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“Free” products weren’t really free

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The story: a company says its product will help you lose weight without diet changes or exercise, and you can try it free — 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

The reality: the company can’t support — or deliver on — those weight loss claims. If you give your credit or debit account number, you get charged $60 to $210 every month — and it’s almost impossible to get a refund. On top of that, you get enrolled in offers you didn’t ask for — with more monthly charges.

Add it all up, and you’ll understand the FTC’s case against Health Formulas, LLC and its network of companies. The companies advertised products from skin creams and “green coffee bean” weight loss supplements to virility and muscle-building products. Ads ran in print, online, on radio and TV.

 

According to the FTC, the companies used “buy-one-get-one-free” promotions or offered a free month’s supply for a small shipping and handling fee to persuade people to hand over their account information. Once they did, the FTC says, the company started charging them every month — not just for the original product, but for other products they hadn’t agreed to buy. Despite a “100% satisfaction guarantee,” people found the quest for a refund an exercise in frustration.

The FTC has information about “free trial” programs — and the hidden charges that might come with them. Before you try a new weight loss product, read Weighing the Claims in Diet Ads.

Tagged with: free trial, scam, weight loss
Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Comments

This has happened to me.I watch my statement every month If they don't correct it and take off I tell them I will report it to FTC or Consumers-Attorney General of FAIRFAX,Va.Sometimes it works some time it doesn't.I ave lost of moneythis way.Dr. Oz was the worst.and noneof them worked.

Dr. Oz tells you when you watch his show that is the ad says it comes from it, it is not true. To see what companies and products he does recommend, go to his website.

This is Definitely a SCAM do not order.... Customer service Agents are really rude DO NOT ORDER GARCIANIA CAMBOGIA

This is the WORST. DO NOT GET sucked in to the BS because its nothing but a lie and the customer service will pretend to get financial approval when really you will NEVER get a 100% refund. The most i could get was 50%. #VERYANGRYCUSTOMER

I JUST GOT THEM TO REFUND 100%! FIGHT FOR IT! I called to get my bank statement explained, why I was charged $87.47. The kids told me the reasoning and tried to get me to buy more at a discount, yadda yadda yadda... He said he COULD NOT refund anything at all but could cancel my subscription. I felt screwed over and said fine. Got my cancellation # and decided to google this nonsense.

Read all this on this page. Called back, told the young lady I had just got off the phone with my attorney and he informed me of the law suit involving the ftc and that she needed to refund my account for the full amount or I would start my own car against them and get the BBB involved as well. She started that because my account had been closed out there was nothing she could do. At that point I was more forceful and inform her that I will contact my lawyer in the morning and there will be a case brought to you I need 100% refunded back to my card immediately. She put me on hold come back and said she could refund 25% back to my card.

I said that will not do it needs to be 100%. She put me on hold again come back and said she could put 75% back on my card. I said that will not do you will refund $87.47 to my bank account right now and she put me on hold and come back and said I was able to get 100% approved to be refunded back to your card. DON'T GIVE UP! DEMAND A 100% REFUND! DON'T LET UP UNTIL YOU GET IT!

I had called, more than ready to get my 100% refund and guess what? Not only did she speak English perfectly fine, but informed me that there was no way she could give me the refund. Zip. Apparently in the tiniest script ever in the terms and conditions WHICH IS ALSO WRITTEN SO SMALL AND IN ANOTHER COLOUR CLOSE TO THE WHITE USED ON THE PAGE ITSELF UNREADABLE AT THAT - that I agreed to being billed. Why is it you ask? They send you a 30 day bottle for a 14 day trial, and if you don't cancel or send it back within those 14 days, then they charge you 90+ for BOTH products even if you didn't open them. The fourteen days are from shipment not from the day I received them, which means it came in the mail since I live in a remote area already halfway through the 'free trial'. I am absolutely furious over this.

She wouldn't transfer me to anyone whatsoever despite my asking, then further demanding and even bringing up the case. She said she had the power to help me and that she couldn't do a damn thing.

So here is what I have to say about this. If you venture into lands, maybe highlight the entire terms and conditions section, since they like to hide things in plain sight. And I mean literally hide. Amazes me that they can write such crap like that in white, small as hell, and get it away with it despite it being legible. My paycheck is out the window, and I am stuck scraping pennies for my family and I. Thanks.

If you enrolled in a free trial offer from a marketer that overcharged you, contact the company.

If the company won’t give you a refund, call your credit card company to dispute the charge. Ask the credit card company to reverse the charge because you didn't intend to order the additional merchandise. If you were wrongly charged for a free trial offer, report it to the FTC.

I called both numbers listed on my bank statement for this product and they are now telling me that my account does not exist. Should I call my bank and dispute these as fraudulent charges?

If money was taken from your account without your permission you could report it to your bank.

Do not order, it's a scam

Yep this is a scam. Do not order
Garcinia Slim XT. Sure your 1st one will only cost you shipping but after that they will start charging your account

I got scammed too! OMG i usually never order anything like this clean look now crap is debiting my account $89.95 & i swore i read all that stuff i didn’t see anything that said i would be charged again no email confirmation to cancel in certain amount of time. I’m calling my bank first thing in morning I’m hot!

I got scammed as well. I had already sent the company an email on Jan 11, 2018, specifically stating to cancel the order and refund my money from the order I placed five days prior. They sent me a confirmation email, and refunded only 24.95. NOW, I check my account and there is a charge for 89.95. So, I call customer service and the girl I speak with tells me that she can't refund my money because of the blah blah blah in the contract about the 14 day trial. I reminded her I emailed them to request the order be canceled within 5 days after I ordered it. After about 15 mins or so, they finally cancelled everything and sent me an email confirmation that my money would be refunded. The ordering system they have set up online doesn't even give you an option to decline their "additions" or even give you a warning that there is a trial period and you'll be charged $$ after the fact, or at least I didn't see anything that stated this. It just kept adding things without the option to say NO. Bad business for the consumer.

I was victim of this scam too. I saw the pending charge in my credit card this morning and called the CC company right away. They said they can’t do anything until then charge hits my statement. So I called the company to complain about this “deal” and they told me I was out of luck. Offered 50% refund then %75. I was working so not much time to deal with it. I plan on fighting the other 25% with Mastercard once I see the charge gone through with the refund. This is pure false advertising and fraud. The fine print is meant to not be noticed by most and the ad is misleading in every way. I am going to explain my case with Mastercard and hopefully recover the funds soon.

What email or phone number did you use

Hi! I am going through this exact situation and I’m concerned on how to end this. If you can, can you please tell how you solved this problem, or at least ending the problem?

I got conned as well, but I got my money back today, I told them I was taking legal action, sent them loads of e-mails, they rang me and told me I'll be getting a refund, don't give up, keep at them,

Could u share phone no. you used?
Thanks

I am in the process of trying to contact the company that have scammed me too, but their email address and phone number don't work. I have tried to get it but can't. I have not opened the pills, but getting frustrated with myself for this situation. They have already taken money out of my account ...

I know this is several months later, but reading these comments really helped me. So figure if this o go can help another person, I will leave a comment
Number I finally reached a customer representative on was 1-844-243-1268. Tried four other numbers, one number my credit card provided, and after being on hold for 30 minutes, the call was disconnected. When I did get to talk to a customer rep., she would only refund 50%, which I have yet to see on my credit card. Threaten to call attorney, FTC and BBB, she said she would put me through to supervisor. I have now been on hold for 40 minutes, and figure next will be hung up on. This company is a scam. I received the product same day I was charged for the next shipment! How was I to know, before trying, if I wanted to continue receiving? They tried to tell me the product arrived before my card was charged by one day, but still, one day is enough to know whether or not you want to continue? I will be contacting my attorney and BBB and the FTC as soon as the government is up and running again. I understand from other websites, there is a class action lawsuit against this company, so make sure you get info on this. After an hour their company disconnected the phone, so had to start all over calling again.
Update: after 2 customer reps, and 3 hours later, I finally was given a refund. Make sure you get an email confirming before you hang up with representative. They will try to hang up really fast, but interrupt until you get their attention and you see that you have received confirmation email.

I just got my email confirmation stating I was getting my 100% refund back to my card. Do not stop fighting them. Tell them you will join a in a class settlement law suit in they don't refund you 100%. I had to call twice, ask to speak to a supervisor and of course there was none to talk to. The second person claimed to be a manager. I told her that unless she was ready to be sued personally for the scam they were running that she either had to get me a supervisor or get the full amount back. They both tried the 25%, then the 50%, then the 75% refund and I declined all. I told her I needed the full amount or they would be sued for the scam they were running. And that I was going to continue to call every day until I got to the top. They are trained to tell you they are trying to help you with the partial refunds. I even noticed one of them was typing and talking to someone else as to get feedback. They finally gave up. They said it would take 3 to 10 days to get my refund but I told them that my money better be back in my account by Thursday or I will be calling again. They type notes on your file, so most of what you say is seen by the next person you call. DONT GIVE UP!

Call your credit card company they will cancel your order

Did you try this? I'm going to try that tomorrow and I plain on sending product back as soon as it hits my door step. I'm not waiting for them to take it out of my account

THANK YOU! I had called and got the NO REFUND spill and I'm broke! I then began to research and came across your blog. I called them back, told them the exact same thing you had typed verbatum, IT WORKED IMMEDIATELY! I am ever so greatful, thank you for sharing.

I was a victim of this scam and I called american beauty or the Garcina company whatever their name is. I got a partial refund with my bank on the line. but I still felt I should not be charged. I found this blog and I am very thankful . I called the company back and told them I would join the FTC suit and call the BBB. the rep got off the line and and came back and gave a full refund. they do not like the reference of the FTC and the BBB.
I received all my money back.

I was as well a victim. I dealt with this all day today to no avail. They kept telling me to call the USPS and file a claim of a missing package, which isn't an option by the way. I found this blog when researching this and also discussed my lawyer, the FTC and BBB. Once the person came back and told me that they could offer me 75% back, I said either 100% or the next call would be back with my lawyer to join the lawsuit. I was placed on hold another time and wouldn't you know, he was able to refund the entire 100%. Thank you so much for the helpful information!! I got an email stating it was refunded and will be checking my account as well.

I just called and they lied and said they already issued a refund to my bank!! I mentioned the FTC and BBB and they just said there was nothing they could do and to call my bank because there was nothing else they could do, and denied letting me speak to a manager. Any advice for calling back?? Do remember who you spoke to or the time of day you called? Soooooooooo frustrated.

I just had the same issue,I was charged 84$ I called them and said I needed to cancel and get a refund, he guy said he could cancel it, but no refund would be given, he wanted to read me the policies that he said I ignored when buying the product. I told him no, I need to cancel, get my full 84 or I will call the BBB and get a lawyer for your false advertisements, he said no, that there is no false advertisements and that it was my fault for not reading, I repeated the BBB and said, well, then that's great, the BBB will not find anything and If I get a lawyer then, you'll be in the safe. And after I said that he said he was going to contact the payment department to ask, he took like 3 seconds so I don't even think he called anyone or contacted anyone, and he gave me my full refund!!!! Don't let them take advantage of you!

Do you have contact info? I was victim of this scam but cannot find how to contact them to canel.

I tried pure primal KETO weight loss 60 tabs for $4.99. I did not know I was signing up for what has turned into a nightmare and hours of credit card company calls, as well as 3 way calls with my credit card to the pure primal /garcina etc site. the product was interesting to try at $4.99 it DID NOT WORK! I am fit just wanted to lose 6 lbs, but I gained weight instead! then I was charged $79.95 2 weeks later, i tried t cancel and then was in dispute with credit card. they just mailed me another one for $84.00!!! 3 way calls x2 today, nothing except they would give me 35% off..... UNACCEPTABLE! gosh, how stupid are we as consumers? I want them to reimburse me for my hourly rate of wasting my time! It is ridiculous and wrong in every way!

Call back and be stern! I called and they told me they couldn't do anything for me. I said I wanted to speak with her supervisor NOW. She put me on hold and came back and said her supervisor was busy. So I said "listen it was a free 14 day trial and I never gave you permission to charge my bank anything but the initial payment. If you don't refund my money I am contacting my attorney, reporting you to the BBB, going to make sure that I post daily and many times on Facebook,Twitter and any other social media that I can that you are a scam." She put me back on hold and her"supervisor" got on the line to offer me a 10% refund. I said "NO 100%". She countered with 25%. And I kept repeating ”100% or I want to talk to your supervisor." She got to 75% and I told her "you're boring me and wasting my time. My attorney will be filing suit asap and the BBB will have a formal complaint filed against you also. Good bye mame." She then gave me my 100%. Don't give up. Stay strong. And threaten them with anything you can. I don't have an attorney but they didn't have to know that. My then 16 yr old daughter was so impressed with the way I talked to and stood up to them she was telling everyone for weeks. She still mentions it. They were WRONG and you DESERVE your money back. You can do it.

Thank you so much for the advice!! I had to email and call a second time. I was very persistent, and didn't back down at all. I accepted no offers less than full and asked to speak to a supervisor repeatedly. She put me on hold a few times, and it was a long conversation. I claimed it was a scam and I needed actual proof of the terms, and for some reason she couldn't email them to me. I said I have a later and will claim a lawsuit. She said I was interesting
Lol. It worked out with a full refund!

Would you mind sharing the email info? they have also been taking money out of my account and I have no idea how to contact them. I didn't get a confirmation email or anything when I so stupidly ordered the free trial.

Can you share a phone number that you called?

Hi. I am letting you know you have to FIGHT to get your money from these people!! Threaten LEGAL action. I got all my charges refunded.....don't allow them to be rude.....they all were rude....talking over me....WE should NOT have to take that!!

What did u say to them?

Did they give you your refund back? I am in the same boat and I demanded a 100% refund. The customer service rep said he would give it to me (after I pressured him) and I got a confirmation email.

This happened about 10 minutes ago, but I just want to make sure I get my refund. Did they fully refund you?

Damn, they got me too. Pure Garnicia Cambogia, San Diego, CA 92130; 888-316-7691 along with Green Coffee Pure Clense, same address; 888-375-8698. Calling my bank now since it's only 6am in San Diego...

If you use all the information in these comments regarding the FTC and the BBB they will not question you once you ask to speak to a manager. I spoke with Francis, and she refunded my money at 100% with very little fight from me. But, I had read and followed all the comments on this page.

If what you are saying about "If you use all the information in these comments regarding the FTC and the BBB they will not question you".
Why don't you post the information into 1 paragraph so victims with disabilities can print out the information and state the details that help to get your money back?

I am a victim of this "free" trial BS too.. Charged my bank account for large amounts I cannot afford to lose for stupidity like this. I read the fine print before putting my information in. No where did I see a disclaimer that I agreed to pay large charges after the 14 day trial.. which by the sounds of it, starts when they ship out the product. I'm in Canada, it probably took 14 days to get to me from where it was being sent from. This is so wrong companies can pull this. I am fighting to get my money back at a 100% refund.

where did you find the cancelation statement

jack

how did you get a hold of them? i need to call or email or something but don't have any contact info

I also just called for a refund and while they did give me a hard time the man i dealt with quite quickly refunded me! DO NOT STOP FIGHTING FOR 100%!!! First, he immediately offered 25% to which i refused and said I need 100% back and then he said he could give me the full amount back but have to charge a $19.95 re stock fee. I said that will not do, I need the 100% back and no additional charges. He then said he could cut the fee in half and charge me $9.95 and I said no. He then put me on hold a bit longer and came back to say he will waive the fee and give me 100%. I was prepared to threaten with the class settlement lawsuit but it did not even come to that, I told him that I was found to be allergic to an ingredient in the product and cannot use it. The conversation was less than 10 minutes and I got my money back and cancelled the subscription. I will be going to my bank to ask them to make sure they do not try to charge me again, but I just received two emails for the cancellation and the refund!

what did you say to give them a hard time because I have called twice now and she keeps blowing me off and just apologizes for the inconvenience and then says there is nothing she can do about a refund and I threatened to call back every day and with making a class settlement lawsuit and she told me to go right ahead that I needed to do what I needed to do. When I called the second time I asked to be transferred right to the supervisor because it would just dave everybody time but again no luck at all.

How did you get the number?

Their number is (866)319-4197. They charged me over $160 just over this weekend. Make sure they refund your entire account and then CLOSE it so you never get chaged again. Do not take anything less than a full refund! Do not even think about settling, the moment you hesitate they try to offer only a portion of your money! Good luck- you'll need it

I had the same thing happen to me. I called my bank and told them it was charged fraudlently and they filed a claim against them. When I called the company the girl tried no less than 10 times to upsell me on future orders with a discount. I was furious! She finally told me after arguing with me for 15 mins they werent going to give me a refund. Buyers beware. SCAM!!

Im dealing with this right now. I have a charge of 87.47 on my card statement and i was freaking out. And i finally realized it must of been from the bottle of garcinia cambodia or whatever its called. It took forever for me to get it in the mail that i completely forgot about ordering the bottle. My problem is i did research and things after it came and decided not to take it. I wanted to send it back but there was nothing in my email so i could see even which website i ordered it from to be able to contact them by phone or even an address to send back the bottle.. So what do i do. Just dispute it through my card.. Grrrr so angry. That charge came at the worst time.

After calling 3 times to cancel and each time they refused to cancel, they extended the trial time, then lowered the price. So the next time I called I told them that the conversation was being recorded and they cancelled! Scum! Shame on Dr Oz and Melissa McCartney for promoting these frauds!

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