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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.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness
Scam Tags:  Free Trial Scams

Comments

I got partial refund from my bank and the partial settlement check but am still owed at least 90$ -why were the settlement checks not a full refund not even half? Why weren’t we consulted to know we are in a lawsuit or to provide our bank statements to get accurate refunds gross

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!!

This same thing just happened to me the product was ketogenix pro and ketogenix pro cleanse after a long song and dance the rep that i spoke to said if i took no further action he wood refund me 53.00 i told him no i wonted a 100% refund why are we letting these kind of predictors continue to operate

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!

Does anyone have a good number for this company? I haven't been charged the $87 & change yet but I want to be sure that I do not get charged . How do I send this product back? How do I make sure I don't get charged for this?

Thanks!

PLEASE READ THIS: I worked at the "customer service" call center. Tell them you are going to contact the Attorney General, BBB, and your bank. Be calm and courteous and listen the the script they HAVE to read. Refuse all offers of 25%, 50%, until they get to 100%. You will get your refund. Terrible company. Definitely a scam but if you do it just like I said you will get your money. Make sure to address every product ordered, if not they will cancel one and leave one open. Don't yell, cuss, get irate. There is no point. You will get your money back. The agents hate that place as much as you do and they are monitored so they have to go through the refund tiers. Don't worry, if you do it that way you will get your money back. I'm ashamed to admit I worked there for even one day.

So what do you suggest we do if the customer service rep hangs up on you?? I've taken all the advice on this blog and my rep kept interrupting me and then finally said that she has other calls to answer and ended the call!

Hopefully you got this taken care of, but if not call back. Get another rep. This is what I did: I told them I called within the 15 day trial and cancelled. They asked for the phone number I called from. I gave them my office number, but told them that I work for a large University and when I dial 9 for an outgoing line, I have no idea what number shows up then. After requesting a manager and going round and round and round and round with him, I got a full refund of both the $85.95 charge and the $89.95 charge. This is what I continued to say calmly, "No, I do not accept that. I would like a full refund. Thank you." I finally told him that I knew Steve marshall is the Attorney General of Alabama and the Better Business Bureau number was... and that got his attention. He still tried to give me 25%, 35%, 50%, and then 75% refund and free products, but I continued to calmly say that above and he gave me 100% refund. While I was on the phone with him I received the emails from the company showing my refund amounts so I know it went through.

Thank you for the inside scoop.

I recently fail prey to this scam and was charged over 185 for the products and was in tears because that was not money I could afford to loose. I read your information and you were right. I followed your advice and I am suppose to get my refund posted back to my account. So I will be checking this out. You were a blessing for the information because I was lost.

Does it matter what number I call or can I just call any number associated with them? Thanks.

Can you please provide the contact number to which they respond.

Thank you so much for posting this! I had to be very firm but because of your posting i knew what to say and i didn't give up and I got my 100% refund! Their a bunch of crooks!

Where can I call to get a full refund for mine?

I called 844/321-9422 and spoke to a representative who advised all supervisors were in a meeting but after 20 minutes I got my full refund and account has been cancelled so my card is removed from their system. I was told to make sure to advise them to remove the card.

The most onerous facet of this company (LIFEGLO), is the billing procedure. It is very complicated, and confusing, then to top it off, try to cancel! You are directed to different personnel that will give you options to hang on and try it for 3 months, then cancel or send it back. Meanwhile, you have committed to being sent new supplies each month. The good news is, that Visa (who we had ordered through), caught wind of the scam in the first place, and warned us. Sure enough, when the charges kept coming in we were able to file a dispute. LifeGlo tried to settle with me for half the cost. Visa came through, and reversed the credits on all of the numerous charges we had (from $.99, 4.99, to 79.99). Don't give in, go to your card company.

Please help me, Jenny. This company changed me 400Cad, but I didn't get any products from them, except 2free trial. Thank you

I was billed $486.09 CAD and was told that if I pay to ship back the latest package I was sent, I would get a 75% refund (minus the cost of shipping the product to me in the first place). I had already canceled my account, but they claim that I ordered a second trial sample which reactivated my account (I did no such thing). What can Canadians do about this (I have spoken to them several times and my bank even tried to talk to them)?

I was billed $161 per month from February to May. It is $644 in total... I called to the customer service twice and the guy said they can only refund 50% of the last payment which is about $80.00. During the period, I was a full-time student working 20 hours a week and moved to the current place. I was not able to check my bank statements every month and the three more bottles have been delivered to my previous landlord although I did not even live there. I do not know how to solve this issue and refund the $644...It is a lot of money to student... Please help me...

I have three charges from this company and I have never ordered! No idea how they got my card number. Unable to contact by phone.

This same exact thing happened to me!! I'm glad I found your comment and read it before I called! They did the same thing they did to you, it started off the lady said she would give me 25% of my money back but I kept DEMANDING my full refund of $86.94 back and told her I would report her to the fraud department and that I know they are scammers due to what I read online and eventually I got her to refund the whole amount back!!! DON'T GIVE UP!!! They're scared to be reported and they WILL give you your money back. I actually did already report them to the fraud department who is going to make sure that they follow through with my 100% refund.

You really do have to fight. I got 100% back. You just have to be honest with them, maybe cry a little bit. most of us can't afford a gym membership, much less this. That's exactly what I told him. They were stubborn, but eventually I got my money.

If you were to cancel your bank account and open a new one is there anyway they can charge you for it?

Yes I spoke with the bank and they said even though you cancel your credit card and issue you a new one, they will still be able to charge your new card!!!! SO in the meantime monitor your account. I just got done arguing with the merchant on the phone. They kept saying they will give me a 35% refund. Then another discount and I will have to pay a restocking fee of 10.49 and 11.99. I argued until she finally gave up and she will give me the full refund because she no longer wanted to argue with me. DO NOT LET THESE PEOPLE SCAM YOU.

How can they charge you if they don't have your CC #?

Thank you so much for this post! I got sucked into this scam as well and thought that money was long gone! However after reading your post I immediately called at 1:30am and fought to get my full refund back! I got the name of the person and made sure to ask them for a confirmation email, I let them know if I didn't receive the email/ the money in 3-5 business days as promisedI would call back and ask for the same representative. I mentioned that I would get a lawyer and report them to FTC because although they try to fight you and say that it was in the terms and conditions box that we checked I questioned why I never got a conformation email for the multiple charges of $77.84 and $86.94. They try to say that they are not authorized to do the refunds but make sure you don't give up!!!

Hi I have tried to call the number on their website but not saying for me to check the number :( it's an 11 digit long number.. what can I do??

Jenny y...plz help!! Ur situation seams just like mine the most. I just got off a 3 hr call and nothing, they will not refund money, I begged n pleaded, yelled, threatened, ext Idk what else to do? They took out 200 dollars, my rent money! Im so screwed n need help..im filing a dispute with my bank, but they said chances r I wont get it back because I checked the box saying I read terms n conditions, even.though the terms were unreadable due to color.n.small print! Anything u can do?? Plz im desperate!

Jenny, I'm a victim, too! I have not been able to locate a phone number, would you be kind enough to send it to me:

Under the commenting policy, we don't post personal contact information.

that is not personal information to reach out to the company to cancel a unwanted subscription that is not wanted or no longer want personal contact information would be asking for your personal house number or phone number

Look on the product label for a phone number.

Jenny, where can i find contact details to get in touch? I sent them an email but it bounced back multiple times

Did they ask for a case number when u stated u contacted a lawyer?
How soon did the refund come back?

Hi,

I am one of the customers that signed up for the risk free trial, paid the shipping and then I am suddenly charge for the face cream jars that I was not aware of, did not read the fine print. Just went ahead and got blinded over the buy one get one free just pay shipping. Because its over there 30 day supposedly trial they are saying the charges in my account is valid. I had called my bank to dispute the transaction, I am not sure if I will win but the investigation will be processed. I called the company to try to return the jars and they refuse to give me a return label, I manage to find the address to return them too. But overall I am not sure if I have taken the right steps, I also called them to cancel so they don't continue to charge me. The representative was sure to report my recordings and said you basically authorize this all the moment to called to cancel so your dispute will lose. Is there any light that I will come out positive in this situation????

If you see charges you didn't agree to, contact the company directly to sort out the situation. If that doesn't work, call your credit card company to dispute the charge. Ask the credit card company to reverse the charge because you didn't actively order the additional merchandise. For more information, please see the FTC publication, "Free" Trial Offers?

You can help law enforcement by reporting this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Hi Stephanie, do you have any update on what happened? I'm iin the same boat as you. 30 days was over so they are saying the $90 charge is valid. I called several times and even told them I was going to report them to the FTC and BBB and they said go right ahead. Ughh.

Hey Jenny i called back did what u did and he said it was my lost i already agreed to and amount. He basically said i was there was nothing I could do about anything now especially sense my account is already closed sense i called earlier. He said he doesn't even know why I called back. Please I am a single mom with no job and the money I have is all i have left until I can find a new Job. I only got this because it said shipping thats it.. I really need the money they took for my babys things and food.

Jenny,

I gotta say, your post was the most influencing post and I used your words verbatim to get my $$ back, although I am waiting for it to hit my acct. :/

Jenny-thanks for sharing your story. I just found a charge on my card for 89.56. I called my bank and they woudlnt stop the charge. I called this fraudulent company yesterday and was denied a refund. They did offer me more product at a 35 % discount-then again at 75% off. RIDICULOUS. I'm LIVID. I will call again and tell them exactly what you did. I'll share the results.
Fingers crossed!

Hi Jenny. I just got off the phone with these people. They offered me a measly $64 then withdrew it because I was going to contact my bank. So is there a lawsuit involving the FTC? I am going to take this further but need to know if they will respond to my request. Please respond if you can.

I ordered exceptional garcinia Cambogia at the beginning of the month. When I purchased it, it also added on a green tea bean extract without allowing me to confirm. I was then charged $79.52 for the green tea and $94.86 for the garcinia cambogia 14 days later. I called to dispute where I was offered 35%, then 50%, then 75% off my future purchases. I repeatedly refused and requested to speak to a supervisor to reimburse my bank. I was told there was nothing they could do but cancel my account. It went on for several minutes (22, to be exact) that I was told that this woman was able to assist me and any supervisor would do the same. I finally was able to be transferred to a supervisor, but was hung up on instead. Livid, I called back and went through the same thing with the next person. I cried, begged, pleaded, and refused to hang up until I was refunded. I was told that since the garcinia was opened that she could do nothing. I was told I would be able to send back the unopened green tea (with me paying for shipping, which I had already paid for initially), and they would refund me part of my money as there was a 9.95 restocking fee. It continued on this way with me pleading for my money back. Defeated, I finally hung up. I found this page and called back a day later and notified the man that I contacted a lawyer and know they can refund my money. Same conversation as the day before. He continued to tell me he could do nothing. I repeatedly told him it's a scam and I would report them to the BBB and FTC. He finally cancelled my account and agreed to refund me 100% of the garcinia cambogia, but I would have to send back my green tea and pay shipping/restocking fees. I refused and he agreed to transfer me to a supervisor. At this point I was hung up on AGAIN. I called back to hear the same offers again, and I refused. I told her I would not hang up until I was refunded 100%. She told me this was impossible. I explained that it is not impossible if the previous man was able to do so. She continued to resist. I repeatedly asked for 100% refund or to connect me to the person who could fulfill my needs. She put me on hold for several minutes and then agreed to refund me 100%. I spent over an hour on the phone fighting with this company until I got what I wanted. You are right. Do not give up! It is tiring, stressful, and honestly a bit embarrassing to continue to argue until you get your money back. It CAN be done! I mentioned that I read several websites and know that it can be done and would talk to whoever I have to in order to ensure that I was fully refunded. Do NOT let them fool you. It can be done. They take notes on each call so be ready to have them repeat anything you have said to another person you may have previously spoken to. Do not allow them to keep your money! You CAN get refunded! Be firm and stand your ground. These people will not stop ripping unsuspecting customers off if we give in and accept anything less than what we initially requested. It may take some time, but it is worth it in the end. I honestly don't even know the name of the company because on each email and website it is not clearly stated. I'm sure they all work the same way! Fight back and get refunded!!!!!!! Follow Jenny Y's advice and continue to request a 100% refund regardless of their "offers"!

Jenny, I cannot find a number for the carcina ZT company that is going to eventually charge $87 & change? Do you happen to know their number so I can send my product back?

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