There may be legitimate charges on your credit card bill that you were never aware of.

Getty Images/Spencer Platt

These phantom charges are called "gray charges."

Most often, you'll get these charges when you sign up for a free trial.  The problem occurs after the free trial period. That's when you have to notify the company providing the goods or services that you no longer want it.

If you forget to cancel you keep getting charged.

Boy, can these charges add up.  American credit card holders pay a whopping 14 billion dollars a year in "gray charges."

Are these types of charges unethical ?  Absolutely.  Are they illegal ?  No.

Anytime you make a purchase with a credit card, read the fine print.  If you agree to a trial run type of purchase, put a reminder on your calendar that the offer is about to expire.

So, keep a heads up when making a credit card purchase.

None of us need to buy anything we don't want or like.