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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

Call 855-201-0297

Stay calm, request a "Supervisor" and do not allow them to give you less than 100% of your money back. Make sure to threaten a report to the FTC, BBB and personal legal counsel. Do not take anything less than 100%. Good Luck

Wish I read this blog before going thru the same scam. This blog is over 3 years going and still these scammers are allowed to continue to operate and rip off more of us.
I called the company same as the above posts. They hung up on me and refused to credit my account.

Called the scam company back 877-445-2677 after reading this blog. Told them I was entitled to a full refund according to the FTC. Told them they can refund my $ or I will go with the FTC. The offered my 60% - I refused. They finally said I would be getting a full refund. I am waiting to see if it happens.
Thank you for this blog!!!

I noticed today I was charged $79.25 by these crooks. T.J. is who I spoke to when I called. He tried telling me when I ordered me "free trial" I was subscribing to a monthly program. I informed him I read the fine print and it said nothing of the sort. I told him that I did not authorize this payment and if I didn't get a full refund I would call my attorney and report the company to the Attorney General. He put me on hold and then came back to say he could give me a special one time refund of 30% and I told him that was unacceptable. He placed me on hold again and came back telling me I would get a special one time refund of 50%. Again I refused. On the third offer he agreed to give me a total refund. I am reporting them to the Better Business Bureau. This is ridiculous. We all work too hard for our money to let scum like this just take it from us.

Received my refund today 100%

Received my 100% refund today, although it has not hit my bank account yet, which keeps me skeptical.

To those who are reading this KEEP DEMANDING A 100% REFUND!

They will eventually budge and give it all back. Make sure to THREATEN AN FTC COMPLAINT, PRIVATE COUNSEL (AN ATTORNEY), THE BBB AND ANY/ALL CLASS-ACTION LAWSUITS AGAINST THEIR COMPANY.

On another note, I agreed to receive two of my charges in the form of an E-check, which also makes me skeptical. I will be asking for a hard copy of the check, not giving these crooks the opportunity to learn my bank and routing info.

I fell for it too! Found a 89.56 charge on my card, so I called 2 times and was denied. Frustrated-i headed to do an online search where I found this amazing group of people advice. I drafted up some verbiage to calmly throw at them which included saying I contacted my attorney and we are in the process of filing a complaint with the attorney general, FTC & BBB. I called a final time. I was told that when we do submit a claim that they would be happy to provide all the transaction details to show that this was a valid charge. He went on to say that they cannot restock an item that has been opened and that I would have to pay shipping, and with this-as a courtesy, he could offer me his employee discount. I said, no thats is not acceptable, I want 100%. He tried to offer a 35% refund-UNACCEPTABLE. He tried to offer a 50% refund-UNACCEPTABLE. He threw a final offer of 75% refund-UNACCEPTABLE. I WANT 100%. I was put on a brief hold and was told a 100% refund would be applied in 3-5 business days.
You dont have to be rude at all. Just firm-and dont take any offer less than 100%!!!

Thanks to this group..i am one HAPPY CAMPER!!!

What's the number you called?

Buyer beware. Your company is a scam. You promote that you give customers a free 14 day trial however that is not the case. You started the trial period at the time the product was order however I didn’t even have the product to try. I canceled this on my 14th day because I did not see any results and didn’t even lose 1lb. When I called they told me that the 14 days trial period started the day I ordered the product not the day that I received it. You know that it takes you 1-3 days to ship the product and you know when the product was shipped however you don’t even start the trial period from the day it was shipped (which you may not know when I received it however you know when the product was shipped) which makes no sense to me. Your company is a scam and is fraud. You deceive your clients into thinking that they actually have 14 days to try this product out and charge them an absorbent amount of money for it as well. I was told that I had this product for 18 days which would make sense because I called you on the 14th day and the other 4 days were a result of how long it took to ship and then the time it took to get to me. Another disappointment was that when I ordered Garcinia, I thought the order did not go through and when I clicked on the other bottle (Forskolin) it automatically ordered that as well which I was not looking to purchase. Another way for you to scam people into ordering something they didn’t intend to order.

I will never recommend this product or your company. How can you start a 14 day trial when the product hasn’t even shipped? All the details are hidden purposely in your terms and conditions along with the cost. When you send the email that the product has shipped why wouldn’t you state that the trail started on the day I ordered it? Why wouldn’t you state the in the email you sent the cost I will be charged? You charged $150 for both bottles (1 bottle I didn’t even want it just automatically order because I didn’t think the order went through) and that is a complete rip off!!! You don’t state anything in the email that you send because your company is a scam and is fraud. You don’t state anything like this in your email because that is how scam people and you know that if you put this in an email that no one would buy it!

I can imagine that a lawyer would love to file class action lawsuit against your company. I know that I am not the only one that was scammed by your company!!!

Very disappointed and will write a review online to let everyone know to beware!! The devil is in the details.

346 rue Aimé-Vincent Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC J7V 5V5 Canada

This is there headquarters, I worked there on the phones and they tried to train me to become a scammer. I quit within 2 days, This is the headquarters where they operate from. Its in Quebec, Canada. SO messed up.. I cant believe this is still going on.

You can report this directly to law enforcement at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I too, fell for it. It did not say anything about cancelling after 14 days. I was charged about $160.00 i called the company and they couldn't refund back because i "supposly accepted the subscriptions " . I called back a few hours later and demand a full refund & told them if they dont, i would report them to the FTC & BBB. He put me on hold and offer 30% refund. I said no, i want 100%. He put me on hold again but the line was disconnected. I called 3 times with no answer. I gave it one more called. The same guy picked up and asked for my information. I said to him, yeah, because you hung up on me" he insisted on 75% . I kept saying no and offer to report them to the TFC . I even told him i would be more than glad to speak to his manager. He asked me if i still have the two bottles they sent me. I told them, no. I only got one. Thats why i was wondering why i was charged twice. I even told him i would send it back to show proof. He then put me on hold for the 5th time and then finally, he said he can give me the full 100% refund buy will take a few days.

I never thought this would happen to me. If anything, buy it from the store. I have learned my lesson. Like everyone else here, keep fighting it through and get 100% refund

this is a big scam I sent a report to the better business bureau to fight it and called my bank to dispute the charges not worth it at all do not buy this

I suggest anyone who orders this that they called cancel as soon as you get the order ! It took me over an hour to cancel this even after I explained that their product caused me to vomit . Went in 30 minutes of taking their product I was violently ill ! They kept trying to get me to continue with the product even after I told them it made me I'll. First she said we'll give you a 20% discount for the next shipment. I said no so she comes back with a 50% discount and again with a 75% discount lol . I told her I wouldn't take their product if they paid me ! I just finished 12 months of chemo and was violently ill from it so I had no desire to take their product that caused the same reaction! So please don't even try this crap ! It's not worth the grief ! Make sure you get a confirmation number with your cancellation!

What’s the phone number please

Who do I call what’s the number please

I need help I was scammed how do I tell to stop taking my money ?

I cant even find a number to call these people!!! My bank wants me to get more info from these people and I don't even have an invoice with a number to call them. Please help!!!

call 800-561-3593.

I accepted free products just shipping costs. I've been charged shipping x 3 and 58.95 out of my bank twice n my bank won't do anything about it. They say I have to contact company. I have no details!

I was just a victim of this free trial and emailed them last weekend telling them the product didnt work on me and boom....last night i saw my bank with withdrawal and another one this morning. Phoned my bank first thing this morning and advised me what to do. Called the company but to no avail. the product came with no tems and condition just a coupon for free gas and brouchure on how to use the product. i cant even find the website which they are claiming that it says in thier website all the terms and condition. When i search the name of the product i couldnt find the website.my bank said to call them bank by next week to seeif my money will be back in my account. they are doing the dispute. do u think my bank can do something about it. they said it is still not posted on my account so they will just have to wait if the company will do something if not they will help me on thier side.

Just got the bottles in the mail today, checked my credit card bill and they charged me $90 apiece for the Green Coffee and the Garcinia. Sad thing is the product worked for me and I lost 14 pounds that first month. I thought something was up when I went on their website and could only get the free sample couldn't find out the price to buy it. I'm calling my credit card company tomarrow to dispute the charge and have them give me a new credit card number. I'm calling the pill people and telling them so. I can buy a different brand and pay $10 to $25 a bottle. And why was this thing tied to a Wallmart email? I even checked customer reviews on another website before I ordered to see if it was a scam. This should be against the law.

They did the same thing to me. They charged $82 from my account without me authorizing them. I called them and they said they would not refund my money. But after reading all this I'm going to give them a call back and fight for my money.

I called Pure Natural this morning to cancel my account (that I didn't realize that I had). They offered me 65% off the Garcinia and 70% off the green coffee. I told them it was still to much money and to just cancel me now.I didn't ask for a refund,figured I'd eat it for my own stupidity. Then I called myself bank and they cancelled my credit card and gave me a new account so these people can't access my card again.I don't trust them. The bank is also disputing the charge and put the charges on hold.The thing I'm most upset about is the ad (email)that I ordered it from said it was a gift from Wal-Mart for being a good customer. That is fraud, plain and simple.

OMG!! i fell for this too! scammers!!!! I already called my bank to reverse all these since i did not order these items and blocked my card already! don't know what to do with the two bottles arrived in my house today but i did not order these. any help pls? Thanks!

So I did exactly what Jenny Y said and called absolutely pissed. And he kept saying I'd have to return it and everything else. So I asked to speak to a manager or supervisor and he said that he was busy of course. He said it'd be a 10-20 minute wait so I said okay I'll wait but I'm not hanging up. I made sure 3 times he cancelled the subscription and when he told me he couldn't get the refund I brought up the attorney and FTC. So he said I'll get you your refund. I hung up then called again to make sure with a different person. I asked for the rma number to return it and the guy was like I had been approved for a refund without needing to return. They get scared but don't want you to know that!!!

THIS PRODUCT IS A SCAM!! They said it was a free trial with a charge of $4.95 and they charged my card over $80.00. They didn't have a fine print. DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT ITS A SCAM!! AND WASTE OF MONEY!!

I can't believe I fell for this stupid scam, but I did, and it DEFINITELY was not clear that this would be charged. I was charged $150, threw a fit, and nothing. Called my bank and nothing. I am an attorney, so I called back again and told them I am an attorney, I researched the FTC case, and I was going to join the class action and file my own personal case against them if they did not refund the entire amount. They put me on hold, came back and said they would refund in 10 days. We will see if I actually get it in 10 days but if I don't I will be calling in a rage!

What number did you call as I’ve tried a few. Please help?

American research khemicales in Hollywood Florida is trying to send a sample of degreaser and I said do not send..then they wanted my last name. I refused to give them. They called another company to find out my last name. Now there sending 20qt degreaser to me per an email they sent and I responded do not send. But I'm sure they will send anyway. They need to be stoped. There sells tactics are deceiving and wrong.

If you receive merchandise that you didn’t order, you have a legal right to keep it as a free gift.

Always start by trying to resolve your dispute with the company. If this doesn’t work, contact your state or local consumer protection office or local U.S. Postal Inspector. The Direct Marketing Association also may be able to help you.

For more information, please see the FTC publication, Unordered Merchandise.

That went well! I had the same problem of being charged for the two 'free' bottles, then the 14 day 'trial period' expired shortly after I received them. I didn't realize that if you liked it, you had to pay the full price. Really a scam! So I started my quest to bet my money back, and called three different numbers: the ones on the bottles, and the one in the ad. None were operational! Then I realized there is a phone number, if you read it closely, on the bank entry. The first one just had a weird noise. BUT on the second one, I hit paydirt! The young lady started out very friendly but became very curt when I persisted. She ended up telling me that she had explained it to me, and hung up! Of course, I called back and this time got a male. He may have been newer on the job. He went through the canned routine, reading his script. Then he came back with an 25% offer, to which I declined. Then 50%; I said' No 100%. I had told him that I knew about a class action suit and my lawyer was prepared to enter this into it. Came back this time with "OK, it will be returned 100%." and gave me a confirmation number! SO,we will see if it comes through! It took just under 6 minutes for him to see the light!

This has happened to me and I think something needs to be done about them. Why can;t a suit be brought against them. It is wrecking my credit. It dropped 46 points this month because I am using so much credit it ran my card over. The man I talk to is a jerk and very nasty. I have sent products back but they deny it. I insured on package back but they deny it and UPS says it was delivered. Don't know what to do..

PS to note just sent: I have received two emails stating that my refund has been sent to my charge card. I will watch to see if it shows up.

I did it! Thanks to this site: I called several numbers - the one on the ad was 'not in service' as were a couple of others that showed up on the bottles & elsewhere. I looked at my bank statement and noticed phone numbers on the billing. One of them was active. The first time I called, the gal gave me the usual canned information, when I argued, she said I have told you everything. and hung up. I called back and got a guy. He gave me the usual 24%, 50%, 75%, and finally said, OK, 100% It will be on your account in 5 - 7 days here is a confirmation number. This was on Saturday AM. Then, I got to worring: I had told my bank that I wanted to dispute the charges, and they had given me a new VISA number so nothing more could be charged by them. I wondered if the credit would roll over onto the new number, and couldn't find out until this morning, when I was told, yes it would. Lo and behold, when I checked my account this evening, both credits are there! Thank you, all who gave advice here. It does work! I have learned my lesson!

I got the same issues. I was charged $69.97 and $89.97 at 2 weeks after I signed and paid the shipping fee for the free trial products. Then 6 days after I received the products, I got charged. I called them, and wanted to returned the products to get full credits. They said if I return, they will charge $9.95 each for the restocking fees, plus fee of shipping my products, they said it would be best to accept 50% credit back while keeping the products. I had to accept the products, but I did not get any money back. I kept calling the company, and they kicked the ball back to the bank. I was tired. They would not like to return the full money back.

I ordered this product 8 days ago. I printed out the receipt (Thank goodness) and wrote down the date that I thought I had to cancel by. But because I had not received it yet I looked further at the receipt which stated that "if I don't cancel your MyLife Garcinia trial before the end of the 14-day BEGINNING today (the day I purchased), you will be charged the full price of $79.95 for the trial product in hand and every thirty days thereafter you will be charged $79.95 and automatically receive an additional 30 day supply of our prouduct.

Cancel your 14-day trial at any time by calling 800-561-3593 during regular business hours or e-mail care@ mylyfesupplements   " I called there this morning and was informed my order was sent out and that I should have it 1st thing next week.  Which would mean that I would have been charged the full price almost without even receiving. I then at that point asked her to cancel my order and do not put me on auto ship. She said I would then have to either return what product was unused and they would only charge me $19.95. I basically told her that this was illegal. Within a few minutes, she cancelled my auto and waived any charges. She also told me that I should still receive the shipment since it is already on the way and it could not be stopped. Am I fortunate to look at my original receipt. Yes. But this is today. I will most definitely keep an eye out on my bank account.

I just received an 89 dollar charge. I called and said what this site said to say. They tried to offer 30 the 50 percent. I was stern and yelled. Got a full refund and cancelled account. Thank you for your help.

Definite scam. Received "trial" bottle then credit charges were from $95 up to $210. Called customer service to cancel and they were rude and it took months to get only part of the $$ back. DON'T DO IT!

This page is an absolute lifesaver! I was able to get 100% refund for the charge they made yesterday (May 15th) for $87.00 (they said they shipped a product on the 12th). However, I have not been able to get a refund for the charge of $80.00 in April. I didn't see the charge and am now wondering if I can fight to get this charge removed too or if too much time has passed?

I paid the $4.95 on March 30th.
Charged $80.00 on April 14th.
Charged $87.00 on May 15th (which I have now been refunded)

Any of you have any experience going back and disputing another charge??

I just called them and said the same thing. I told her that there is a blog full of disgruntled customers and I may have to contact my lawyer. Saying the word lawyer completed shifted the conversation. Sadly I am not a confrontational person and I was at work so I had to do it quickly, but I did receive 75% after a 10 minute phone conversation. The whole thing was a load of bull. She said she had to speak to her manager to see if she could give me her employee discount of 75%. After being put on hold, she came back saying that we're lucky that her manager was in a good mood. And then offered me the discount. I told her I would take it because I needed to finish work and couldn't fight long enough for 100%. Just mention lawyer and you should be fine.

So I contacted the company after seeing a charge of $79.95 posted to my card to get a full refund since I had received my trial period product on the 14th day in the mail and they offered me a 60% refund because I just got the product when the trial was ending. "Donna" would not offer anymore because she claimed to have a shipping confirmation she had received saying I received the product on the 13th day of the trial period which means I had to see if the product worked for me in a span of one day's time. I called my bank to dispute it and will be receiving a full 100% refund. Do not order with this company. They try to justify the immoral practice of time and terms and conditions policies to rob consumers of their money.

This same thing happened to me, last month and I got my money back. First, I did call the company and they talked to me like crap and hung up on me. Then I did some research and called back with the "I'm gonna call the FTC" and throwing around the word "lawsuit" and "sue" and they only offered me 35% of my money. So, I went to my bank and told them that I had 2 unauthorized charges on my account. I originally ordered the Garcinia Cambogia and Coffee Bean Extract for $5.99 and $4.99 respectively, which was the trial. I did not authorize them to then turn around and charge me $97 and $98 for some pills. Who in their right mind would pay $200 for some pills? I told my bank that I called the company and cancelled the subscription before the trial ended, they asked me for a cancellation number, I told them I didn't get one from the company. They started the investigation and I had my money back within a week or so, I think. It didn't take too long. I say, go through your bank, don't even contact the company because they will just frustrate you and lie to you and tell you that you can't get your money back, but you can. Just tell your bank that you called and cancelled the subscription before the trial ended, whether you did or didn't, there is no way that they can tell, unless you call the company and say you didn't. Just keep saying that you called and cancelled and they charged you anyway. Just keep saying that like a broken record if you call the company, if they ask for a cancellation number just say you didn't get one. Good Luck to everyone.

Just discovered the charges yesterday for $80 and then another $80 this morning pending. Called and told them this was a scam. She informed it was not that I had 14 days to cancel my free trial and I didn't. I said why wasn't that in the bold text like the just pay shipping was? She kept arguing me about this and finally I told her I wanted a refund and to send back the product because I never opened it. So she goes on to say I should try the product before cancelling. I told her there was no way I'd pay that much for a pill that didn't come from a doctor's office. She then informed my that they do not allow the products to be returned as I found to be ridiculous and told her that was a horrible way to conduct business minus the scam. I then told her that I wanted my refund regardless. She told me she could do 35%. I said um no you took 100% and that's what you need to refund. Then it went to 50%, I told her she must have not understood me and asked to talk to a manager, she wasn't gonna allow that, so I get placed on hold once again, also she was very rude from the beginning so of course that set my attitude high as well. So she comes back the third time with 75%, at this point I ask her Why she can't comprehend simple requests. Pleased on hold once again while I was talking for her to come back and say all my money will be refunded and hung up on me. Got a an email confirmation and another stating my account was cancelled. Keep on pushing y'all.

I had purchased this product and when I found out they took out $180 from my bank account I was furrious and after reading the comments, I decided to call the number that was placed on my account history under the product. I called and the first guy canacled my account but he continuously denied that he gave out refunds. After about 5 minutes he hung up on me. I called back and was transferred to woman and everything she was saying was the exact same that the man was. It's all scripted no matter what they say, down to a T. It's all also BS. Don't let them fool you. I kept demanding a refund and she kept saying no, but the moment I started to threaten them with a report to the BBB, the FTC and the consulper protection attorney general (of my state), she caved and told me she could do a 30% refund. I told her I didn't want that, I wanted it all and she took a minute and then offered a "special one time offer" of 50%. I straight up told her I want every single penny they stole from me and she eventually told me she could give me a full refund. She gave me a confirmation code and I was sure to get her name as well. She told me within 5-30 days the money should be back. Don't take no for an answer, they will cave, you just have to push hard on them and threaten to file reports. The moment they hear that, they'll give in.

Pay attention people, i have worked customer service for these companies for almost 1 year. I see exactly how they work, #1, don't yell and scream, the reps can usually help you, but you get more flies with honey then with vinegar. If a customer is yelling I do everything to make that person as miserable as possible, you don't want to come down to my level, I will beat you with experience. #2 You can dispute the charges if you want, but remember you did sign up for the trial and agreed to the terms(whether you read them or not) The company will fight the disputes and usually wins, but the companies try to avoid the disputes if possible so will usually give refunds. #3 Supervisors on the floor ccan usually do more than the average phone reps, but they are still limited by the terms of the trial and instructions of the manufacturer #4 We don;t care about how many people you know and negative publicity on Facebook, don;t waste your breath.

I keep trying to call to cancel my membership, I've called maybe 12 different numbers and all of them have told me that they're unable to locate my account, yet I've gotten charged for 3 different items. I also haven't received an email or anything about the products I've bought, anyone know what I should do?

CHANGE YOUIR CREDIT CARD , DEBIT CARD NUMBER BY TELLING YOUR CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT THAT YOU LOST YOUR CARD. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE CHECKS OR IF YOU DO, EXAMPLE GO GET ABOUT $200.00, MORE IF NEEDED UNTIL YOUR CARD COMES. MY NEW CARDS ALWAYS COME WITHIN 3 DAYS EVEN THOUGH THEY SAY IT COULD TAKE UP TO 10 DAY. MOST ALL BANKS WILL GIVE YOU A TEMORARY DEBIT CARD, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GO INSIDE THE BANK UNTILL THE NEW CARD COMES ABD THEY WILL ISSUE YOU **ALAYS SAY IT WAS LOST, MOST BANKS WILL NOT HOLD YOU RESPONSIABLE FOR THE ORDER YOU PUT IN, YOU**MUST** TELL THEM YOU LOST THE CARD THE DAY OR 2 DAYS BEFORE YOU GOY USED.

Of course I had the same experience, FREE trial, just pay S&H
The Scam was ADVANCED SKIN and SKIN BALANCE .
I emailed them as soon as I realized it was scam the day after I ordered , so they WERE notified that I absolutely wanted NOTHING more from them, no subscribing
Yet they charged me 400 for these 2 products . My bank Aventura Visa reversed the charges for me , but only after I talked to three people. When I got a very kind and understanding woman, she immediately took those charges off. I'm still terrified
the SCAM company will just charge me again !! Perhaps I should get a new card ??

I was uncomfortable with my order a couple days after I submitted it so I found this blog and quickly called. Luckily since it has only been a few days I was able to cancel the order and close my account. Unfortunately I still am being charged the cost of shipping, but it is much better that $90+. I'm still checking my banking account frequently to make sure nothing happens.

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