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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

Same issue here. Company now calling itself: SR SKIN,844 9656726, OH, and 8449654406DIETAWAKE, AURORA,OH

Ordered a bottle of Pure Life Garcinia for around $5 on Dec 27; they also charged another $5 for Green Coffee Bean (that I did not order). Overnight today they (under two different company names) made new charges of $87.47 and $89.31.

I cancelled my card and disputed. Also called the "company" and got the runaround about how the fine print said that if I didn't "cancel" within 14 days they would charged said fees.

When you disputed with your bank were you able to get your money back?

this is where they run there call centers from, and this is where the owner of these companies operates from. His name is Anthony ferguson. BIGDOG PAYMENTS 346 rue Aimé-Vincent Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC J7V 5V5 Canada

Fool me once....so on shame on me.. Beware, products have different names with different celebs, but all the same marketing scheme and will bill you monthly. If you cancel you pay for the "free" sample and the first month without a fight. Had to cancel credit cards and get new numbers with help of credit card company. Sites I visited all mentioned Dr OZ, etc

Happens with lots of differenc products. I found always read the FULl TERMS AND CONDITIONS and it is buried somewhere in all of those pages that you have 10 days from order to cancel, but then you will be billed for the "free" item and probably the first month and/or ship them back. It it hard to find the full terms and conditions because it is an obscure reference to go to.

I work at a bank and i see these charges all the time. Customers are unaware that when you give them your information you are in a sense authorizing them to debit your acct. Luckily because more than 90% of the time the name of the merchant is not the same as the merchant of the product you actually bought the funds can be returned. All you gotta do when you come across these instances is cancel your card. They cannot debit a closed acct but they can still credit it if they are refunding your money. Scammers are too smart.

Guys if you need a refund for these products it is very simple use buzz words for the refund and keep on using them until you get a full refund...use buzz words like ( Attorney General, FTC, Bank, CPA,) and stay happy

I ordered the trial offer and now they are charging my credit card $79.95 for something I never even received and if it does come in the mail it is getting returned.

I ordered Premiere green coffee and garcinia 14 day trial at 5.97 and 5.99 respectively for a total of 11.96 with the expectation of determining their effectiveness, not really expecting to purchase more, at least at this time. I was shocked to find charges to my account about three weeks later of 101.34 and 101.36 indicating they were to be recurring charges from ULTBEAUTY and STRICTLY FORSKOLIN PATHCOMMERCE. There was a number associated with the charge that turned out to be close to the phone numbers, each slightly different, on the product bottles. I called it to learn that far from a free trial, I had signed up for recurring purchases at these extravagant prices of a product that I had just started to take and have no indication of its effect as yet, and certainly no knowledge of this financial commitment. I saw an infomercial on tv and went on line to check it out and decided to try it so placed the order for the 14 day trail deal. At no time did I see any indication of this extended purchase deal, and I cannot call up the web page concerning these products to check out this supposed agreement. Premere Green Coffee and Premere Garnicia as brands seem to have vanished from the internet. When I called the number associated with the billing to my account. I got someone whose job is apparently to read a statement saying that if during the 14 day "trail period" I did not notify them that I did not want to continue receiving the product at its "regular" price, I would automatically be enrolled in their monthly recurring shipment and my account would be automatically billed. None of this was clear to me at the time placed the order for the trial product. In fact I don't believe such a statement exists on the web page from which I ordered, but I cannot find the web page any more to verify it. There certainly is no mention of it on the order page I printed out as a receipt.I asked to speak to a supervisor but was told none was available, but I would hear from one within 48 hours. Today someone did call and left a message saying just what the previous person said. They will cancel my order. I will not receive any more product other than the 14 day trial supply and will not be charged a recurring fee, but they will not refund the 202.70 charge already deducted from my account. I called back the supervisors number and got a message that they are all busy. I left a message asking for a return call. I want to see the order web page wherein I supposedly agreed to this. What do you think my chances are? Ha! You know this is their whole strategy from the beginning. This devious marketing strategy either never had a statement about their automatic enrolment or it was well hidden or disguised. STAY AWAY FROM ALL PREMIERE PRODUCTS AND PROBABLY ANY "FREE TRIALS"

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

Thank you for this information. I called Garcinia Cambodia and they said that any previous charges before the date I requested for an account cancellation could not be refunded. It wasn't until I argued over again that I did not sign up for the next month's supply and stated that I would dispute the charge with my credit card company and submit a federal trade commission complaint did they agree to give me a refund. They will try to offer a partial 30% or 50% refund but be persistent.

I'm on the phone with this same situtation right now. I'm threatning them and telling them I'm flagging this as fraud on my credit card and she keeps putting me on hold to see if she can get some kind of approval to give me a full refund. I'm so embarrased and frustrated

I can't report this scam to the BBB because I don't even know the website or the actual company name. Their emails were so vague, no number, no website address, nothing! I would like to get my money back but am scared that I agreed to the terms and conditions. I am embarrassed as well but this is happening to so many people. Any tips? I'm going to call my bank whenever the transaction is posted.

whatever the name of the product you received is the actual name of the company, there should be a call back number on the back of the product, if not google the product name along with free trial next to it and you should get a customer service number

I was just hit with the get your 30 day free bottle of Garcinia Cambogia for just shipping and handling of 4.95 then they don't give an option of whether you want the cleanse that goes with it so you just assume if you would want it you would check box so you choose not to have it you just want the garcinia then they charge you for both which is 10.95 so you let that go and then you look on your bank account two weeks later and you have been charged 193.00. so I called them and the guy was speaking so fast I couldn't understand him and asked him to slow down told him I did not order anything and he told me hey we got our money it is what it is you needed to call us 14 days after ordering it even though you've only been on it for one week because it took seven of those 14 days to get to your house to tell him you don't want it do that anymore he said it was in large print just as large as when you put your information in that is not true it's in the terms and conditions on the second page after you put your information in Lessons Learned what a scam

These details would be useful in a complaint. Please report your experience to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Want to take advantage of these "free trial offers" without the risk of companies having your card information? I do this for EVERY free sample I get. Get a prepaid visa gift card in any amount they have.. use it for whatever you want BEFORE you enter that card information into form.. Make sure you only leave just enough on the card for the free trial cost and if they try to give out that card info or charge you it won't go through because the balance will not be there. YOURE WELCOME!

I was charged without authorization on my card. The sample I paid shipping for did not do anything for me and I'll stop payment if they don't refund me. Scam.

Premier Garcina Now is a total scam. If you don't call before the end of 14 day trial you will pay $92.97 for the "Free Trial" with a reoccurring monthly membership! They also auto set up me for their Green Tea with the same deal and $92.99 reoccurring monthly membership. It took 30 minutes on the phone with their customer service and Capital One. They pretty quickly offerred a 25% refund, then after demanding a supervisor they came back with a 50% refund, but of course their supervisor couldn't speak to me because they were in all day training meetings. Finally I insisted that she find another supervisor of any kink within the company. She finally came back with a 100% refund. Be persistent, they will cave once they know you mean business. I did not have to send back the product and they promised a full refund posted within 7 days to Capital One. So frustrated by this type of scan and unmoral business behavior!

The pre-paid card is excellent idea, also, you can go to your bank, cc, and have them issue you a new card (with new #'s_) to stop any further charges. Its what I did, when I fell for the green coffee diet.

I just ordered the 4.95 free trial of Garcina weight loss supplements. My card was charged 84.52!!! These people at customer service claim the information is in the terms and agreement but during no point in which it says they're setting up to be charged! I was so angry! After calling and complaining they came with a 75% refund and said I couldn't get my full refund back!

These details would be useful in a complaint. Please report your experience to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Another thing I noticed - when you get the shipments, there is only a "packing slip". It does not include any amounts that you will be charged! That was what caught my eye today when I opened the packet.
I even had to do sleuthing to find out what credit card I had used because I could not remember! As soon as I discovered the card with the charges on it, I called the credit card company.
I am disputing the charges and they have blocked my account.
Why can't these companies just be shut down completely?

I have to say that I was the latest victim of this product. I saw the trial offer, which I should have read about first, and made the "one" purchase of the product. When I saw my statement, I saw that I was charged for the garcina and mango cleanse which was NOT mentioned. The total charge was $9.95. I quickly emailed them and told them that I do not want an auto shipment so they said ok. Today, I saw a charge of $79 for the mango cleanse! I call and they said they could not refund me because it was on the itty bitty little disclaimer that they have. I told them I would call the bank and they said my bank won't do anything for me.They gave me a 35% refund out of the total. Definitely one of the worse experience! This came from Premier Diet. So, just a head's up to all, if something is too good to be true on the trial offers, it probably is.

These details would be useful in a complaint. Please report your experience to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Same thing happened to me and i'm trying really hard to get my money back. I ordered it on a whim, however when I ordered it a popup came for Infinite-cleanse. I was trying to see what it was and clicked continued, but then I realized when I clicked continued it automatically ordered it for me and I could not back-out of it. The cost of the two products came to about $14 CA, so I said whatever. I ordered this on January 24. I later read this was a scam and people were being charged, so on February 6 I called to cancel but they could not find my account. I sent them an email the next day and it took them a full day to respond. By this point, I was charged $164. When I called they said that you are charged on the 15th day and it is on their website. When I made their ordered there was no terms stating that I would be charged, no warning. All they kept saying on the phone was sorry and repeating the policy. At first they'd only offer me 25% back, then the girl said she'll talk to her supervisor and they could offer me 50% but they won't go above it. I doubt she talked to her supervisor, all she said was it's policy. I've called twice now and they still won't give me all my money. I repeated to them several times this was clearly a scam, that looking online hundreds of people had this problem with them and I was going to report them to the BBB. He wouldn't respond, and then say something else about the terms and conditions and would just ignore what I said cause they know it's true. On top of it, in order to cancel the account for the infinite-cleanse, I have to send the product and they advise you to have a tracking number. This means I have to go pay more money to cancel the account. That's the only way to cancel the account, or I could cancel the account and pay 50% of the fee. The customer service is ridiculous. I looked up the address they gave me for the return, and it's just an apartment so obviously it's not a real business. I feel stupid that this happened to me, and it's pissing me off. just reported them to the BBB and FTC. Also, when I called back the second time he was saying that I agreed to 50% off, but the lady didn't give me anything else so I took it the first time. When you mention anything to them they just are scripted and repeat the policies. I was also told I would get a email saying i'd get the 50% refund, but I did not so I told them about it. They said they would make sure I get it. I want to cancel my credit card .. but I wanna wait to make sure I get at least 50% back. I'm trying for 100%, and when it's all done i'm cancelling my credit card and getting a new one. I don't trust them. Does anyone have any advise to get my money back?

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I saw that and then saw the coffee thing at bottom but I don't like coffee so I tried to pass on it but it wouldn't let me and I couldn't get out of the page. I tried to exit but couldn't. I wasn't at home at the time. My husband received an alert from our credit card company that a fraudulent purchase had been made on our credit card. He said he hadn't purchased anything and cancelled our credit cards immediately. Iafter reading all this I'm grateful he immediately cancelled our credit card and that the credit card company knew it was fraud and a scam. I just want to double check that I don't need to call the company. I never received an email saying I purchased the premierebgarcinia nor the premiere green coffee but they arrived today. Do I need to call the numbers or just forget it.

Don't order free offer it is a scam. I called before my 14 days where up and the lady (sounded like overseas India) said she doesn't have my information told her you charged my card and I am calling to cancel before 14 day free trial up. I called three different phone no nobody had my info Called my bank told them and they filed a claim so they can't take any money from my account. Total scam!

This is the biggest scam I have ever heard of, & they got me for over $500.00! I had been in the hospital for almost 3 months and came home to this mess in my checking account. The person I had handling my monthly payments thought is was something I had set up. " Supreme Garcina" had been billing me since 12/16 a charge of had $89.47/mth., under the name "SIL*TRYFITTODAY" and then another "company" called "TOTAL HEALTH" was billing me for $87.47/mth. I only received the "trial" offer of one bottle each of Garcina and Coffee Bean. The woman I spoke to said my 100% refund would show up in my account in 3 - 5 business days. We'll see if that happens. She thinks they are only responsible for 60 day refund, however, the bank told me I have retro to 12/16/16 to collect. The bank is going to follow up for me on the December charge and issue a new card to me. I am reporting all of this to the FTC as Bridget Small suggests. BTW, thank you Bridget for your advice. These people need to be cut off at the knees!!

I recently ordered what I thought, and what said, was a "$6" bottle of supreme fit Garcinia from some unknown website because I could not get back on afterwards. They said I would get the bottle and have a 14 day trial and then each bottle after at each month would be ful price and to cal and cancel if I wanted. Well I look in my account and I have a negative amount because they STOLE $89. I talked to several people and got nothing but blame and excuses and wrong websites and was told I would not get a refund even though I haven't used the pills. I talked to two men and asked for the website since a rude women told me "it said it on the website when you ordered" after I told her I was never told or seen that I would be charged full price for a "$6" bottle. Both websites each gave me were not able to be found and one of the men I asked to stay on the phone with me told me he was "past the limit to talk on the phone" and hung up. Do not buy supreme fit garcinia or ANYTHING from these fake scam websites. I will be going to my bank to report fraud.

This company is a complete scam.. don't order anything from them!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so today I ordered the garcinia "Free Trial" and was charged for only shipping and handling. I found it completely strange that THE SECOND I hit submit a lady with an accent called me and had already had all of my info on file. She kept trying to make me give her my debit card information over the phone but I told her I would prefer doing it online. After being so sketched out, I checked my online banking statement and I had two pending transactions from both garcinia and another account named "lesliegarcinia". The first transaction was only the $2.97 and the lesliegarcinia was $1.00. Dumb me didnt even think to check for online reviews like this but only if the pills really worked. Needless to say, I had already contacted my bank and was given two phone numbers to try and cancel the transactions. I called one of them and a lady who spoke english answered and said that she was able to successfully cancel my product charges and prescription. But as soon as I hung up the other lady with the fake accent called again from the different number and was trying to get me to pay for the other 30 day free trial of a product that most of their buyers get too. Then as soon as I said that I cancelled my order from the second number, she said was that it wasn't cancelled! So I asked her for a refund and told her that I was only trying to cancel my purchase until I received a new debit card in a few days and she said NO! She said that I agreed to the terms of use and when I demanded for her supervisor she hung up on me! This all happened within 20 minutes of me first ordering the product and I have already contacted my bank which said if any of the transactions go through they will be able to block all future transactions from both accounts. As a follow up I called back the first number to double check that I was both payments were already cancelled and that it will take 2-3 days for it to show on my account. If all goes wrong I will be continuing to call these numbers every day up until my 14 day trial is up! Anyone else with advice on how to put a stop to this before it gets worse???

total scam. As the saying goes nothing in this world is free. These people take advantage and make you think that, while hammering you for $99/mo. When you call, the rep is so rude she just ignores the purpose of your call until you can get her to clam up and listen so a refund can be issued. She questions you hard as to why you don't want their product instead of adhering to their no questions asked policy. The product is a joke, I pump iron 5 times a week and it does nothing better than drinking a lot of water.

Thank you for the advice of not backing down. I firmly, not angerly said No you are going to refund me the full amount. After several tries on there behalf of saying let me talk to my supervisor and offering a % back each time. I firmly said No you are going to refund me the whole amount, or I was calling my attorney and the Federal trade commission, and I didn't think he wanted me to do that since there's a on going case right now! I now have the Full Refund! Thank you!

I am another victim.

I am now in line to be evicted from my own home that I fought extremely hard for while my husband was on life support and my 1 yr old son in my mothers care while i ran around looking desperatly for a new home. My husband was BRUTALLY attacked with a steel hammer 12 times on the head an how has lo live with a Brain Injury. He is learning to walk, talk, write and LIVE.

my birthday just passed and it was a hard one, so I found this article of a girl in Cornell university who mixed the Apple Cider Vinegar + Garcinia Ultra Body Slim and ofcourse lost weight.
Since the attack i let myself go snce i focused 24/7 on my family and barely on myself. I am ashamed to look and feel the way I do. I thought this promotion and good deal was a chance for me to get back to whom i used to be and to whom I WANT to be. Mentally + physically.
I paid not for the product only for the shipping (I live in New Zealand and product was from the USA) it costed $10 total roughly for two bottles of one month prescription each.
I read the term and ocnditions and it mentioned NOTHING of deducting monthly payments after receiving the product. I had researched the product for hours to make sure it was worth it, i was feeling guilty since i was spending money on me for once and NOT my son or husband. Since we are drowning in bills AND debt. I received the product on Thursday or Friday and had $148 removed from my account WITHOUT authorization on Wednesday morning. I called my bank and they simply suggested to get in touch with the company and ask for a refund. thats all.
I was robbed two weeks ago and that ALSO stunted my ability to pay rent so now this 'scam' has gotten me to be evicted.

I have been emailing the company but they haven't really been helpful. just keep giving me a number to call that is in the USA which i cant afford to call!!!!
I am stuck. what can I do? In NZ we dont sue so I cant call them up and use the best threat in the book; the lawyer, court and suing.
And from my emails explaining my bad situation in my family economically, phycially and menatally they know I cant afford a lawyer.
I dont want to sleep on the streets, I dont want to lose the best home I have ever lived in - safe - my husband was attacked in our property in our previous home. which is why i worked so hard to claim this safe, clean and mold-free home.

help, me.
any advice please. I really am desperate. I never thought that it would be by my own fault that y family would become homeless.

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. You may want to contact your bank and explain that the charge was made without your permission. You can search online for information about local consumer laws and your rights. The Ministry of New Zealand has a consumer protection site.

I am from india. And I order green coffee beans extract product which is 50% off on actual MRP but after reading this reviews now I want to cancel it. I didn't pay anything to them. I just fill up the form on their site. Can u help me how to cancel the order.coz there is no telephone no mention on their site. Thanks

I tried the 14 day free trial with an ad that this is all you card eill be charged now they too out 89.00. When I called I was told there is nothing I can do

Call them back and demand a full refund or tell them you will report them to the FTC. That's what I did and it worked. Don't give up and get your money back, don't let these kind of companies win. I cannot believe people operate their companies this way, it's crazy.

Did anybody actually use the product?? And did it actually help you lose weight?

There are 3 years of complaints to the FTC on this scamming company, and I have been taken as well. Out over $180.00. Why hasn't anything been done yet?

I wouldn't recommend this brand to anybody!!!

DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT AND SAVE YOURSELF A HEADACHE! If you signed up for the free trial beware they will be drafting from your account within 14 days. Call your credit card fraud department right away and have them call the company on three way. This is the only way that worked for me. I had tried several times to fight the charge on my own and nothing worked until I called them with the bank on the line. Do not give up! Don't let them get away with stealing your money!!

I ordered the Garcinia product and have tried calling for hours and was wondering if there is another number to call. I just ordered today and am trying to cancel before I get scammed. Any tips???

I ORDERED A FREE TRIAL FOR $4.95 SHIPPING. THEY CHARGED ME :$34.87 Thank you STEVEN ZANE ROTHSCHILD! ORDER#: 8D8C8BC4DB Items Ordered Product Price Qty. Amount #TrimFit Garcinia $0.00 1 $0.00 #TrimFit Forskolin $0.00 1 $0.00 #TrimFit Green Coffee $24.95 1 $24.95 SubTotal: $24.95 S & H: $9.92 Grand Total: $34.87 FOR PRODUCTS THAT I NEVER ORDERED OR CONSENTED TO. WHAT A FRAUD ZANE ROTHSCHILD, ESQ.

These offers are total scams! They charge your credit card, then you get the shipment 2 weeks later. I called today to get a number to return the shipment, but because a new shipment is in the mail, I cannot return the product. A TOTAL SCAM! I feel so stupid for falling fit it. And - I did not loose one pound! Unfortunately I did not know they charged $88 until I got my credit card.

Please do not get in the SCAM. 14 days trial then they charge 92.99 per month after 14 days. If you do not cancel you pat for 1st month too. The credit card is charged under RadicalFolsk and the company name you will receive the bill is "Dynamic Nutra". 18449656856 is customer service. They do not take product back. They offer 50% mony back if if keep asking for 30 min on call only on last transaction. I lost 300$. Please take care next time buying anything as free shipment/free product as nothing is free.

I just want to say thank you so much to everyone on here!!!! I read these comments before I called them and as soon as the customer service rep answered my call I told her "hello I received my trial about a week ago and I have now been charged 176 dollars from my bank account so I'm going to need a full refund and for that to never happen again" she asked for my information and once she had my account pulled up she began explaining how the trail worked the 14 days from shipping and blah blah blah I cut her off and told her "I don't want to hear any explanations for why you took my money, I'm not interested, I did all my research before I made this phone call, my attorney has already looked over your website and the FTC notified me that you are 100% obligated to give me a full refund, not 25% not 50% but all of it and remove my card information immediately" she said I'm sorry let me see what I can do and put me on hold. A few seconds later she picked up and said she would be giving me a refund and that she was sorry. I was on the phone less than 5 MINUTES in total. I'm so glad I read this page I am usually a very passive person but I'm also a single mom so 175$ for no reason is something I cannot put up with. I hope this helps someone else! Just bluff!!!! Be strong and get your money back! THEY HAVE TO GIVE IT TO YOU!!!!!!!

Can someone give me a number to call and cancel this mess??? Eeverytime I call, it won't go through. I have 855-287-3319 and 855 258 8906. Thank you!!

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