By BARBARA jENSEN

Executive Director Senior Center of Finney County

"Negative option" marketing is when it is assumed you have agreed to purchase something by agreeing to a free sample or trial offer. Mark Huffman with www.ConsumerAffairs.com offers the following information and advice about negative options.

Columbia Record Club and various book-of-the-month clubs were early pioneers of negative option marketing. The hook was an offer of five or 10 books or records for free or at a heavily discounted price. By accepting the offer, the consumer agreed to "join" the club and receive regular shipments of other books or records at the full price, unless the consumer took the negative option, telling the company they did not want to receive that month's offering.

Negative option marketing is particularly troubling when marketers already have consumers' credit card or billing account information and can easily charge consumers' accounts without their permission or when they fail to disclose that consumers' credit card numbers will be transferred to another company and charged unless consumers call to cancel.

When an unauthorized charge appears on the credit card statement, many consumers make the mistake of calling the toll-free number of the company making the charge which appears on the statement. This rarely leads to satisfaction. A more successful and less frustrating action is to call your credit card issuer's customer service number and report the charge as unauthorized. The credit card company will be a more effective advocate.

Consumers should be aware of the pitfalls that lurk behind many ordinary purchases. Any time a consumer is offered a "free gift" or "trial offer" more than likely there is a longer-term, more expensive negative option transaction taking place. Read the fine print or just say no.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS meet at 8:30 a.m. The art class meets at 10 a.m. The Ambassador Singers practice at 1 p.m.

Friday: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by STEPS at 10 a.m. Craft Shop check-in/out is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A nurse is available from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge begins at 12:45 p.m.

Saturday: The pool room is open in the afternoon. Don't forget to adjust your clocks tonight for the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (spring forward).

Monday: Exercises are at 8:30 a.m. STEPS begin at 10 a.m. Humdinger Band practices at 12:30 p.m. Bridge and double pinochle begin at 12:45 p.m. The RSVP Board of Directors will meet at 1:10 p.m. The Upbeats practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Pitch is played at 12:45 p.m. The Finney County Senior Citizen's Association Board meets at 2 p.m. Open pool is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

March 17: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m. STEPS begin at 10 a.m. An attorney with Kansas Legal Services will be available with an appointment beginning at 10 a.m. Call 272-3620 to schedule an appointment with the attorney. Carly Smith with the Finney County Public Library will be available at 11 a.m. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. Pinochle starts at 12:45 p.m. Craig Stevens is the entertainment for the dance starting at 7 p.m. The cost is $4. Bring finger food for the break.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Swiss steak with tomatoes, peas, perfection gelatin salad, wheat bread, peaches.

Friday: Fish or Parmesan chicken, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts with cheese sauce, wheat roll, blueberry crisp.

Monday: Barbecue meatballs, Corn O'brien, stewed tomatoes, French bread, applesauce.

Tuesday: Roasted turkey with potatoes and gravy, steamed cabbage, lemon bars, wheat roll.

March 17: Smothered steak, baked potatoes, green beans, angel cake with strawberries, fruit muffin.