BBB warns of acai berry weight-loss scam
Jan 8th 2009 11:00AM
Updated Jan 12th 2009 1:24PM
There must be a trigger in the human brain that short-circuits when we see the word 'Free'. (not to mention the acai berry, which WalletPop named the #1 hottest product of 2008)The latest companies to make use of this fault to scam innocent, overweight consumers are Central Coast Nutraceuticals and FX Supplements.
These companies, according to the Better Business Bureau, have conned consumers into accepting a 'Free' samples of acai berry supplements for weight loss, implying an endorsement by Oprah Winfrey that her spokesman vehemently denies. Other celebrities including Rachael Ray have also been featured in ads that aren't quite endorsements but are obviously intended to imply such.
In the process of signing up for the 'Free' sample, the consumers were also enrolled in a monthly diet and fitness consultation service, at a hefty monthly charge. On the FX site, customers are required to fill out the form for the order before they can even see the terms of the agreement, unless they are savvy enough to scroll to the bottom of the page and hit "Terms and Conditions." See those terms below -- can you see what's wrong with this offer?
A spokesman for Central Coast told the AP that customers were to fault for not reading the fine print, in which the terms were clearly expressed. Customers were given two weeks to cancel the service before being shipped $85.90 worth of product monthly from FX Supplements or $40 monthly from Central Coast Nutraceuticals.
|Need more about the acai berry?? WalletPop named this little wonder the #1 Hottest Product of 2008, so you can find out what all the buzz is about. Also see what else made the list.|
The lesson to be learned here is to read the fine print especially carefully for ANY free or unreasonably cheap offer, and ignore celebrity endorsements. Scammers frequently target those who want to lose weight, gain sexual prowess work at home, or get rich, so view those offers with even more skepticism. You won't go far wrong if you accept the premise that "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch."
Here are the terms and conditions for the FX offer (the bold print and italics is mine):
"Member User Agreement
By placing your order for Acai Berry Maxx you agree to be bound by the following Terms and Conditions. You also agree that by submitting an order this will serve as your digital signature and that you agree to the below terms.
You will be receiving a full 15-day supply bottle of ACAI BERRY MAXX (which retails for $64.98) absolutely free. You only pay the non-refundable shipping and handling of $5.95.
By accepting this free 15-day supply you will be enrolled in our Renewal Program. You may cancel your membership in our Renewal Program within 14 days from the date that you placed your free trial order and you will receive no future shipments.
Please remember, most customers see most noticeable results by using Acai Berry Maxx consistently for 3 months.
If you decide that you love Acai Berry Maxx (which we know you will) you do not need to contact us, or do anything else to keep enjoying the benefits that Acai Barry Maxx brings you. Approximately 14 days after your initial order you will be shipped a full month's supply (two 15-day bottles) of Acai Berry Maxx for the low price of $79.96 (that's a 38% discount off of the retail price of Acai Berry Maxx).
Acaiberrymaxx.com is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of our customers by providing safe and effective natural supplement products made with the highest quality ingredients. Extensive research from top nutritional scientists goes into each of our proprietary products to ensure safety and efficacy for our customers. We are also committed to keeping our customers happy by providing the absolute best customer service in the industry.
About the Acai Berry Maxx Renewal Program
When you order the Free Trial of Acai Berry Maxx your credit card will be charged only shipping and handling.
You will have 14 days from your original order date to decide if Acai Berry Maxx is right for you. If you are enjoying Acai Berry Maxx, simply do nothing. On the 15th day you will be shipped and billed a full month's supply (2 bottles) of Acai Berry Maxx for the low cost of $79.96. Please remember most customers see significant/noticeable results after using Acai Berry Maxx consistently for 3 months.
Approximately 30 days from your original full month's supply date and every 30 days thereafter you will be sent a monthly supply of Acai Berry Maxx and your credit card on file will be billed $79.96 plus $5.95 shipping and handling. This way you insure you will conveniently have it shipped directly to your front door every month and never run out.
If you find Acai Berry Maxx is not right for you, simply email our Cancellation Department at firstname.lastname@example.org to cancel future shipments.
Only one trial offer per household. Only one credit will be issued per household on any returns.
The merchant name will appear on your credit card statement as Acaiberrymaxx.com. "