“I had purchased an item from Freemans and had been offered a £15 discount,” said Ms Fenton, from Arbroath. “By accepting this and ticking or unticking a box – I’m not sure which it was – it turned out I had agreed to pay £10 per month for services from a company called Shoppers Discounts and Rewards, where the idea was you paid a monthly fee and they sent you deals and discounts which would more than cover the fee.
“But I was completely unaware that I had done this when I accepted the discount. I only actually noticed it a few months ago when I signed up for internet banking and began to check my bank account more carefully and spotted an entry I didn’t recognise.
“I then contacted the company to cancel my so called “membership”, as I had never used their services or been into their website until I discovered they had been taking money every month from my account.
“Although it was a bit of a hassle to sort it out, they did understand what had happened and refunded me the full £210 I had paid, so I was lucky.
“But many people would not have realised what had happened, or have been in a position where they could sort it out. I’m now very careful about checking everything I buy online to make sure I haven’t signed up for anything I didn’t mean to.”