You are here

“Free” products weren’t really free

Share this page

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

The thing is, they aren't "hidden" charges. The Terms of Service are almost always laid out plainly on any page where you input personal information. (Including the refund policies.) Ignorance of the ToS does not absolve you as a consumer from the responsibility. The BEST thing to do is not to be swept up in "Free Trial", "Just Pay S&H", "Risk Free" offers in the first place. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

If you just HAVE to try that new supplement, read the ToS very carefully and stay on top of the cancellation within the trial period.

Personally, I do not think the bait and switch tactics of subscription services are ethical, but they serve a hard lesson learned when it comes to being smart against scams.

I foolishly thought that since Us Weekly was backing Nature's Garcinia, that it would be somewhat legit. WRONG. Not only are you duped into buying an additional bottle of green coffee bean stuff, I find out that they want you to send the products back or be charged $84 a month! I never agreed to that NOR did I see that info anywhere mentioned on the site I went to, through Us Weekly's article. No idea if it works or not because I only took a few before realizing it was a scam. I will send the pills back, which I'm sure I have to pay for, but hoping VERY much that I do not get charged ever again for it.

This has just happened to me today. They withdrew $236 without my consent after they offered a one month trial that I paid for. No one told me of the hidden fees and yet they called me directly. They even went ahead and sent me the Ben cleanse that I didn't ask for. I need to sue them cause they told me..i should've read the terms and there is nothing they can do. So rude. Dietplan and Diet web websites based in California. I can't even afford to feed my child now.

We were also victims of this scam in late December 2017. Our bank Digital Federal Credit Union, DID NOT PROTECT US and found in favor of the vendor!! BBB helped us get some of the money back but not all because one of the vendors would not respond to the BBB when contacted. I certainly won't be doing more business with DCU!!

I too fell for it. I read every word in the advertisement and never said anything about payment. I thought if happy with product then I would have option to make purchase. Everyone stay,away.

I did it!! I cancelled my order and received a full refund. It is supposed to show up in my account in 7-10 days. If it doesn't I'll repost. The previous posts were SPOT ON when they stated that you have to be KIND and PATIENT!! The rep came back with a 50% refund the first time but when I told her I'd like to resolve it without attorneys or litigation, she came back immediately with 100% refund and cancellation. I was dealing with Purebody Prodiet and Ultra Energy, those were the products on my bank statement. Not even sure now what I ordered originally but all I received was Press Garcinia. I was charged $78.91 and $83.41 respectively, for a total of $162.32. There was a separate number for each and I called BOTH all day but finally got through on the 844-819-8546 number. I even left a call back number for the other number (833-211-6340) but never received one after all day. Please don't let these scammers get the best of you and your money. Keep at it and keep your cool! Good Luck :)

Help,I got screwed too!! But who do you call? It says it came from top organic products,but I can't anything on them anywhere,please help if you know anything. Thank you

Almost certainly I’m planning to bookmark your website.
You amazingly come with good writings. Thank you for sharing your website page.

I ordered this product and when my credit card statement arrived there were already 4 billings of approximately $80 dollars each, for a total of $320 in a little over a month. My credit card company is disputing the charges and blocked them from further charges. However the damage is done. The return address was in Utah and I have filed a complaint with the state attorney generals office in Utah. If your product was shipped in Utah I suggest you contact them. I can't understand why the federal trade commission allows companies like this to continue fleecing people. Maybe state attorney generals will help.

I wish that I had read this before I place the order. I only ordered the free sample and got charged and shipped for more product in the same order. When I called customer service I got the same answer many others have said here I have to receive the product pay to return the product in order to get a refund whenever that is.
SHARK TANK really messed up with this product.

I had the exact same issue and I spoke to them and demanded a refund! After mentioning BBB, getting anattorney, the guy said he will give me a 100% refund. He gave me a confirmation # but I haven't yet received a confirmation email on my refund and now I'm worried. How long did it take to get your confirmation email and also the refund to show up?

Just got sucked into one of these. Called to cancel after reading this article and was told my order had been shipped and I would have to send it back plus pay $9.95 per product (there were two) for a "processing fee" which was due at the time of the call. I didn't have the funds at this time so I'm calling back when I get paid Friday and shipping it back as soon as I get it and also calling my bank to make sure no further charges from this company are processed.

They have been stealing money from my account. I never signed up for them I never ordered anything and I just saw where they took $184.90 out of my account and cannot get anyone to answer the phone or call me back or find the website for them to even look into any of this. I did not authorize them to take anything form my account. I have never received anything from them and I can't figure out how to make it stop.

I am going through this right now. What is the number I need to call? The number I found will not go through. Please help

I called 1 844 440 4558
This was for the Forskolin offer.
And I won after I stood my ground.
If that isn’t the number for you wait until you get a bottle in the mail and there will be a piece of paper in bag with the 1800 number. Don’t give up. Tell them you have a lawyer and you know it’s a scam. They then you will not stop until they give you 100 percent back. They will argue for awhile but you will win. They will try to cancel and make you pay for what they shipped. Say no. They will say they will give you 25 percent back. Say no. They will go to 50 and then to 75. Keep refusing. Eventually they will tell you 100% And cancel it and tell you to keep the bottle. Make sure you write down rep you talked to and get confirmation number. It will work.

I just experiance this scam. The 14 day "free trial" is 14 days plus 3 buisness days shipping. It took them 10 days to ship to my door allowing me only 7 days to try the product. Day 7 comes around and I'm smacked in the face (bank account) for $180. they absolutely would not give me more than $110 refund stating it was because I was beyond the trial period and the product was already opened. I'm lived and feeling beyond stupid for falling for this. P.s. I tried calling several times and only when I turned off my caller I'd did my call get thru to a human being. Every other ti.e it was just hold music and a hang up.

I called and canceled within the 14 days...and still was charged...I went to my bank to dispute charges they had me call from their phone and after a run around I informed them I was at my bank and they were listening in they said I will get a full refund so we'll see

These companies are scammers and the FTC should shut them down. I just got the Free samples and what tipped me off was the return address had a zip code of 00000 only to track the shipping from Arizona. When I called the 800 number he wanted me to ship the "stuff" back to Switzerland. Are you kidding me? that's B.S. and I want you to cancel my account, this order everything if not I'm contacting the attorney general's office and my credit card company to stop any orders from your company immediately. Finally he told me to keep the products and he would cancel my account, we'll see I don't believe it. Keep your documentation records

If you are looking for the phone number to call. look at your bank statement. their phone number is listed in the line of the debit.

Honestly they are ridiculous!! After ringing 7 times with three different numbers and getting hung up on 4 times, I was going crazy!!
They don't care about the customer service at all and after threatening the manager via email that I'm going to take it to higher authority I eventually got Through to them, they offered me 25%, 50% to then the full refund back.
Don't take any nonsense stand your ground! There scammers!!

like to see all bogus address and and contact's imformation

These people are a scam and they will take your money off your card and oit your bank every month Thanks to this blog i received a %100 refund after being told %50 then %75 i said no a %100 or im calling the FTC and BBB while your on the phone you guys have lawsuits against y'all as we speak and i will be on that list if you dont refund my money and cancel my subscription today she kept putting me on hold and finally came back to say what i was saying all along %100 stay firm stand your ground dont accept anything this blog helped me Thanks for making it it really helps

Today, I checked my bank statement only to find this company has taken money without me even signing up for anything, talk about fraud... luckily got my money back but something wrong with this company!!!

My wife recently ordeeed a free 14 day trial for Forskalin from a pop up ad on her candy crush game where we only has to pay for shipping and handling- 3 weeks later our bill arrives and they charged us $96 when we called our credit card to cancel-and spoke to their company rep out of Boston Mass. they cancelled our subscription and told us there was nothing more they could do for us. Clearly they are committing fraud. I am trying to report them to the BBB right now and am reporting them to the Boston Atty generals office to see if I can grt their business license pulled.

Can't believe I fell for it. They are horrible to deal with and I spent 35 minutes on hold...couldn't get a person on the line and they disconnected. This is after I thought I had resolution after the first billing. Ugh. Feel like an idiot. Didn't think blatant scams like this existed anymore. To top it off, I gained 10 pounds on this product <<insert eye roll>>

I just logged onto my bank account to work on my budgeting and this company along with another somehow ended up with my Business account information. I have contacted my banks lost card department and reported my card as stolen since it appears these charges are coming from the debit card itself. I checked and my card is missing so somehow I was signed up for this without knowing it. I have no need for diet pills. I am a healthy weight and in great shape. Watch out!!! This is fraud.

I am looking for the address to this company am beyond disgusted with them and they scam I would have never ordered this if I was going to be charged twice for two different bottles one $69.96 the $79.96. WOW!

did you find the address and contact info? im looking for it also

Same here shaking my head. They need to be taken down

Look on your bank charge for a number. The one on my charge was 855-633-1910. But of course, all agents were busy and have to leave a message

This is a scam and you can't get them to answer even immediately when you see the wrong price listed

I just received my "free trial" in the mail today. I paid for my shipping so they have my credit card on file. I read these reviews and decided to call them. They informed me that my card will be charged $150 per month for these products on a "recurring" cycle. I NEVER AGREED TO THAT! I never signed up for a recurring payment or shipment. I immediately told them to cancel!! After reading these posts I really hope they don't charge me anyway! Thank goodness I read these! Wish I would have done so BEFORE ordering from these frauds!!!

I want to WARN about the Pro Diet Garcinia Cambogia that they selling online about weight lose. DO NOT fall for this companies lies. When I read about the free bottle (didn't say it was a free trail) and you just pay for shipping. I am very good at reading every detail about what they will charge and send to you each month. There was nothing stated in their Terms and Policy. No this company has changed their name to avoid customers like me. They sent me a another package and charged my card $89.27 for one bottle of this stuff. I call and complained loudly with very little concern on their part. I was lucky they refunded me 25% of the order after I told them that I was recording the phone call and I was going to talk to a lawyer about them. So they know they are lying and cheating good honest people out of money. PLEASE DO NOT FALL FOR PEOPLE/COMPANIES/ ADS. BE SMART AND SAFE.

I cannot even get ahold of the company l. They just keep putting me on hold and never answering. Does anyone else have this problem?

I cannot even get ahold of the company l. They just keep putting me on hold and never answering. Does anyone else have this problem?

Deveiving Advertising-- The product is Forskolin Extract by Platinum Essentials. when i ordered the trial, a product called Mango clense is automatically added on to your order. I tried to get it removed immediately, but they gave me a bunch of bull. This is a Shark Tank endorsed product. Never again. The Sharks have enough money, why do they have to resort to these kind of tactics. I wont even watch the show anymore.

SCAM!! I CANNOT believe this company is still doing business...BODYSLIMHEALTHSTORE and HEALTHLINEPROADVANTAGE. If it worked they would not have to scam you. There was NOTHING that led me to believe that it was an ongoing charge. $789.25 charged before I could get stopped...never refunded. I would suggest canceling the card you used RIGHT AWAY....otherwise the dispute grows and becomes more complicated. Get the refund from your credit card company and CANCEL your card. Cannot believe they still advertise and are getting away with this!!

I called my credit card co. and they said since they had already paid out the charges that I have to contact the company which did 2 charges on my account under 2 different withdrawl names and they gave me a phone # for one and a website for the other to see if they would issue me a refund. While I was on hold trying to contact the one I looked the other up online and it gave me the same phone # that I was on hold with. The phone call the way it picked up and then had me on hold I just hung up and call the credit card company back and said to cancel that card and issue me a new one because I wanted not one more charge to go through. I doubt I am going to stress myself out about the money that I have lost but I just wanted to make sure that it stopped and did not happen again but the only way to guarantee that was in my eyes to cancel the card.

This sounds like the company that scammed me it showed the sharks it was a risk free trail I did not see anything about if I didn't cancel in 14 days I didn't even know the name of the company or how to get in touch with them it was ISO nutra garcinia

I ordered a "free" sample and paid shipping charges only, but they charged my account this week. Fortunately, my bank declined both attempts to charge my account for $90+, and they sent me a text to request that I deactivate my card temporarily, until I called them. This was a great service and I am now attempting to call both their toll free numbers to officially tell then, "NO, I do not want their product or service!" But I'm on forever hold. :(

I knew as soon as I confirmed the free trial order I had been scammed. I immediately looked at my bank account online and it confirmed my suspicions of being scammed because the information linked to each transaction for the small amounts had different contact information. First thing the next morning I went to my bank and told a little white lie because I was too ashamed to admit that I had been hoodwinked. I said I have no idea what those charges are for and filled out paperwork to dispute the charges and Cancelled my debit card. The bank refunded the funds and issued me a new card. Today I get a phone and as soon as the scammer/agent stated who she was I hung up on her. She called back within 15 minutes and before I could say anything she started saying since I hung up on her that she would consider my account accelerated. I said what does that mean and she said when I agreed to the free trial I clicked the box for the terms of agreement to pay $70 and I said I didn’t agree to anything and close whatever account she saying I have. She got more aggressive with the “accelerated” threat and said she would now charge my account up to $600 because I wasn’t agreeing to pay the original $70. We went back and forth yelling over each other and I told her I knew it was a scam and her co-worker in the room that I could hear disputing with someone else over the phone confirmed it. And I hung up on her. Am I worried.... NO. I had actually beat them at their own game. It had been months ago when I had cancelled that card so I’m assuming I was on a call list for them to contact me with threats in hopes I was dumb enough again to give them a card number to charge. She didn’t call back.... the original account information is no good.... she didn’t scare me into giving her a new one. Hoodwinked the scammers!
You should look at your banking or credit card transactions several times a week to catch things like this before it gets out of control. Cancel your debit/credit card as soon as you suspect any suspicious activity... most all banks and credit card companies do not charge you to issue you a new card.

I just 100% refunded. I did as suggested in one of these comments. All I had to do was mention speaking with a lawyer and that is my whole amount was not refunded My next call is to the BBB. The lady put my on hold for 4mins and came back on with authorization to refund 100%. I did ask when to expect refund she said 3 business days and then I asked for her name and said I WILL be calling u if my money is not given back to me.
So be assertive! And don’t give any room for them to talk! I made sure to also mention that their customer number is linked to many weight loss websites that don’t explain the terms and conditions nor display amount will be billed after 14 days. And how does it make sense to try a product if I receive it 2days before 14dy trial ends?

How do I get ahold of this company? I can't even remember what the website I ordered from and now I'm getting a charge for $90 when I made sure it wasn't a subscription before ordering one first free bottle.

what was their number you called? i lost my initial email from first order and cant seem to find website i bought it from

I just want to thank everyone who took the time to post about this issue/scam. It happened to me too - $88.97. After reading what was successful for other people, it helped me cut the time I spent on the phone in half. I explained to them that I knew this was a scam and read about it on the FTC website - how the representative would offer me nothing, then 25%, then 50%, etc. I mentioned the class settlement and just very calmly asked if we could skip all that and just give me my refund. I was only on the phone for about 2 minutes, if that, and the lady was not rude or anything. One other tip for everyone - at the beginning of the call, said I was" recording the call" and asked if that was okay. She said yes, and I think that made all of this much smoother. Thanks again everyone!!

Literally do not give up. Threaten to join the class action lawsuit and call the BBB and your attorney (whether you have one or not). They WILL cave and give you 100 percent.

I am charged on my credit card $89 and $94 unauthorized by keto lean.need resolution how do I get refund back

Thank you all so much for this information! I was being fraudulently charged $140 to my account for the forskolin and Garcinia cambogia one month worth of dietary pills. I called up to the customer service number three times and got nothing but rude and ignorant comments then was hung up on each time. I did some research after thinking there was nothing I can do about the situation, but then I read this blog. I just got off the phone with a customer service representative and said everything I was told to on this page; that I had just contacted my lawyer that has a lawsuit with the company and has been in touch with FTC and BBB and that I needed to get a 100% refund back onto my account or speak to a manager that can do so. Right away the associate said she could help me and offered a refund of 30%. I said no I need more than 30% so she put me on hold and said she can give me 50% refund. I said I need more than 50% she put me on hold again and told me I can send back the product and I will get a full refund in 2 weeks. I said that is not possible oh, so she put me on hold one more time and came back to tell me I can get my 100% refund right away. Don't give up guys! Thank you again.

Huge scam paid for free trials never received plus tried to charge me monthly, luckily my bank declined it.

Has anyone dealt with the forskolin shark tank thing

Pages

Leave a Comment