The Freebie Fraud
If it’s free, you’ll pay too much.
Published Feb 2, 2009
One service we
perform for our readers is to check out product promotions that our
readers bring to our attention.
A few readers
asked us about CURR, the “new” diet aid from (gees, I don’t remember
where; Iceland? Netherlands? ); well, it was advertised thusly: The
first time sold in America!
The good news?
You get a whole bottle for free by just paying the shipping.
rule: Nothing is Free.
The moment you
sign up for the freebie, the moment you push “BUY” and pay for the
shipping charge, you are signed up to receive the product monthly at
prices that will boggle your mind.
CURR might be
new to the US, but only under the name CURR. CURR is green tea. CURR
is the most expensive green tea you’ll ever buy. You can get green
tea extract for $10.00, but this one will cost you $40.00 and don’t
forget the shipping costs.
purchased the “free” sample, I examined the web site very thoroughly
and finally found the statement that I would be mailed another
bottle for $40.00 monthly. The only way out was to call their phone
number and cancel. I called, cancelled, and that was it.
of our readers wanted to know about the new Acai Berry Diet offers,
so I really had to check them out. There are possibly 50 different
web sites selling this stuff. They are making MILLIONS of dollars
off unsuspecting users. This is one really hefty scam.
For example, if
you search for a diet supplement (and there are valid, useful, and
effective diet supplements on the market; just don’t rely heavily on
them because you have to do a lot of work no matter what you’re
taking) the most deceptive ads, sadly, will show up in your browser.
They purport to tell you that they are protecting you from diet
scams. For example, here is one link that landed at the top of the
Weight Loss Scam Exposed?
• Top Weight Loss Products Exposed. • Purchase Only
If you click on
the link, you’ll see this:
The Weight Loss
an organization that consits of 13 licensed doctors and 25
nutricionists. Lately, we've noticed how many companies out there
are selling low-quality diet pills for exhorbitant prices. After
trying almost all Weight Loss Products in the market and helping
thousands of people to lose weight, we came to the conclusion that
not all diet products are created equal.
barely had the desired effects on us (weight loss, increased energy,
toxin cleanser) while others seemed to work wonders.
months of testing and after trying all of the Weight Loss products
on the market we have compiled a list of the best Weight Loss
products currently on the market.
proudly present you those 3 products that we think are really worth
the money and will help you lose weight the natural, healthy and
good way. All products that we reviewed offer a free trial, you
can try them for free before buying.
All of that is
one bold faced lie. You'd think with all these professionals in
their organization they could find one proofreader. These people are simply profiteers who
make a killing
from the same, fraudulent practices that they are supposedly
protecting you from.
Many of the
paid advertising links you find online that purport to bust scams or show
you the “dangers of” or list the top ten “whatevers” are linked to
the biggest scams on the web. These people make millions and have
hefty advertising budgets.
THIS APPLIES EVEN TO THE ADS AT OUR SITE. WE
DO NOT CHOOSE WHICH ADS APPEAR AT THIS SITE, GOOGLE DOES. PLEASE
FORGIVE US FOR THIS BUT THEY PAY THE BILLS.
A few years ago
we told our readers about the Acai berry. Some of you went out and
bought some Acai berry products and enjoyed them. Then Oprah
mentioned the Acai berry, and suddenly hundreds of companies
sprouted selling Acai products. Some were good companies, but too
many sold crap.
listed on The Weight Loss Review pages (above) are examples of crap.
We contacted a
couple supplement makers and gave them the ingredient list to the
product I'd gotten "free." The
product, they informed me, should cost (including a good profit
margin) around $14.00 for a month supply. If marketed heavily, it
could cost around $20.00.
The sites you
are sent to will tell you, if you look hard enough, that the product
costs over $80.00 and you are getting it at a discount
(approximately $65.00). They also tell you, if you look closely,
that you’ve just joined their auto-ship program and that you will be
shipped this stuff in just a few days unless you call and cancel.
|All of these sites are violating
FCC rules and regulations. Enjoy your Freebee, because
when they start billing you, you will be paying about
$6,000 per pound for your acai berries.
Many sites do
exactly this; sites with free offers, dating sites are famous for
this; the reunion sites (where you find your classmates); and
Trade Commission sent us their white sheet on laws regarding
internet practices and advertising and all of these sites are
“skirting” the laws.
In other words,
they are not being fraudulent, they are being deceitful.
The law states
that if the user is signing up for more charges on their credit
cards, that information must be clearly visible to the user. What
these sites do is post a link (in plain site) to their “terms” and
expect you to click on it. You are told to click on it. Your
pressing “BUY” at the bottom also states that you’ve read and agreed
to the terms.
In the Terms
page, the organization is supposed to be up front with all this
information. What happens is this: the user sees pages of text,
scans for a second, and then closes the window. This is what all of
these sites want to happen. This is the psychology behind the
“terms” scam. They know that most users will not even open the terms
link, and that those who do won’t read them thoroughly, and that of
those left over, many will read a few words and ignore the rest.
What it comes down to is a handful of people will actually read the
terms (your truly being one, but I must admit, only because I’m a
Now for the
clincher. The Acai Berry Diet plans (like I said, there must be 50
sites on the web selling it) has very little actual Acai in it.
There is less than a berry in each capsule. Just 100 mgs in the
sample we got.
However, instead of calling and canceling, I read the agreement and noted that
all sales are final. If the customer refuses the package, the
customer will still be charged. As a journalist, I had to find out
exactly what it took to get my money back ($65.00).
It took over 45
minutes on the phone, talking to this person, then that person, and
finally another person. The only reason, I am convinced, that I got
my money back was that I told them I was a journalist and that I was
writing an article about their site; that I’d already contacted the
FTC about fraudulent business practices, etc., etc., etc.
beware. If you buy something online for less than the retail price,
or join a dating service, or reunion service, read the terms
carefully. Know that you will be charged again and again till your
credit runs out. A good credit card company will protect you, but do
not count on that.
And if you want
to know what diet supplements work, read this site. We will always
publish the good ones (just look at the products in the column to
the left), the ones that won’t cost you an arm and a
leg, just a few rolls of fat (and you won’t be re-billed without
are getting really good at scamming. They advertize with provocative
tags such as: Dangers of Acai; Side Effects of Acai, Acai Scam?
No matter what
the headline, these all lead to scamming web sites. Here is a link
(that will probably be dead soon [these people move fast to keep
ahead of the FTC]):
If the link is
dead, here is a link to a photo of the page (it's a big screen shot,
nearly 1MB): Click to view the page.
You just have to
love this page. There is no such thing as WSTV News 11 in New York.
As seen on.... There is no Kelly@news11.com, in fact, there is no
news11.com. The page is a lot of bull with one purpose: to get you
to buy their acai product for around $6,000.00 per pound.
Even on this
page....are advertisements (I'm so sorry, they pay the bills and
we're still thousands in debt, and we do NOT choose the
advertisements) by these people.