Goliath / automatic renewals after 7-day free trail
I discovered one day a charge to my checking account listed as goliath.com. It was unfamiliar to me, so I googled and discovered an online business called Goliath. I did not have any recollection of using it, so I emailed them to complain that I was being erroneously charged. As with many of these operations, they had no phone number I could call directly.
I received an email response shortly afterwards that stated "You requested the Goliath 7-Day Free Trial Subscription. The Trial subscription renews at the regular monthly subscription rate unless it is canceled PRIOR to the end of the 7 Day Trial. The subscription was not cancelled prior to the end of the trial period; therefore you have been charged the full monthly subscription price." I was puzzled, as the site has little relevance to anything I do. In any case, I was incensed that I had been automatically charged on a "Free Trial". I scrounged around in my memory and remembered that I had been doing some research a couple of months earlier and was looking for some statistics. A google search pulled up the Goliath site and I signed up for the free trial to look around and see if it had anything helpful. It did not. I left and never looked back.
I have signed up for free trials for online services before and do not recall a clause stipulating that you will be automatically charged if you do not actively cancel. For instance, I signed up for a free trial of the Journal of Philanthropy. When my trial was a out to end, I received a notice of it ending with a query as to whether I wanted to subscribe. I did not.
I have no recollection of ever receiving notices from Goliath of the free trial expiring nor of being given a CHOICE of renewing. If I did receive emails, I suspect that I deleted them without reading, as I assumed they were spam. My entry into Goliath was so short and so definitively unuseful to my goals that I had no need to remember Goliath after that brief encounter.
I have been told via email that they will not refund me the two months of charges to my account.
My question is: Is this kind of practice considered OK or even standard? Shouldn't there be limits on such aggressive marketing that reels in unsuspecting visitors and then charges them often without their knowledge?