Many businesses across the country are using the same selling model for their acai products: They lure customers in with celebrity endorsements and free trial offers, and then lock them in by making it extremely difficult to cancel the automatic delivery of more acai products every month.
The endorsements are also misleading, according to the bureau, and some celebrity lawyers have already gone after these online companies.
"Consumers should be aware that Oprah Winfrey is not associated with nor does she endorse any acai berry product or online solicitation of such products. Attorneys for Harpo are pursuing any companies that claim such an affiliation, " said Don Halcombe, spokesman for Harpo Productions, Winfrey's production company.
Consumers can check www.bbb.org to get a "reliability report" on particular companies before purchasing an online product.
"These companies are simply abusing general acai berry endorsements from well-known, trusted celebrities by using it as a tacit endorsement of their company and products specifically.
Consumers trust Oprah and unfortunately, if they are tricked into believing that she is putting her stamp of approval on a product then they are definitely more likely to purchase it.
5 hours 25 minutes ago by stop others from getting scammed 0 Votes
"FREE TRIAL OFFERs" FOR ACAI BERRY ARE NOT FREE!
In fact they will cost you more than 4 TIMES AS MUCH as it should cost per bottle. These scammers will charge your credit card at least $80 per bottle each month. That more than twice as much as quality freeze-dried acai berry should cost. And to make it worse, they send you crappy drum dried Acai Berry, which cost about 1/2 as much to produce. So you end up paying at least 4 times more per bottle than you should.
YOU WILL BE SIGNED UP FOR A SUBSCRIPTION
Yes, they say they just charge you for shipping. If that were so, it wouldn't be bad. But in reality, they just want your credit card number and will bill you every month for a subscription you didn't sign up for. They bury the fine print in their terms and conditions.
YOU WILL SPEND HOURS TRYING TO CANCEL THE SUBSCRIPTION
There will either be noone to contact to return the crappy product, or they will say you have to call their customer service number to get return authorization. When you do, you are put on hold and shuffled between different people until you give up. Don't believe me? Before you purchase, call or email them and say you did not sign up for a subscription and please stop sending the product. You will get the runaround
THEY WILL SHIP YOU A CRAPPY, NEARLY WORTHLESS NO NAME BRAND OF ACAI BERRY SUPPLEMENT
They don't expect you to be happy with the product. They don't care, so they make even more money by shipping you crap. Acai Berry supplements must be freeze dried, or else they lose most of the nutrients and antioxidents. These scammers use cheap, heat processed Acai that cost 1/2 as much. Read more about choosing a quality supplement
THEY OFTEN BUNDLE OTHER PRODUCTS IN THE SUBSCRIPTION TO CHARGE YOU EVEN MORE
It's really obscene what some of these scammers do. We've listed a common offer below, where they bundle additional offers if you do not deselect the checkbox (it's checked by default). Some are hitting people with $150 a month in charges.
5 hours 22 minutes ago by stop others from getting scammed 0 Votes
THIS INFORMATION IS POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expanding, for the second time, its nationwide alert to consumers about tainted weight loss products containing undeclared, active pharmaceutical ingredients.
The FDA has identified additional weight loss products (Herbal Xenicol, Slimbionic, and Xsvelten) and new undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients (fenproporex, fluoxetine, furosemide, and cetilistat).
"These tainted weight loss products pose a great risk to public health because they contain undeclared ingredients and, in some cases, contain prescription drugs in amounts that greatly exceed maximum recommended dosages, " said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Consumers have no way of knowing that these products contain dangerous drugs that could cause serious consequences to their health."
On Dec. 22, 2008, the FDA warned consumers not to purchase or consume 28 different products marketed for weight loss. On Jan. 8, 2009, the FDA expanded the list of tainted weight loss products to include 41 additional tainted products. The FDA will continue to update this list as warranted.
The products listed above, some of which are marketed as dietary supplements, are promoted and sold on various Web sites and in some retail stores and beauty salons. Some of the products claim to be "natural" or to contain only "herbal" ingredients, but actually contain potentially harmful ingredients not listed on the products' labels or in promotional advertisements. These products have not been approved by the FDA, are illegal, and include the following undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients:
fenproporex – a controlled substance not approved for marketing in the United States;
fluoxetine – an antidepressant available by prescription only;
bumetanide – a potent diuretic available by prescription only;
furosemide – a potent diuretic available by prescription only;
rimonabant – a drug not approved for marketing in the United States;
cetilistat – an experimental obesity drug not approved for marketing in the United States;
phenytoin – an anti-seizure medication available by prescription only; and
phenolphthalein – a solution used in chemical experiments and a suspected cancer-causing agent that is not approved for marketing in the United States.
The FDA has inspected a number of companies associated with the sale of these illegal products and is currently seeking product recalls. Based on the FDA's inspections and the companies' inadequate responses to recall requests, the FDA may take additional enforcement steps, such as issuing warning letters or initiating seizures, injunctions, or criminal charges.
The FDA advises consumers who have used any products containing these ingredients to stop taking them and consult their health care professional immediately. The FDA also encourages consumers to seek guidance from a health care professional before purchasing weight loss products.
The health risks posed by these products can be very serious and include high blood pressure, seizures, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), palpitations, heart attack, and stroke. Sibutramine, a controlled substance, was found in many of these products at levels much higher than the maximum daily dosage for Meridia, the only FDA-approved drug product containing sibutramine. These higher levels of sibutramine can increase the incidence and severity of these health risks. Fenproporex, another controlled substance, can cause arrhythmia and possible sudden death.
Health care professionals and consumers should report serious adverse events (side effects) or product quality problems to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail, fax or phone.
Regular Mail: use postage-paid FDA form 3500 available at: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/getforms.htm and mail to MedWatch, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787
Fax: 800- FDA-0178
Phone: 800- FDA-1088