My local radio station is blasting weight loss ads for everything from Evercleanse (lose 10 – 25 pounds of toxic waste from your colon!) to a skin care company (!) that now has developed a diet pill.
Online is even worse. New “diet” supplement ads pop up all the time.
There must be money to make, otherwise these companies would not stay in business. Constantly changing product names to reel in people by using keywords and ads for the latest fad. From colon cleanse to Wu-yi tea to Acai to ….
The product with the new name is probably the same as the previous one. Just a new label. Who would analyze the ingredients anyway? And sometimes they don’t even bother with new labels. Many that ordered Acai Burn received shipments of Wu-Yi Burn.
One company that caught my eye recently is GNS Inc out of Colorado. In December last year, they were selling something called Slim Pro Shakes. Those don’t exist any more. The ads/blogs that still pop up on a search for them lead to Acai Berry Edge. The sales pitch is the same. A FREE offer and then in fine print on the bottom of the page:
21-Day Free Trial Terms and Conditions: Get two bottles of Acai Berry Edge free for 21 days during the trial period. You invest $3.97 s&h today then $39.95 per bottle at day 21 only if you are satisfied. Auto-shipments follow at the same terms and conditions. Cancel at any time. See the complete Terms and Conditions on the next page for complete details.
Most people just see FREE and don’t notice that this is an autoship program. In addition, for most of these schemes, the trial bottles arrive after 2-3 weeks, so there isn’t even any time to try out the product and cancel before the automatic debit hits your credit card. Of course, most don’t even know they have signed up for autoship before they find the charge on their credit card bill.
Many find a way to cancel at that time. The majority of them just pay the bill, and put the cost down as another expense for yet another failed diet attempt. A few get their credit card company to reverse the charges.
The main GNS website is not much better. While I at first didn’t see any autoship scams there, they are revealed when ordering a product. Then you get the offer to:
SAVE 20% and Get FREE Shipping When You Join the GNS Preferred Customer Club…a fresh bottle of Energy Matrix will automatically be shipped to your doorstep every month at this low price so you don’t have to remember to reorder!….Monetary refunds are not given for autoship products once they have been processed.
So, what products do they sell? One of them, Slim Body Matrix, seems to be just an expensive whey protein shake. This particular shake is advertised as:
the absolute best-tasting, most satisfying weight loss shake ever…
But, when you read on the actual can, there is this little box with the statement:
Notice: Use this product as a food supplement only. Do not use for weight reduction.
A “weight loss shake” that is not intended for “weight reduction?”
Not that his particular company is unique; it just served as an example. There are hundreds of others, perhaps thousands, with equally misleading advertisements and overpriced “weight loss” products. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) may be looking into some of these online scams (Acai autoship) and the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has released a list of weight loss supplements judged to be unsafe.
But, considering the ever growing number of websites trying to cash in on desperate dieters looking for a quick fix, I don’t think we will see any changes soon. I just wish that people would stop falling for unrealistic promises and fake testimonials. If nobody buys the “magic XYZ” there will be no business in selling it.
There have been many articles/blogs listing sure signs to recognize a scam. To me, the most obvious is:
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Another way of researching a diet, product, supplement, or really anything, is to google it on the internet (Yahoo search, MSN search, etc work just as well, of course). For example, a search on the company “GNS” leads to ripoff reports. There are 129 complaints about this company. That might tell you something?
The Kimkins Diet Scam taught me the google trick. Not that it would have helped much when that particular disaster of a diet had it’s heyday in June of 2007, thanks to a Woman’s World article. Back then, only pro-Kimkins articles, fake pictures and fake testimonials were to be found on the web. Not as today when the anti-kk bloggers overwhelm any positive Kimkins.con information out there.
So, that is one more lesson. If there is nothing but obvious ads on the internet, perhaps it would be a good idea to hold of parting with my money for a while. Or, look at the ads and research from there. For Acai, it is pretty obvious that most of the ads have the same origin. It’s also easy to find out that there is no scientific proof that acai has anything to do with weight loss. None.