her small business grow, Elisha Siros decided to find if she could get a government grant through Grants360.com.

Siros said, "It said a trial basis for $1.95 for a list of all government grants."

Siros said she read through the main pages of the website and understood she'd only be charged $1.95 for grant information. But that small fee wasn't the only thing that appeared on her account.

"Not only did they charge me a $1.95, but they charged me $13.76," Siros said. "I told my husband, 'Well, it can't be that bad.' So I left it alone. Four days later my account was drafted for over $57."

Siros admits she did not read through the full terms and conditions on the site, but says the main pages have now been changed to better reflect the monthly subscription fee and the cancellation policy.

"Sure enough, now it says it's a one day trial basis," she said.

A spokesperson for Grants 360 told us the website has not been updated, and that the monthly fee was always mentioned in the fine print.

Deana Turner with the Houston Better Business Bureau advised, "You definitely need to read through all of the terms and conditions that they supply to you because you're going to learn things about what's going to happen to you as a customer, what you can and can't do."

Turner says you should never give out credit card information on a website unless you've read the fine print. She also points out government grant information can be found free of charge.

"You can get all of this information for free at your library," Turner said.

As for the charges on the account, Siros is disputing them and her bank is currently investigating the charges. Again, read that fine print, several people across the country have had the exact same issue with fees from websites they did not see before signing up.

      QUICK HEADLINES | MORE CONSUMER | GET NEWS ALERTS
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC13 SOCIAL NETWORKING
Find us on Facebook | Action 13 on Twitter | More social networking
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MORE FROM ABC13
ABC13 widget | Most popular stories | Consumer blog
Super Saver blog | Slideshow archive | Help solve crimes
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Load Comments